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Is Fruit Fattening?

Por Eleazar Lara-Pantin, MD, MSc.* -

Fruit is very important for your health, which is why you should eat 2 to 4 servings daily to help your body get the vitamins and fiber it needs. Still, many people wonder if fruit can make you gain weight.

There are 2 factors that determine whether food makes us put on weight or makes it difficult for us to lose excess pounds. These are:

  • How much food you eat. Eating 1 potato is not the same as eating 3, nor does eating 1 piece of chicken compare to eating 3.
  • How you prepare food.Eating a baked potato plain is different than putting butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and bacon on it, or eating it fried. Eating a skinless, grilled chicken breast is clearly different than eating it deep fried with the skin. Similarly, eating pasta with plain tomato sauce is not the same as eating pasta with an oil-based sauce containing olives and salami, topped with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. Fruit, like any other food, can contribute to weight gain. What really matters is the quantity we eat and how it’s prepared. For example, eating 3 bananas instead of 1/2 a banana, or eating it fried instead of fresh make a huge difference.

Bring back the fruit  
Fortunately, we usually eat fruit raw, eliminating the chance of increasing calories through food preparation. Furthermore, many fruits contain fewer calories than other foods, which is why we can be fairly flexible about how much fruit we eat.

Some fruits are particularly hypocaloric (low in calories), such as melon, watermelon, papaya, guava, and grapefruit. They contain less than 40 calories per 3 ½ ounces of fruit. Strawberries, peaches, apricots, oranges, mandarins, and pineapple contain less than 50 calories for each 3 ½ ounces.

By comparison, a slice of bread that weighs around 1 ounce will contain more calories than 3 ½ ounces of any of these fruits, and it’s not rich in vitamins. Furthermore, we hardly ever eat bread plain. We usually put butter, margarine, or some fat-based spread onto it, increasing the calorie content considerably. We normally eat fruit in its natural state because it is tasty in its own right and doesn’t need added ingredients.
Fruits have high vitamin and fiber content, so we can eat fruit regardless of what kind of diet we are on, and should eat several servings every day.
* Vice President of Product Development, DrTango, Inc.


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