Should You Eat Fruit on a Diet?
Fruit is good for you. Period. Don’t listen to anyone who says otherwise.
So is that it then? Is that the end of the blog?
It could be. But with different goals come different strategies.
When you want to lose weight, we encourage you to think about fruit differently than you do when you just want to maintain your current weight and be healthy.
Not because fruit = sugar and sugar = bad (which isn’t true), but because weight loss isn’t easy, and having the right strategies — even with something like fruit — can make it easier.
I Used to Be an Idiot
When I was a kid, I thought it was inevitable that I would someday come across a big X on the ground somewhere. When it happened, all I’d have to do was dig a couple feet down and I’d find a treasure chest filled with millions of dollars worth of gold coins.
I thought pirates buried that stuff pretty much everywhere.
I was kind of a dumb kid.
Anyway, I bring it up because I feel like I have a treasure chest full of goodies for you today.
Not only are we going to talk about fruit, we’re also talking about weight loss strategies and carbs in general, plus I already gave you a pretty stellar insight into my childhood and that’s gotta be worth something right there.
I’m tellin’ ya, I should have just titled this blog “X” and let you start digging. We can start now anyway…
Treasure #1: Carbs
The first thing you need to know is that carbs aren’t bad. You can, and should, still eat them, even when losing weight (which we talk about in “Should You Go Low Carb?”).
The real question when it comes to carbs is how much you should have each day. The answer varies wildly from person to person based on your:
Rate of weight loss
Love of carbs
Just to put it in perspective as to how much this can vary, I sometimes eat as much as 11 cupped hands worth of carbs per day while Megan sometimes goes as low as 3. Keep in mind, my hands are bigger than hers, so I’m likely eating a full 4x the amount of carbs.
(Below is a picture in case you don’t know what I’m talking about. Our clients use this method to track how much they eat, which is way more convenient than counting calories. You can learn more about this in “Stop Counting Calories.”)
Depending upon where you’re at in your health/weight loss journey, the number will vary for you, too. Now that you know that, let’s dig some more…
Treasure #2: Fruit
Technically, all fruits are carbs. We already established that the number of carbs you should eat will vary. So where does fruit fit into all that?
It depends on if you want to lose weight.
If you’re simply working on finding ways to eat healthy, we recommend not thinking of fruits as a carb at all. They fall under their own category (as do veggies). As long as you’re not extreme about it, you should enjoy fruit regularly without giving it a second thought.
If you want to lose weight though (like pretty much all of our clients), that takes a slightly different strategy. That’s when we suggest you do keep fruit categorized as a carb.
Using fruit as a carb helps balance out the other carbs in your diet. For example, if you can have 6 cupped hands worth of carbs each day, there’s a big difference between whether those carbs come from spaghetti, donuts, rice, or blueberries.
Counting fruit as a carb makes it possible for you to still have pasta while losing weight because the calories will balance out in the end.
But you still need a personal plan, so we have to dig one more time…
Treasure #3: Applying This to YOUR Weight Loss
The goal of a HEALTHY weight loss diet is to eat a variety of foods so you get all the nutrients you need.
When you’re limited in the amount of carbs you can eat, it’s also important to find a balance that lets you enjoy the foods you love while still keeping you full.
If you love fruit, you might have to eat less of it for a while to make room for more filling carbs like potatoes or oatmeal. Or you may find that certain fruits (like apples or oranges) keep you just as full as any other carb and are a good choice for your diet.
On the other end of the spectrum, you may be tempted to skip fruit altogether just so you can have cookies every night. For you, making sure you include some better carb choices like fruit is a good idea.
You have to fit the advice to your life and preferences.
This is where it helps to have a coach who can go over personalized strategies with you. It all comes down to everything you eat on a regular basis and how quickly you’d like to lose weight. We have the tools and experience to look at all that and can make those types of decisions easy on you (check out our coaching here).
The bottom line: Should you eat fruit? The simple answer is yes.
Fruit is, and always will be, one of the best choices you can make as far as carbs are concerned (and just in general). What’s important is to do it in a way that takes as much stress out of losing weight as possible.
That’s our mission. In fact, we have a free guide and worksheet for you on exactly that. Click here to download 5 Myth-Busting Rules for Taking the Overwhelm Out of Weight Loss.