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How Do Fruit Affect Your Weight Loss Program?

Knowledge of fruit nutrition facts is helpful when it comes to fine-tuning your diet. Of course, as we all know, most fruit are great for weight control. However, certain differences exist among fruit, calorie-wise as well as from the point of view of their glycemic index and glycemic load. Thus, certain fruit are more helpful for weight control than others. On this page, we are discussing how to choose the most beneficial fruit for your weight loss program.
In order to be able to do this, we must first understand a few things about the composition of fruit:

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Fruit Nutrition Facts
The Composition of Fruit:

Fruit contain fiber, sugars, and occasionally small amounts of starches.
The protein and fat content of fruit is negligible (with the exception of nuts - which will be discussed in detail later on).
The sugars in fruit are represented mostly by fructose, which has a low glycemic index (about 1/5th that of glucose). Therefore, the sugars in fruit are considered good carbs. As for the fiber in fruit, this can be of 2 kinds:

  • insoluble (dietary) fiber - located mainly in the skin of the fruit
  • soluble fiber - located mainly in the pulp of the fruit
Fiber is not digestible and does not contribute any calories to the organism. In addition to this, fiber plays an important role in regulating blood glucose levels and improving cholesterol levels. Therefore, the higher the fiber content of a given fruit, the better for weight control purposes. Furthermore, it's desirable that the content of sugars (fructose, sucrose and glucose) of the respective fruit not be excessive, so as to maintain a reasonably low glycemic load.

As far as starches are concerned, certain fruit will contain a higher amount (for example pears and especially bananas). From the point of view of calorie number, such fruit may be more caloric than non-starchy fruit. Whether or not this is a disadvantage for weight control is debatable. Keep in mind that fruit containing starches may be more nutritious and may curb hunger better than non-starchy fruit.

Fruit Nutrition Facts
Best Fruit for Weight Control:

Below is a list of fruit considered extremely beneficial in a weight loss program, due to their low calorie content per serving and low glycemic load:
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Peaches
  • Nectarines
  • Apricots
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew melon

And here is a list of fruit that are slightly more caloric, but still beneficial for a weight loss program:
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Mango
  • Kiwi
  • Grapefruit
  • Plums
  • Pears

Raisins and other dried fruit (e.g., dried cranberries) contain a higher amount of sugars per volume of fruit, since most of the water has been eliminated. Therefore, they bring in a higher amount of calories.

One quick note about Bananas: They do contain a higher amount of starches, therefore are slightly more nutritious than the above-mentioned fruit. From the point of view of weight control, this can come in handy when trying to curb hunger between meals.

And now, let's talk about NUTS...

Fruit Nutrition Facts
All about Nuts:

Nuts are a very special item for weight control, and deserve special consideration:
As far as calorie number, all nuts are fairly caloric. However, due to their high content of omega3 fatty acids and other unsaturated fats, most nuts also offer major health advantages and can actually facilitate weight loss - provided adequate portion sizes are respected. (An adequate portion size is generally 1 oz of nuts.)
The above holds true for walnuts, pecans, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, macadamia, hazelnuts, etc.   One major exception to this rule are coconuts: These are high in saturated fats and therefore best avoided.
Please note: When I say "nuts are healthy", I don't mean any sugar-coated or chocolate-coated products. I also don't mean any of the 'mixed nuts' products containing candy, raisins, and other sugary products. All these bring unnecessary and unwanted calories.
So what nuts can you eat? Here are a few varieties that are particularly beneficial for the organism:

  • Walnuts and Pecans (good source of omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Almonds, Peanuts, Pistachios (good source of monounsaturated fats)

Both monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids are considered healthy fats, with beneficial effects on the heart, blood vessels, brain, and many other systems of the body.
This being said, 1-2 tablespoons of nuts per day is a good idea. Anything more than that, however, is likely to constitute a source of excess calories. Just to give you an idea how caloric nuts are, lets consider a 10 oz can of 'Planters' Peanuts: According to the nutrition label, there are 10 servings in this can, each serving containing 170 calories. Doing the math, it results the total calorie content for this can is 1700.  Now consider this: How easy is it to eat one third of this can in one session? Actually, it's quite easy, since the can is not that big. And if that happened, you would have ingested 570 calories in one helping, which is roughly one third of your total daily calorie allowance.

Fruit Nutrition Facts
Fruit Portion Size:

So, how much fruit should you eat? The answer is: About 2 servings per day. (The number of servings can be increased at your discretion, as long as you don't exceed your daily calorie allowance. If you are physically active your calorie allowance will of course be higher increase, permitting you to increase your food intake.)

What counts as one serving of fruit? Here are a few examples:

  • One apple, one orange, two tangerines, one banana, one nectarine, etc.
  • One cup of berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries), one cup of melon (watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe), one cup of sliced pineapple or kiwi, one cup of apricots
  • Half a cup of grapes, cherries, or plums (Note: The reduced portion size is due to the higher sugar content of these fruit.)
  • One ounce of nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, etc) with no added sugar
Note: Zero-calorie sweeteners can be used to sweeten fruit to taste.

Fruit Nutrition Facts
The Calorie Content of Fruit:

How many calories does one serving of fruit bring?

  • Most fresh fruit (except nuts) bring in about 50 – 120 calories per serving.
  • Nuts bring in 170-190 calories per serving (one serving being equal to 1 oz, or approximately 2-3 tablespoons)
  • Fruit juices with no added sugar bring in about 100 – 150 calories per 8 oz cup. For the exact calorie content, it's best to read the nutrition label of each individual product.
  • Canned fruit usually bring in between 80 and 200 calories per serving. For the exact calorie content, see individual products.
Canned fruit, especially the ones with little or no added sugar, are an acceptable item in a weight control diet. They may bring slightly more sugars than ideal, but a large part of these sugars is represented by fructose, which has a much lower glycemic index than glucose.

Fruit juices, on the other hand, are generally less advantageous for weight control: They usually contain significant amounts of added sugars and very low fiber as compared to fresh fruit.

Fruit Nutrition Facts
Calorie Guide for Individual Fruit:

  • Apple: small - 60 calories; medium - 75 calories; large - 110 calories; one cup sliced - 65 calories
  • Apricot: whole - 20 calories; one cup sliced - 80 calories
  • Banana: small - 90 calories; medium - 105 calories; large - 120 calories; one cup sliced - 135 calories
  • Blackberries: one cup - 65 calories
  • Blueberries: one cup - 85 calories
  • Cantaloupe: one cup - 60 calories
  • Cherries: one cup without pits - 91 calories
  • Grapes: one cup - 110 calories
  • Grapefruit: 1/2 small - 35 calories; 1/2 medium - 45 calories; 1/2 large - 55 calories
  • Honeydew: one cup - 65 calories
  • Kiwi: whole - 50 calories; one cup sliced - 110 calories
  • Mango: whole - 135 calories; one cup sliced - 110 calories
  • Nectarine: 60 calories
  • Nuts:
    • Almonds (dry roasted or raw): 25 medium kernels (1 oz) - 170 calories; one cup - 825 calories
    • Peanuts (dry roasted or raw): 3 tablespoons (1 oz) - 170 calories: one cup - 855 calories
    • Pecans: 31 large halves (1 oz) - 200 calories; one cup - 750 calories
    • Pistachios (dry roasted or raw): 50 kernels (1 oz) - 165 calories ; one cup - 700 calories
    • Walnuts: 7 nuts or 14 halves (1 oz) - 185 calories; one cup - 785 calories
  • Orange : small - 50 calories; medium - 65 calories; large - 85 calories; one cup sliced - 85 calories
  • Peach: small - 30 calories; medium - 40 calories; large - 60 calories; once cup sliced - 66 calories
  • Pear: small - 80 calories; medium - 100 calories; large - 120 calories; one cup sliced - 100 calories
  • Pineapple: one cup diced - 75 calories
  • Plum: 30 calories; one cup sliced - 76 calories
  • Prune (dry, uncooked): 20 calories; one cup pitted - 400 calories
  • Raisins (seedless): 50 raisins - 80 calories: one cup - 450 calories
  • Raspberries: one cup - 65 calories
  • Strawberries: one cup sliced - 55 calories
  • Tangerine: 45 calories
  • Watermelon: one cup - 50 calories

Note: All calorie counts are approximate.

As you can see, most fresh fruit (except nuts) bring in about 50 – 120 calories per serving. Nuts bring in about 180 calories per serving (one serving being equal to 1 oz, or approximately 2-3 tablespoons).
For the calorie content of canned fruit or fruit juices, it's best to read the nutrition label of each individual product. Keep in mind that most commercially available fruit juices and canned fruit products contain fairly large amounts of added sugar. Nevertheless, these products are still acceptable as long as the portion size recommended on the package is respected.

In conclusion: A fruit snack is a great way to curb hunger between meals, without putting too many calories into the body. Knowing the approximate calorie content of various fruit enables us to make the right choices and stay within our daily calorie allowance.


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