Does Eating Fruit Make You Gain Weight?

The sugar in fruit is not the same as the sugar in, say, a cupcake.

Fruit—because it contains natural sugar—sometimes gets lumped with foods like baked goods, candy, and sugary drinks. However, not all sugar needs to be shunned.

The American Heart Association recommends getting four servings of fruit a day as part of a healthy eating strategy. That comes out to about one medium fruit the size of your first; half a cup of fresh, frozen, or canned fruit; or a quarter cup of dried fruit. Here are five reasons you'll want to get your recommended daily intake of cherries, berries, melon, and other juicy gems.

Fruit Eaters Tend To Weigh Less

Fruits contain ample amounts of simple sugars, like glucose, fructose, sucrose, and others. These same sugars have also been known to cause obesity. However, it doesn't mean fruits cause obesity. While this may seem contradictory, fruit actually has anti-obesity effects.

So instead of a cookie, reach for a crisp apple, a juicy peach, or a handful of fresh blueberries. Most fruits have fewer calories than baked goods and can be just as filling when eaten whole (instead of dried).

Fruit Is Packed With Water and Fiber

Besides boasting impressive nutrients, whole fruits are high in water and fiber. The water and fiber are what make fresh fruits so filling. They also help make naturally occurring sugar in fruits less concentrated than the sugar in other sweet foods.

Here is how much sugar is in the following foods:

Amount of sugar per 100 grams of foods
Raw strawberries 4.86 grams sugar
Raw cantaloupe 7.88 grams sugar
Raw red delicious apple 12.2 grams sugar
Ripe, raw banana 15.8 grams sugar
Maple syrup, about 1/3 cup 58.3 grams sugar
Honey, about 1/3 cup 82.1 grams sugar

And even in fruits with more sweetness per bite, the sugar is bundled with valuable protective substances. Mango, for example, has been shown to prevent or stop the growth of breast and colon cancer cells.

Fruit Contains Awesome Antioxidants

If you want an excellent source of antioxidants, look no further than fruits and vegetables. These foods contain several antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, selenium, and carotenoids.

While you can get antioxidants from supplements, you may not see the same benefits as you would if you got the same antioxidants from fruits and veggies. People who eat more veggies and fruits have lower risks of several diseases.

Supplements don't seem to have the same benefit of lowering your risk for disease. Also, the antioxidants in supplements can cause health concerns (the ones in foods do not). Supplements can have negative health effects when taken in high doses and may interact with medicines.

If you're taking a supplement, make sure to tell any healthcare providers you see. They'll want to know, especially if they prescribe medication.

To get the fullest range of antioxidants from fruit, eat a wide variety of these colorful foods. Antioxidants vary from fruit to fruit. For example, berries and citrus fruits have high levels of vitamin C. Cherries, apricots, melons, and mangos are great sources of carotenoids. Grapes, cherries, berries, citrus, and apples also contain bioactive substances that offer additional health benefits.

Try to eat a wide variety of different types of fruit. Alternate the fruits you buy and the colors. Rather than munching on an apple every day, mix it up between berries, bananas, and other fruits.

Dietary supplements are minimally regulated by the FDA and may or may not be suitable for you. The effects of supplements vary from person to person and depend on many variables, including type, dosage, frequency of use, and interactions with current medications. Please speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist before starting any supplements.

Beauty Benefits

The rewards of consuming a diet rich in fruits and veggies can be seen in your skin. The antioxidants in fruits and veggies can reduce your risk of cancers, including skin cancer, and protect your skin from damaging UV rays. However, eating foods with antioxidants isn't a substitute for skin cancer protection like sunscreen.

That's not all. There is also evidence that suggests fruit can help combat the effects of aging skin. Lipoic acid and other substances found in fruits and some foods may be able to counteract increased stiffness and reduced elasticity in our skin.

Endurance-Boosting Energy Benefits

Consuming fruit pre-workout is a great way to fuel exercise and energize your cells. Research has found that antioxidant-rich compounds in fruits called polyphenols can boost exercise performance. The best performance was seen in people who got these compounds from several sources. Cherries, berries, and pomegranates seem to offer the most benefit.

Endurance athletes (long-distance runners, for example) are at a higher risk than average for hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and heart damage. Diets centered around fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods may offer safety and performance benefits by providing additional protection for heart and blood vessels.

A Quick Review

With so many health benefits, fruit is worth including in your daily diet. Fruits contain many antioxidants that can promote a healthy weight, prevent your skin from aging, and help protect against cancer and other diseases. Whole fruits also contain a bunch of water and fiber, which can help you feel full. Plus, fruit may give you a spike in energy and boost your endurance.

That doesn't mean you should eat fruit in unlimited quantities. Like vegetables, fruits are packed with beneficial carbohydrates and fiber. Your daily intake should be based on your body's energy needs. Generally, about half of your plate should be filled with vegetables and fruits.

If you have any questions or concerns about how to add more fruit to your diet, talk to a healthcare provider or dietician. These professionals can help you get the right amount of nutrients for your health goals.

Was this page helpful?
11 Sources uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Heart Association. Fruits and vegetables serving sizes infographic.

  2. Sharma SP, Chung HJ, Kim HJ, Hong ST. Paradoxical effects of fruit on obesity. Nutrients. 2016;8(10):633. doi:10.3390/nu8100633

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How to use fruits and vegetables to help manage your weight.

  4. U.S. Department of Agriculture. FoodData Central.

  5. Noratto GD, Bertoldi MC, Krenek K, Talcott ST, Stringheta PC, Mertens-Talcott SU. Anticarcinogenic effects of polyphenolics from mango (Mangifera indica) varieties. J Agric Food Chem. 2010;58(7):4104-12. doi:10.1021/jf903161g

  6. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Antioxidants: in depth.

  7. Rejman K, Górska-Warsewicz H, Kaczorowska J, Laskowski W. Nutritional significance of fruit and fruit products in the average Polish diet. Nutrients. 2021;13(6):2079. doi:10.3390/nu13062079

  8. Katta R, Desai SP. Diet and dermatology: the role of dietary intervention in skin disease. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014;7(7):46-51. PMID: 25053983.

  9. Zamri FNS, Linoby A, Norhamazi I, et al. Fruit-derived polyphenol supplementation improves exercise performance: a meta-analysis of 29 randomised controlled trials. JPES. 2022;22(9):2120-2126. doi:10.7752/jpes.2022.09271

  10. Barnard ND, Goldman DM, Loomis JF, et al. Plant-based diets for cardiovascular safety and performance in endurance sports. Nutrients. 2019;11(1):130. doi:10.3390/nu11010130

  11. National Institute on Aging. Healthy eating as you age: know your food groups.

Related Articles