These Are The Best Fruits to Eat When Trying to Lose Weight
Sweet, satisfying, and nutrient-dense, fruit is one of the best things you can eat to maintain a healthy diet. But if shedding pounds is a main goal, what are the best fruits to eat for weight loss?
“I recommend focusing on high-fiber fruits for those who are wanting to lose weight,” says Diana Gariglio-Clelland, a Washington-based RD of Balance One Supplements. “Fiber is beneficial for a multitude of reasons: It helps to keep us feeling satiated and promotes stable blood sugar levels, which translates to more stable energy levels.”
Fruit also gives you a lot of bang for your dietary buck — they’re packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. “When you’re looking to lose a few pounds, you want to cut calories where you can, but keep maximum nutrients in your diet,” says Keith-Thomas Ayoob, RD, FAND, associate clinical professor emeritus at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. “There are no ‘bad’ fruits, but those that provide lots of satiety with minimum calories are your best options.”
Curious about what 100 calories of different fruits look like? Check out this helpful visual guide.
11 of the Best Fruits for Weight Loss
There are a couple of ground rules when it comes to eating fruit for weight loss. Always opt for the whole fruit — with the skin on it, when appropriate — to get the most fiber. And accept no substitutes.
“Skip dried fruit and fruit juices, as they’re more concentrated in sugar with less fiber,” says Gariglio-Clelland. “Avoid any fruit with added sugars [like some canned fruit], as well as smoothies made with sugary mixes. Fruit pouches are also very low in fiber. If you do choose them for convenience, opt for unsweetened.”
1 fruit: 103 calories, 4g fiber
“Grapefruits are one of the best fruits that can aid in weight loss because of their thermogenic properties and high-fiber content,” says Julia Eze, MSN, RN, NP-C, a board-certified family nurse practitioner in Atlanta.
Researchers believe thermogenic foods (peppers are another example) contain natural chemicals that can help with weight management. The tang of citrus fruits could also be a natural appetite suppressant. In one study, obese adults who consumed grapefruit before meals for 12 weeks ate fewer calories, lost 7.1% of their body weight, and saw a reduction in waist size and body fat.
Just keep in mind that some medications can have negative interactions with grapefruit, so you may want to check with your physician before making grapefruits a staple of your diet.
1 medium: 95 calories, 4.4g fiber
High in satiating fiber and low in calories, apples are also rich in pectin, a type of fiber that helps fill you up and keep you feeling full. Eat them whole as a snack, pop one into a smoothie, or make them an appetizer (just be sure to keep the skin on for max fiber).
1 medium: 101 calories, 5.5g fiber
Like apples, pears also pack a weight-loss punch thanks to pectin. In one 12-week study, people who added three apples or pears to their daily diet lost 2.7 pounds. They’re a filling snack — just one medium pear provides one-quarter of your daily allowance of fiber. But slices of pear also make a great topping for oatmeal, or as a salad addition that will keep you satiated.
1 cup: 112 calories, 9g fiber
This exotic little fruit is a high-fiber champ, coming in at 9 grams per cup, and just one piece provides twice your daily allowance of vitamin C. Studies show guava may help keep blood sugar stable, helping prevent spikes, crashes, and cravings. You can snack on them as they come — peel included, as it contains more vitamin C than an entire orange! The seeds are edible, as well.
1 serving (about ⅓ avocado): 84 calories, 3.4 fiber
With its distinctive pit, the avocado is technically a fruit. It’s also high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, so it’s super-satiating. Just don’t gobble them like apples; stick to a serving size of one-half or one-third.
Sliced avocado can make a salad or grilled chicken breast more filling, or lend satisfying creaminess to a smoothie.
1 cup: 64 calories, 8g fiber
“Berries are not only low in calories, but also are loaded with fiber and are among the best sources of antioxidants,” says Ayoob. Raspberries have a winning low-cal/high-fiber ratio: A study published in the journal Appetite found that women who ate an afternoon snack of raspberries ate fewer calories at dinner. They’ll make a smoothie sweeter and more satiating, and they’re a great addition to meal prep.
1 cup: 62 calories, 7.6g fiber
Nearly as fiber-rich as raspberries, blackberries are also high in manganese, a nutrient that helps with protein synthesis — necessary for building fat-burning lean muscle — and the metabolism of carbs. Enjoy them whole for a sweet snack, or try them in this refreshing Blackberry Smoothie with coconut water and mint as a post-workout recovery drink.
1 cup: 84 calories, 3.6g fiber
In a Harvard Medical School review of studies involving more than 124,000 people, researchers found that those who consumed more foods rich in anthocyanins (a natural chemical found in blue or purple fruits like blueberries) were more likely to avoid weight gain or lose weight than those who ate less of those foods. Scientists theorize that flavonols (a class of natural chemicals in fruit to which anthocyanins belong) might prevent fat absorption and increase calorie burn.
1 cup: 93 calories, 5.4g fiber
Not only are strawberries filling and sweetly satisfying, like all berries they’re rich in vitamin C — just one cup provides your full daily recommended allowance. Researchers believe that vitamin C can help lower levels of cortisol, aka the stress hormone that encourages your body to hang on to belly fat.
1 wedge: 86 calories, 1.1g fiber
“Fruits from the melon family, especially watermelon, are high in water content, which is great for aiding in hydration,” says Eze. Watermelon is a beloved sweet snack on its own, but you can get creative with it — work it into salads, soups, or even these Watermelon Popsicles, which are made with Ladder Pre-Workout to help you power through your workouts!
1 cup: 60 calories, 1.6g fiber
“Melons are just sweet enough, and are high enough in potassium and water to be a great post-workout snack and a re-hydrator,” says Ayoob. Cantaloupes are 90 percent water, so they’ll quench your thirst and fill you up for a minimum of calories. Snack away, or get creative by dicing cantaloupe into a salsa to accompany grilled fish or chicken.
How much fruit should you eat for weight loss?
That depends on your total calorie needs. “If someone is on 1,200 calories a day to lose weight, then two servings of fruit per day is fine,” says Ayoob. “For 1,500 calories, go for about three or four servings.
“At any rate, don’t cut out fruit entirely,” he says. “It’s too good for you and too enjoyable. If you go for melons and berries, they’re pretty low in calories. If you’re happy eating them, you may find you’re able to forgo other indulgences and stay on a healthy, low-calorie weight-loss regimen.”