We’ve all heard ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ but can it cause weight gain?
Although fruit is high in fiber, chock-full of vitamins, low in fat, and (usually) low in calories—too much of anything, even a good thing, is never a great idea.
This is true with fruit as well.
A high volume of fruit intake can derail a diet and cause some adverse effects on the body. Remember: Fruit has calorie content just like every other food. If you’re munching on certain types of fruit and not exercising enough, you can gain weight from fruit.
The first thing to figure out is which fruits are higher in calories.
Highest Calorie & Sugar Content Fruit
When it comes to counting calories and avoiding high sugar levels, we sometimes forget that healthy foods like fruit can even have any sugar. Our mind says “Healthy!” and we move about our grocery store trip, feeling good that we were mindful enough to add some fruit to the basket.
So, which fruit should we be second-thinking before adding to shopping cart?
Apples, bananas, pears, and cherries top out as fruit with the highest calorie content 1
|Apples (one large apple)||130 calories|
|Bananas (one medium banana)||110 calories|
|Pears (one medium pear)||100|
|Cherries (one cup, or 21 cherries)||100|
Similarly, these four fruits also have the highest sugar content.
- One apple can have 25 g of sugar
- One banana can have 19 g of sugar
- One pear can have 16 g of sugar
- One cup of cherries can have 16 g of sugar
An apple here, a banana there, or a handful of cherries definitely won’t wreck your diet. Yet any of these fruits in excess could lead to unintentional high sugar intake.>
There are additional fruits, that while not high in calorie content, are known for their high sugar contents. They include: 2
|Grapes||20 g of sugar for 3/4 cup||only 90 calories|
|Kiwifruit||13 g of sugar for 2 medium kiwis||only 90 calories|
|Oranges||14 g of sugar for 1 medium orange||only 80 calories|
|Peaches||13 g of sugar for 1 medium peach||only 60 calories|
|Plums||16 g of sugar for 2 medium plums||only 70 calories|
|Watermelon||20 g of sugar for 2 cups of diced pieces||only 80 calories|
So the next time you take an orange for lunch, opt for a tangerine instead. With 50 calories and only 9 g of sugar, it’s just a healthier option.
Fruit Fake-Outs: Foods and Beverages Pretending to Be Fruit
There are fruit alternatives that are often suggested as back up methods, in case you get tired of eating regular fruit every single day or if you haven’t had time for a grocery store run.
Fruit juice of any kind is the easiest “fruit backup plan” to fall for. Unfortunately, most fruit juices in the grocery store contain even more sugar than soft drinks, making them a bad alternative to the fresh produce route.3
There are some benefits to fruit juice. Many fruit juices contain important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but these benefits aren’t enough to outweigh the fact that most juices don’t have enough fiber and are packed with sugar.4
Dried fruit is another option for those looking to get more fruit in their diet, but it can be a slippery slope. There are still nutritional benefits to be had from dried fruit, but the vitamin C content suffers when fruit is dried.5
Dried fruit can also have a high natural sugar content as well, which can lead to health issues when eaten in excess. When dried fruit is coated with additional sugar (what we know as candied fruit), harmful health effects can occur, including an increase in the risk of obesity.6
Now, if you drink copious amounts of fruit juice during the day or handfuls of dried fruit How Much Fruit Should We Eat?
How much fruit we eat depends on our age, sex, and even our level of physical activity. Most females ages 19 to 30 years old, along with males ages 14 to 51+ years old need about 2 cups of fruit a day.
As females age, from 31 years old to 51+ years old, only 1 1/2 cups of fruit is needed per day.7
In conclusion, no, fruit can’t make you fat—as long as you understand which limit your amounts. In addition, knowing how much fruit we should be eating on a daily basis can help us understand why that extra banana might not be beneficial.
An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but there’s a reason it’s only one apple!
1 Administration U. Fruits Nutritional Facts. 2008.
2. Administration U. Fruits Nutritional Facts. 2008.
3. Gill J. Fruit juice: just another sugary drink?. Thelancetcom. 2014.Accessed January 13, 2017.
4. E C. Deconstructing a fruit serving: comparing the antioxidant density of select whole fruit and 100% fruit juices. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbinlmnihgov. 2013.Accessed January 13, 2017.
5. Piga A e. From plums to prunes: influence of drying parameters on polyphenols and antioxidant activity. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbinlmnihgov. 2003. Accessed January 13, 2017.
6. Yang Q e. Added sugar intake and cardiovascular diseases mortality among US adults. – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbinlmnihgov. 2014.Accessed January 13, 2017.
7. All About the Fruit Group. Choose MyPlate. 2017. Accessed January 13, 2017.