fruits & weight loss:
a paradoxical effect
Fruits are perhaps the most surprising phenomenon in weight loss. We all know that fruits contain a lot of sugar. In particular, fruits have a high content of simple sugars such as:
- sucrose etc.
We also know that simple sugars are involved in the all the metabolic mechanisms responsnible for obesity.
So the paradox is that while they contain so much sugar, they contribute -according to many studies- to weight loss and general good health.
Why fruits wont make you fat
What happens with their sugar
Studies on the effect of consuming whole fresh fruits on weight loss and general health, clearly show that fruits not only do not cause obesity but through “mysterious” mechanisms, contribute to weight loss and our overall health. After all, this is why every organization and ministry of health in the world recommends the consumption of 5 servings of fruits and 5 servings of vegetables a day to all of us!
But why do fruits, while containing “sugar”, don’t cause obesity?
This is primarily because the fructose we get from the 5 servings of fresh fruit (5 x 80 gr) is practically much less compared to the added sugars of processed foods.
And secondly, the fructose we get from the fruit comes with a “golden package” of fiber, nutrients and unique ingredients that contribute to all the mechanisms of weight loss as we will see in detail below.
comparison of sugar from fruits and other snacks
WHAT IS the equivalent of THE SUGAR contained in 5 portions of fruits?
When whe eat the suggested 5 servings of fruits, the sugars we receive are within daily limits and the total calories contained in them are low. Also theoretically no one can overdo it with fruits and exceed the limit. Practically, the opposite happens, the average person does not get the 5 servings of fruits and vegetables that are suggested. In addition, as we will see below, fruit sugars come with minerals, vitamins, unique phytochemicals and fiber that cause satiety.
equicalents of 35 gr of sugars:
Example of 5 servings of fruit (400gr):
16 strawberries (160gr)
1 medium banana (120gr)
1 medium apple (120gr)
TOTAL SUGAR: 35gr
TOTAL CALORIES: 220kcal
Only 1 can of commercial juice contains as many sugars as 5 servings of fruit!
1 can of juice 330 ml
TOTAL SUGAR: 35gr
TOTAL CALORIES: 158kcal
2 small portions of ready-made snacks contain as many sugars as 5 servings of fruit, but giving us twice as many calories and enough saturated fat
1 wafer with chocolate
5 medium sandwich cookies
TOTAL SUGAR: 35gr
TOTAL CALORIES: 480kcal
THE MECHANISMs OF FRUIT AGAINST OBESITY
how fruits help us lose weight
Numerous human studies based on anthropometric analyzes, such as body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, have concluded that there is an inverse relationship between fruit consumption and obesity, and the following figure summarizes this mechanism:
hypotheses for the fruits paradox
analysis of the anti-obesity mechanisms of fruits
Obesity is a multifactorial phenomenon, the result of many mechanisms, so there can be no single mechanism against it. In fact, it is possible that there are different mechanisms and factors for the effect of fruit on obesity. The following table presents the most likely of them according to the studies and the hypotheses made by the scientists:
The negative side of fruits
Fruits have a negative trait, but their positive traits overcome it
Nothing is absolute, stationary or individual in what is being examined here. Certainly fruits have a mechanism that causes obesity and this is due to the sugars they contain. Specifically, simple sugars cause lipogenesis, increase in triglycerides and increase in fat mass.
However, in the research that has been done, the exact opposite is observed. High consumption of fruit helps to lose weight and maintain a healthy body weight. Thus, it is believed that the mechanisms of fruits that act against obesity (satiety, low calories, intestinal microflora, vitamins, trace elements, phytochemicals, other unknown mechanisms) are more prevalent than the one that cause obesity (simple sugars).
For this reason, if you have not chosen a ketogenic diet, your doctor has not recommended anything different or there is no health reason, you can include in your diet the 5 servings of fruit recommended by every health organization in the world and enjoy the benefits! And since you made the beginning, add the suggested 5 servings of vegetables. The well-known golden rule of 5 + 5 per day!
recommended daily fruit intake
how much is 5 servings of fruit?
The recommended 5 servings of fruit are 5 servings of 80 grams. That is, a total of 400 gr of fruits per day.
Below are some examples of different fruits, how many servings they are and how many calories they contain.