Staying away from Nutella, Ben & Jerry’s, Hershey’s, or Oreos may be one of the worst parts of dieting. But ditching sweets doesn’t mean you have to go without anything sweet-tasting. Start eating fruit, especially the ones that have been considered the best for weight loss.
The natural sugars in fruit can be used to quell a sweet tooth, says registered dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, creator of BetterThanDieting, and author of Read It Before You Eat It. “Beyond just being a healthier hit of sweetness, fruits are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, micronutrients, fiber, and water—which candy and candy-sugar don’t have,” she says.
The fiber in fruit is especially clutch for those working towards weight loss. “Fiber is the nutrient that helps keep you full, so when you eat a fiber-forward diet, you decrease your likelihood of snacking between meals,” says Taub-Dix.
“It’s a myth that grapefruit is a negative calorie food; No food is, but, high-in-fiber, low-in-calories, and flavorful still makes it a good addition to a weight loss plan,” Taub-Dix says.
Studies show that obese people who ate half a grapefruit before meals for 12 weeks lost more weight than those who didn’t eat or drink any grapefruit products. It may be that the water in grapefruit helps you feel full, and then you eat less.
Researchers found that tart cherries have important weight management benefits for animals, including reduced belly fat. In one 12-week study by the University of Michigan, rats that received whole tart cherry powder mixed into a high-fat diet didn’t gain as much weight or build up as much body fat as rats that didn’t take cherries.
“With 4 grams of fiber per serving and only 95 calories, apples are one of the best sources of fiber on the planet,” says Taub-Dix.
In one study, women were given three apples, three pears, or three oat cookies — with the same calorie value — per day for 10 weeks. The apple group lost 2 pounds (0.91 kg) and the pear group 1.6 pounds (0.84 kg), while the oat group’s weight did not change.
Additionally, an observational study in 124,086 individuals determined that people who ate apples lost an average of 1.24 pounds (0.56 kg) per daily serving over four years.
In the study published in the journal Nutrition, women who ate three pears a day consumed fewer total daily calories and lost more weight than those who didn’t.
“Every time you eat a pear you’re working your way toward your daily recommended fiber intake,” says Taub-Dix. Also, pears contain pectin which, she says, “nourishes gut bacteria, improves digestion, supports bowel health, and has been linked to improved weight loss.”
A study at Texas AgriLife Research found that peaches may help ward off risk for obesity-related diseases. “The study indicates that compounds present in these fruits have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic properties,” Dr. Luis Cisneros-Zevallos, AgriLife Research food scientist explained in a press release.
“Consuming peaches] may reduce the oxidation of bad cholesterol LDL which is associated with cardiovascular disease,” he said.