I want to address the area of fruit and weight gain this week as multiple sources say to watch how much fruit you eat and at what times because sugars from fruit can cause weight gain. On the other hand we are now being told that 10 servings of fruit and veg is better than 5 so who do you believe?
Firstly, lets have a look at the sugar and calorie content in a selection of fruit:
|1 medium apple||18.9g||95 kcal|
|1 medium banana||14.4g||105 kcal|
|100g blueberries||9.9g||50 kcal|
|1 small orange||8.9g||45 kcal|
|100g melon||7.9g||34 kcal|
|100g strawberries||4.9g||32 kcal|
As can be seen, generally, the higher in sugar a fruit is the higher in calories however in comparison with other snacks, the calorie and sugar content in fruit is much much lower. Lets take fruit flavored yoghurt for example, 50g provides 250kcal and 31g of sugar.
Can fruit cause weight gain?
“The calories in fruit can make you just as overweight as those in chocolate” is a title often used by magazines which makes people begin to doubt their snacking choices. Taking a look at the studies that have been conducted, there seems to be an inverse association between fruit intake and weight gain i.e. those who eat the most fruit have the lowest body weight (Bes-Rastrollo et al. 2006), with one study reporting that there was a 38 % decreased risk of being overweight/ obese in those consuming higher amounts of fruit (Zazpe et al. 2011) mostly due to the consumption more fibre, which comes from the skin of fruit.
Other studies have argued that fructose, which is the main sugar found in most fruit, spikes insulin levels and leaves us feeling hungry and can also spike triglyceride levels which could contribute to heart disease (although you would have to eat 10 apples or 30 oranges to achieve this effect). The general consensus is that fruit is an important component of our diets for providing vitamins, antioxidants and fibre and as long as you’re not eating huge amounts every day just like with any other food group, they do not cause weight gain.
Does the time of the day matter?
Some PT’s like to argue that the time of the day that you eat fruit matters as some fruit like bananas can be high in starchy carbs which if not burned, can be converted to fat while you sleep. The truth is fruit is not damaging during different parts of the day and there are a lot worse things you could be eating. It is worth noting that food requires 6-10 hours to be properly digested to reach the colon but because many fruit are 80-95% water, it can be digested quite quickly.
Other sources claim to eat fruit on an empty stomach to fully absorb all the nutrients and prevent bloating but this is a myth that has not been backed up by science. Gas causing bloating is formed in the colon, not the stomach, so the contents of your stomach make absolutely no difference.
Moral of the story, people love to find excuses to bash fruit, but it is actually one of the most healthiest food group. The recommendations for 5- 10 portions a day are for both fruit and veg, but more leaning on the side of veg. since so many of us do not reach the recommended amount.
Hope this clears up any confusion and thank you for reading this weeks rant 🙂