Getting very confused about fruit as part of a weight loss program

Doctor says oranges, berries and cherries only. I can live with that. So 1 orange at breakfast, and if in season, a cup of cherries or strawberries as a snack. That WAS what I was doing.

Trainer says 1 fruit a day and no bananas at all.

Someone else says 1 banana a day and no other fruit.

Fruit has always kind of been my “sweet” when the cravings hit. Another personal trainer says no fruit, it’s all belly fat, which makes no sense. I really want an apple some days or a pear-is that all out of the question?

Can anyone tell me how fruit works or has worked in their sucessful weight loss program?

I say eat all things in moderation; fruit as a sweet snack is better than, say, a cookie or a doughnut or a chocolate bar. I was maintaining my weight very well (until Christmas) eating all the fruit I want, which is usually two to three servings per day (and some days even bananas!).

Could you possibly talk to a nutritionist rather than trainers? All the nutritionists I’ve ever heard say eat your fruits and vegetables - they do have a lot of fructose (fruit sugar) in them, but they have a lot of nutrients, too.

Your doctor’s suggestion/what you were doing is sensible. The other people, not so much:)

You really want to ask fo another whole set of opinions? This time from a random people on a message board?

Well for what it is worth, I am a big fan of the basic composition of the DASH program, specifically the higher protein variation of it. (And so are many others.) It is not a weight loss plan per se but you will lose weight by way of eating moderate amounts of healthy foods. That means

No need to restrict to particular ones only. IMHO fairly unripe bananas are fantastic because the form of starch they have is slow to digest …

The higher protein version moves protein percent up from about 15 to about 25% of daily calories (coming from fats and refined grains and most of the protein increase in the forms of legumes and unsalted nuts).

Good luck!

Fruit is a fantastic source of fibre.

I’d suggest you follow your doctor’s advice. Your trainer doesn’t know your medical history and doesn’t have a medical degree. And someone else will always say something else!

Since this is in “IMHO”, my humble opinion is that any healthy eating plan that doesn’t encourage you to get as much of your calories/vitamins/minerals from whole fruits and veggies as possible is probably doomed to be unsuccessful in the long run. (i include losing a bunch of weight this year, and then gaining it back sometime in the next 5 in the unsuccessful category). Maybe the weight won’t come off as fast, but you’ll be healthier and the plan will be easier to sustain in the long run.

Doctors don’t even take but 40 hours of nutrition instruction in medical school. Even some of them aren’t really giving out very good advice.

My opinion is fruit is good food. All fruit. There’s fiber and vitamins and fruit is tasty. People used to live on freshly hunted meat, and whatever fruits and veggies they could grow or gather. My grandparents ate that way: lean proteins, and tons of fresh fruit and veg.

I also believe that any one diet that would restrict any one food group is probably more woo than beneficial. I find it difficult to believe that one cannot eat healthy, fresh, NONPROCESSED foods in moderation, get sufficient exercise, get sufficient and regular sleep, and be unhealthy. What happened to “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Apples aren’t healthy anymore? Nonsense! Of course they are! So are bananas – they are rich in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber.

There is no way that a banana could be less healthy than a cupcake.

I firmly believe that people wouldn’t have to eliminate any food or food group from their diets at all if we didn’t eat processed foods. Fruit juice from a can? Pure sugar, and you might as well drink Kool-Aid. But a whole piece of fruit? I don’t see the problem.

Here’s a couple of links to what looks like reasonable and legitimate websites (to me) for doing your own homework on nutrition. I am not sure what trainers at the gym are actually qualified to do, aside from spot you and teach you how to use certain exercise equipment, but they are not nutritionists.

The US Government.
Here’s the Wikipedia page about nutrition.
And here’s Harvard’s site.
And here’s something called “The American Society of Nutrition.”

Sure, fruit is high in sugar and all that, but it’s also got vitamins and fiber. It’s certainly way better for you than cookies or potato chips, and fills you up faster.

Barring some specific health issues, what foods are better for you than fruits?

  1. Green vegetables
  2. ???

The simplest, best diet advice I’ve ever gotten was “eat more plants.” Fruits are plants. Eat 'em. Again, barring any specific health issues, eat 'em in abundance.

I tend to treat bananas as a starch, so if I eat one it’s in place of another starch such as grains or root vegetables.

For me it’s a fruit in the same sense that peas or corn are a vegetable. I treat them as a starch component instead.

Some doctors are very knowledgeable about nutrition, and others not so much. If you have specific questions about your diet, the best person to speak with is a dietician. A trainer, or even a nutritionist may or may not have any training, testing or license, depending on your state. A dietician has completed a four year degree, an internship, passed the national exam, is registered with the Commission of Dietetic Registration and is licensed to provide diet and nutrition consultation. More importantly, to maintain their licensure, they need to take continuing education, and so are more likely to have the latest information in the field.

That being said, your doctor’s advice, while a bit restrictive, is most in line with current guidelines from all the advisory groups I know of.

But, stepping aside from the question of credentials for a minute - how do you feel? How is your fitness? Are you progressing towards your health and fitness goals? If yes and you’re eating bananas, then don’t worry about the banana. If no, then maybe trying switching things around to see what works best for you and your body. Studies and theories and books are great, but our bodies don’t read them. Finding what works for *your *body is more important for you than finding what works for most bodies. A doctor’s got to advise what works for most people most of the time (at least first), because that’s the ethically responsible thing to do. You only have to worry about what works for one body - yours.

One of the smartest things I ever read: There’s no bad food. Only bad eating habits.

I would eat all the fruit and veg that you like. It’s the meat, processed carbs and sugar that you need to watch.

There are bad fruits now?!

What was that one diet where you had to live off of sunshine and air?

Oh you get all kinds of silly stuff out there. I think the anti-fruit bit is coming out of a popular misunderstanding Robert Lustig’s overstated “Fructose is toxic” bit. His actual position is indeed that fructose in added sweeteners, whether it is in the form of high fructose corn syrup or table sugar, is harmful. He explicitly states that fruits are good … his spin is that fruits come packaged with “the antidote” and lots of other good stuff. His target - added sweeteners - may be a worthy one, but he really goofed on the execution. And while fiber is part of the good of fruit, it clearly is not the complete explanation.

Which fruits? From the NYT bit linked to in that post:

Makes sense to me.

I’ve been fat and I’ve been thin (many times). One thing I will say about fruit: I never got fat eating fruit and eating it has never stopped me from losing weight.

Fruit is seen by hard nosed trainers as basically sugar water with some fiber and vitamins and nutritionally that’s not wildly far off the mark. So in terms of building muscle and losing fat they don’t rate fruit very high as an essential component of a weight loss - muscle building diet. At best many view it with a cautious eye as you can readily gain weight with enough fruit intake though you would have to work at it and it might be expensive.

What some trainers seem to miss is the fact that fruit, used responsibly, can be a huge help in satiation and controlling the impulse to overeat. Much more so than eating the nutritional equivalent (in calories) of a processed high sugar food. If you are trying to lose weight and build muscle there are better foods to eat than a lot of fruit, but fruit in moderation can be helpful. If you are just trying to lose weight used moderately and at the right times it can be a big help in appetite control.

Why on earth does the doctor say only oranges, berries and cherries??? That sounds ridiculous. Unless you’re avoiding other fruits due to some kind of allergic issue or food sensitivity. But with a handful of exceptions, any fruit is going to pack a lot of vitamins, and water, and fiber, along with a pretty reasonable caloric intake.


  • Bananas are great nutritionally but calorically dense; Weight Watchers for example counts a medium/large banana as two points where an apple or orange would be one.
  • Avocados: ditto, including significant fat content but I gather it’s “good” fat
  • Olives: ditto.

Most other fruits, eat as you like as long as they don’t aggravate any underlying issues, and you practice reasonable portion control. If you’re eating 12 apples and 14 pears a day, that’s overkill. If you’re eating 3 apples and 2 pears a day, you should be fine.

Now, don’t drink juice. It’s tasty and has some vitamins but it’s waaaaay too easy to overdo the calories and you don’t get the fiber benefit. Plus supposedly whole fruit doesn’t cause your blood sugar to spike nearly as much as juice.

The only possible rationale is that (s)he is trying to increase most the fruits thought to have the greatest antioxidant levels - which includes those and plums/prunes in particular. If our op is on a cholesterol lowering medication it is often advised to stay off grapefruit as it interfers with the metabolism of those drugs.

Some people mistakenly believe bananas have a high glycemic index, which is why they tell you to avoid them.

Twinkies, yo.

But more seriously, I largely agree with astro, with the caveat that fruit and other plants are important sources of vitamins/minerals/antioxidants/etc., and those are things you need. Macronutrients matter for body composition, but micronutrients matter for health.