Can the Sugar in Fruit Make You Gain Weight?

Should you limit your trips to the fruit bowl if you're trying to stay svelte? We investigate—and provide tips for smart snacking.

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Nope! It’s a myth. Rest assured that in contrast to consuming generous amounts of sugary sodas and boxed breakfast cereals, eating plenty of apples and blueberries won’t cause you to lose the battle of the bulge. In fact, upping your consumption of naturally sweet fruits may help you shed pounds.

According to a research review published in the journal Obesity Reviews, most evidence points to an inverse relationship between fruit intake and body weight—meaning that as fruit intake goes up, waistlines tend to shrink. Similarly, Spanish researchers found that people with the highest fruit intake were less likely to gain weight over a 10-year period than those who ate the least amount of nature’s sweet offerings.

Evidence is mounting that the processed sugar being pumped into packaged foods and beverages is contributing to expanding waistlines the world over. But you need not to worry about the natural sugars found in fruits, says Sharon Palmer, RDN, author of Plant-Powered for Life. “Those sugars come packaged with nutrients, phytochemicals, and dietary fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream and increases satiety, helping to make weight gain less likely.” Besides, it’s a lot harder to overdose on naturally occurring sugars in fresh fruits. For example, you’d have to eat 3-plus cups of strawberries just to approach the amount of sugar present in a serving of fruit-flavored yogurt.

Bottom Line: 
If you want to stay svelte, limit your intake of sugar-sweetened foods and not your trips to the fruit bowl. In fact, Mother Nature’s candy is the most healthful way to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Get more fruit goodness into your diet with these seasonal delights:

  • Apricots are plush with vitamin A to boost immune and eye health. 
Add to plain yogurt, grain salads, and chutneys.
  • Cherries are a source of vitamin C, which can improve your blood pressure score, at least in the short term. 
Use to top pancakes, bruschetta, and homemade 
ice cream.
  • Strawberries pack a payload of anthocyanins, antioxidants that help promote healthier cholesterol numbers. 
Blend into salsas, smoothies, and chia puddings.