Half your childhood was spent listening to your mom go on and on about eating your fruits and vegetables before getting dessert; especially if you ever hoped to grow up healthy and strong one day. Growing up was one continuous struggle between seeing how many Oreos you could get away with eating in a sitting, and still finding a way to choke down your nightly broccoli. Fast forward a few years, and now half your time viewing social media fitness accounts is spent reading how dairy and fruit are two of the very worst things for your fat loss goals. How dare that hag of a mom lie to you, eh? Let’s see her build an Instagram page of 10K+ followers, sheesh.

Welllll, don’t throw out your apples just yet. Despite the popularity of produce bashing in the online fitness world, as with most topics, the facts are far different than the outlandish captions may suggest. After recently getting the question several times from my own online clients, it was time to write an article covering what the actual science suggests in terms of fruit consumption, and why fruit itself is far from being to blame for the weight management and health issues faced by most people, especially here in America.

 

Nutrient Deficiencies when Dieting

One of the most under considered, but blatantly obvious reasons to keep fruit in our diets year round, even when dieting for fat loss, is for overall health. Sure, plenty of us got into training seriously and tracking our diets, at least in part, due to vanity. More confidence around the opposite sex, feel better at the beach or nights out, look great on stage- you name it. The vast majority of us care very much about how we look.

Nevertheless though, looking good and being healthy aren’t mutually exclusive. It’s hard to look your best if you’re constantly sick. It’s also pretty tough to add more shape and size to our physiques if energy levels are constantly fluctuating and we’re not properly fueled for our workouts. Even if we’re in this for aesthetics, paying attention to our long-term health and the nutrients we can consume to optimize it is an important part of maximizing our long-term progress.

I include that tangent because, as we’re actively dieting for fat loss and resultantly, our total food intake is gradually declining as we push for continued fat loss- the risk of having a nutrient deficiency increases. That’s because to continue losing body fat, we of course have to continue systematically reducing how much we eat. Less food consumed means less chance to obtain the proper amount of various vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients important to health. If that risk wasn’t already significant enough as we progress in extended dieting phases, cutting out entire nutrient-dense food groups exacerbates the risk many times over.

If for no other reason, keeping at least some fruit in during your dieting phases will be important for safeguarding against nutrient deficiencies that best case, could hinder training performance or energy levels, but worst case, could lead to getting sick or accelerating hormone disruptions along the way.

American Fruit Intake & Obesity

If fruit were actually the problem, then it’s hard to understand how studies like the one I’m citing here reported an average of 76% of Americans didn’t consume the minimum suggestion for fruit, and 87% of Americans didn’t eat the minimum suggestion of vegetable intake provided by the USDA. [1][2]

Considering those suggestions are 2.0 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day for the average person (and reasonably, a higher suggestion for very active people), it goes without saying that over eating fruits isn’t likely the cause for America’s continued prevalence of obesity. [3]

bananas

 

What about the Sugar?

Ah yes, the old sugar dispute. Time and time again people are encouraged to drop fruit from their diets because the sugar it contains is darn near deadly!! Heck if you’re trying to get and stay in good shape, why on earth would you consume foods that are almost entirely composed of sugar??

First off, it’s important to remember that any source of carbohydrates is eventually broken down into monosaccharides (aka sugars) as an end product, even the brown rice or oats the local bro bodybuilder preaches is the only way for you to go. Granted, different carb sources break down differently, and offer a unique combination and amount of various health-promoting micronutrients, but at the end of the day, they’re still ultimately sugar.

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