Posted June 25, 2013 by Gareth Evans in Nutrition

5 fruits that could hinder your weight loss efforts

fruit and calories
fruit and calories

The theories floating around regarding the relative benefits of eating fruit are innumerable. For every book, website or magazine article that advocates eating five portions of fruit per day, there are two or three more which advocate cutting fruit out all together, if your primary goal is to lose weight.

Personally, I choose not to eat a lot of fruit because of its high fructose content, instead deriving the vitamins, minerals and nutrients I need from vegetables, which have a lower carbohydrate and caloric profile. My choice comes from years of experimenting with what foods are best for maintaining a steady body weight, as well as what foods keep my energy levels stable.

When it comes to fruit, there’s certainly an argument that there is no issue with eating it as part of a healthy, balanced diet, which is geared towards weight loss. My frustration, however, comes when friends, family and colleagues tell me that they are on a diet and are committed to losing weight, but sit grazing on fruit all day long.

Here’s a harsh reality: Far from being a calorie free food, which for some unknown reason people seem to think it is, many fruits are high in calories, carbohydrates and simple sugars. If you’re on a diet and really trying to lose weight, therefore, cutting down on fruit is an absolute must.

We’ve discussed before how not all calories are created equally and how protein should be where we derive a large portion of our calorie intake, assuming we are trying to lose weight or maintain leanness. Metabolising protein requires more energy and so causes us to lose weight; this simple fact alone is enough to explain why those who rely on fruit as snacks tend not to achieve their weight loss targets.

Fruit in small quantities is perfectly acceptable if you’re trying to lose weight, but if you want to take your efforts to the next level and really change your body, here are 5 fruits that you should certainly consider eliminating from your diet.   

  1. Apples

When it comes to consuming high calorie, high carbohydrate and high sugar content fruits, apples are one of the biggest offenders. One large apple contains 130 calories and 34g of carbohydrates, with an alarming 25g of those carbohydrates derived from sugar.

  1. Bananas

Bananas are extremely dense in nutrients, with high levels of vitamin C, an effective antioxidant, as well as potassium, which helps to regulate the body’s fluid balance. From a pure health perspective, therefore, bananas can form a very beneficial part of your diet.

If your goal is weight loss, however, bananas are somewhat of a misunderstood fruit. While they are high in dietary fibre, which gives you that feeling of fullness for longer and discourages snacking, they are also high in calories, carbohydrates and sugar. With one large banana containing 110 calories and 30g of carbohydrates, including 19g of sugar, bananas come a close second to apples in terms of their negative impact on achieving your weight loss targets.

  1. Pears

Much like bananas, pears are high in potassium and contain a reasonable amount of vitamin C, making them beneficial from an overall health and wellbeing point of view, while pears also contain more dietary fibre than both bananas and apples.

A standard pear does, however, contain over 100 calories, 26g of carbohydrates and 16g of sugar, so, again, the benefits of their nutrient content needs to be weighed against their proclivity for causing weight gain when consumed in large quantities.

  1. Grapes

Given the sweet taste of grapes, it won’t come as a great surprise to hear that a 126g (3/4 of a cup) serving of grapes contains 23g of carbohydrates, of which a predictable 20g is made up of sugars. This 90 calorie serving of grapes has a high potassium content, but is almost devoid of other useful nutrients, such as vitamin a, vitamin c, iron and calcium; overall, therefore, a serving of grapes is probably one of the least beneficial fruits for your body all around, especially if weight loss is your main focus.

  1. Dried fruits

If you’re intent on losing weight, as a rule of thumb, it’s best to stay clear of dried fruits altogether. They have a much higher energy density than fresh fruits, owing to their low water content, which often results in overeating because dried fruit doesn’t give us that feeling of fullness as quickly.

If we look at the difference between 1 cup of grapes and 1 cup of raisins, for example, we see that the cup of raisins contains 434 calories, while the grapes contain only 104 calories. If we extrapolate this data and are eating dried fruit on a daily basis, it’s easy to see why weight loss goals are rarely met by those who snack on dried fruit.

Eat smarter

When it comes to making dietary recommendations, I’m always a little hesitant. Different diets suit different people, both in terms of their lifestyle and its effectiveness. The most important thing about your diet is that it’s sustainable and you stick to it, because noticeable results rarely come from following short term fad diets.

If you do regularly consume fruit as part of your diet, all I would advise is that you consume it with more than a modicum of caution. Snacking on fruit throughout the day is certain to hinder your achievement of any weight loss targets that you might have, especially if you consume the high carbohydrate, high calorie, high sugar content fruits that we’ve discussed above.

If you’re committed to achieving real weight loss results and can’t give up your fruit, just give a little more thought to the type of fruit that you consume and consider switching to lower calorie, lower carbohydrate fruits. If you’re not sure what kind of fruits you should be eating, take a look at this chart and try to stick to fruits that have a caloric content of less than 100 per serving, as well as being low in carbohydrates and sugar. This simple switch will serve to greatly improve your chances of achieving, and maintaining, a lean body composition.

Gareth Evans

Gareth Evans
A former professional rugby player in his youth, Gareth is now a bit of an all-round amateur when it comes to sport. He continues to play rugby for his local club, has studied Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Argentina, played Basketball in Peru, trekked in the Andes and the Himalayas, is a reluctant adventure racer, and is now studying KFM (Keysi Fighting Method). He has a passion for a whole host of sports, as well as travel, but feels truly at home on the rugby pitch or in the mountains.