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Got Fruit? It Does a Waistline Good PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Novick, M.S., R.D.   
Monday, 28 August 2006 12:09

Jeff NovickGot Fruit? It Does a Waistline Good

Thanks to bogus information in the media, many people today think that fruit is fattening. Yet, numerous studies have found just the opposite.

If you want to lose weight, eat fruit. If you want to maintain a healthy weight throughout life, eat fruit. Repeatedly, higher fruit consumption is linked with lower weight.

Here are three recently published studies showing that to get thin and stay thin, eat fruit.

Fruit Does A Waistline Good1. In an exhaustive review of food intake surveys completed by more than 12,000 Americans, scientists at the Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, found that normal weight individuals — men, women, and children — consumed significantly more fruit than their overweight and obese counterparts. (1)

In their article, entitled “Higher Fruit Consumption Linked With Lower Body Mass Index,” agricultural economists Rosanna Mentzer Morrison and Biing-Hwan Lin stated that higher fruit consumption was linked with lower BMI (body mass index) in part because people ate whole fruit as a snack or dessert rather than higher calorie foods like potato chips, nuts, trail mix, and candy bars.

2. In a meta-analysis of 22 studies on the effects of high-fiber versus low-fiber diet interventions, scientists found that the participants on the higher-fiber diets, which included multiple servings of fruit daily, lost significantly more weight than those on the lower-fiber diets. (2)

Fruit has consistently “been linked to weight regulation,” summed up scientists from the National Center for Chronic Disease and Health Promotion, commenting on this meta-analysis and similar investigations. (3) That’s because fruit, full of water and fiber, is high in stomach-filling volume yet low in calories, explained the authors. “Fruit will help people feel full and yet consume fewer calories.”

3.  Researchers from Louisiana State University and Laval University in Quebec tracked 248 men and women who kept a three-day record of their food intake at the beginning of the study and at the study’s end, six years later, and found that two factors helped keep weight in check: cutting back on fats and boosting whole fruit intake.4

“These results support the evidence suggesting that consuming a healthy diet (i.e., low in fat and sugar, high in fruit and vegetables) can decrease body weight or prevent body-weight gain over time,” stated lead author Dr. Vicky Drapeau, researcher at the Division of Kinesiology, Laval University.

Dr. Drapeau and colleagues also found that people who ate more fruit and less fat tended to have lower overall calorie intakes, lower intakes of dietary cholesterol, and significantly higher intakes of dietary fiber, folate, vitamin C, and other nutrients.

The weight-control benefit of fruit was linked to whole fruits only — not fruit juice. That’s no surprise, commented Dr. Drapeau, “since whole fruit contains dietary fiber that could have a satiety effect.” Put simply, whole fruit does a better job of filling you up (and on a lot fewer calories) than fruit juice.

Bottom Line: Pay no heed to admonitions from diets like South Beach and Atkins to avoid fruit. Study after study has found that fruit can do wonders for your waistline.

1. Food Review, 2002; 25 (3): 28.
2. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2001; 73: 1010.
3. “Can Eating Fruits and Vegetables Help People To Manage Their Weight?” Research to Practice Series, No. 1: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity
4. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2004; 80: 29.


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