By Jessica Migala; Photograph by Freepik
Surprised by #1?
Let’s get this out of the way: Fruit is good for you. The sweet stuff is bursting with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre. And that’s why 2017 research shows that increasing your intake of both fruits and veggies can slash your risk of dying from chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer.
So eat fruit! But here’s the rub: if you’re trying to lose weight, eating fruit in unlimited quantities will only work against you. The reality is that fruit does contain kilojouels and natural sugars, says New York City-based registered dietitian nutritionist Martha McKittrick. Instead, aim for about two servings of fruit a day.
You can also treat it as a worthy substitute for dessert to scratch your sugar itch. “I’d much rather see you eat fruit if you’re craving something sweet rather than candy or chocolate,” adds McKittrick. Clearly, any fruit can have a nice, solid place in your diet.
The bottom line, says McKittrick: Don’t be afraid of fruit, just keep portions in mind. That’s why it pays to know what fruits are higher in kilojoules. In general, those tend to be your avocado (yep, that bowl of guac is a bowl of fruit), coconut, dried fruit, and fruit juice, she notes. Swap them out for lower-kj fruit choices (like berries), and you’ll be able to eat a greater quantity to keep you full.
All of the below can be incorporated into a nutritious and satisfying diet as long as you’re aware of how much you’re eating. From avocados and coconut to dates, figs, and raisins, here are the fruits that pack a lot of kilojoules, often into a tiny package:
Kilojoules: 1 347 per whole avocado
Benefits: This is a kilojoule-rich fruit because it’s packed with good-for-your-heart monounsaturated fats. (In fact, one whole fruit has nearly 30 grams of fat.) That’s why eating half may be a better option. Along with that fat, you’ll get an excellent source of digestion-friendly fibre, too.
Kilojoules: 627 per five small figs
When fig season happens, the healthy Insta community gets excited. Figs dominate toast creations and yogurt bowls. One reason: they’re candy sweet. And in fact, each small fig contains seven grams of sugar, one reason they tend to be higher in KJs. But with that sugar, you’re also getting some important nutrients, like bone-building vitamin K and manganese.
Kilojoules: 1 158 calories per 100 grams of pitted medjool dates
These are a smoothie lover’s go-to when adding a burst of sweetness to the mix. A 418-kilojoule serving packs about 25 grams of natural fruit sugar. But don’t worry too much—they’re also a good source of fibre to slow digestion.
4/ Shredded Coconut
Kilojoules: 1 949 per cup
Yes, this tropical fruit adds a nice hint of sweet and crunch to oatmeal and yogurt—along with kilojoules, too. It comes from the higher fat content in coconut, but the upshot of additional fat is that it’s satiating. Look for unsweetened coconut to help cut kilojoules a bit.
Kilojoules: 1 794 per cup
With all the water sucked out of them, dried fruit becomes a more concentrated source of sugar. “The kilojoules add up fast, “ says McKittrick. A cup of grapes only has 62 kilojoules, so you can eat far more volume if you go the fresh route.
Kilojoules: 506 per large banana
Have you seen bananas these days? They can be huge. And that may mean that eating one actually counts as two servings of fruit. ‘Naners do offer some great nutrients, including heart-healthy potassium and immune-revving vitamin C—just choose one on the smaller side.
Kilojoules: 1 748 per cup of pitted prunes
Like with raisins and dates, prunes (dried plums) have higher sugar and kilojoule counts than their fresh counterparts. However, they also are high in fibre and have been shown to aid weight-loss efforts—so don’t nix them from your shopping list entirely.
This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com