Fruit is a good source of fiber, it's relatively low in calories, and it's full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. That doesn't mean you can eat unlimited amounts of it however. Fruits that are higher in naturally occurring fruit sugar and lower in fiber can impact blood sugar and may not be as satisfying. While fruits are lower in calories than most foods, they still have calories, which can add up and may slow weight loss.
In addition to limiting your fruit intake to two servings daily, Dr. Melina Jampolis, author of The Doctor On Demand Diet: Your Prescription For Lasting Weight Loss, recommends you follow these steps to make sure you aren't getting too many calories from fruit.
1. Skip the fruit juice.
Fruit juice does not contain fiber, which is important for fullness, keeping blood sugar more stable, and weight loss. Juice is also a concentrated form of calories that can be quickly consumed. Think about the amount of time that it takes you to eat an orange versus the amount of time it takes to drink a four-ounce glass of juice.
The dirty little secret about fruit juice -- even 100 percent pure fruit juice -- is that it contains enormous amounts of sugar and calories. For example, 100 percent pure orange juice has more calories than an equal amount of Coke, Pepsi, or other sugary soda. Sure, the orange juice has vitamin C, but if you're eating a healthy diet, you're getting plenty of vitamin C from other sources, such as whole fruits and vegetables.
If you really love pure fruit juice, you can include it in small quantities. In my mind, juice has no place in a weight-loss program because it provides so little return on your caloric investment.
2. Stay away from dried fruit.
Unlike juice, dried fruit contains fiber, but it does not contain water, so dried fruit is a much more concentrated source of calories and sugar that can add up fast. Dried fruit falls into the same category as the dry carbs -- it has a higher energy density so you just don't get a lot of bang for your buck in terms of volume and hunger control. I'm always astounded by the number of calories in dried fruit: half a cup of raisins, for example, contains 240 calories -- as much as a McDonald's hamburger and more than a bag of chocolate candies. Fresh fruit is also far more satisfying: for the same number of calories, you can eat two cups of grapes or a quarter cup of raisins. So stick with the whole fruit, save calories, and feel fuller.
Modified excerpt from The Doctor On Demand Diet: Your Prescription For Lasting Weight Loss by Melina Jampolis, MD (Ghost Mountain Books). Ghost Mountain Books, Inc., along with Doctor on Demand, is owned, in part, by Dr. Phillip C. McGraw and Jay McGraw.
The Doctor On Demand Diet is on sale now. Join Doctor On Demand and Dr. Jampolis for a Twitter Q&A Thursday, 11/12, from 11am-noon PST. Submit your questions using #AskDrMelina.
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