When trying to lose weight, we’re always advised to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and moderate portions of good fats, protein, and complex carbs. We often follow this advice and fill up half of our plates with colorful fruits and vegetables.
Is sugar in fruit bad for weight loss?
Before discussing the 5 fruits to avoid for weight loss, we need to first understand the role of sugar in fruits.
While it is important to include fruit in your diet, you should also pay attention to the fact that not all fruits and veggies are good for you.
Most fruits and vegetables contain natural sugars, which are beneficial for our body, but consuming them excessively can be detrimental, especially for those trying to lose weight.
Fruits contain two types of sugars: fructose and glucose. Fructose, which is also known as fruit sugar, is the sweetest of all sugars and is found in high amounts in some fruits such as mangoes and dried fruit.
An excessive intake of fructose from fruit drinks, veggies, and fruits can be harmful to the liver.
A large percentage of fructose is metabolized in the liver, and according to Harvard Health, part of the changes in the process includes the creation of fat from fructose .
Once the fat is created, it builds up within the liver and can lead to weight gain and other health risks. An accumulation of these tiny fat droplets increases the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which in due course, will lead to inflammation or damage of the liver .
Another reason sugar in fruit is bad for you is that some fruits have a high glycemic index, which, if eaten in excess, may lead to weight gain.
The glycemic index (GI) measures how much carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose levels compared to a reference food, usually pure glucose.
Pure glucose has a GI value of 100. Foods with a high GI score of 70 and above can raise blood sugar levels quickly, while foods with a low GI score of 55 and below tend to raise blood sugar levels more slowly. On the other hand, foods with a moderate GI score (56-69) will moderately elevate blood sugar levels .
The Oregon State University reports that eating food that is high in sugar will cause your blood sugar to spike, then drop quickly. However, if you eat food that is low in sugar, your blood sugar will stay at a lower level and gradually go down .
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Too much sugar from fruit is bad for you
When you eat within the daily recommended serving of fruit, the sugar from the fruit is broken down into glucose, absorbed into the bloodstream, and used for energy.
However, if you exceed the recommended daily serving, your body will produce more insulin than necessary to cope with the glucose load.
Excess insulin in the bloodstream can cause the body to store more fat, particularly around the belly, and can make it harder for the body to use stored fat for energy.
A lot of research points to the importance of consuming sugar from fruit in moderation and pairing it with fiber and protein to help slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
Best and worst fruits for weight loss
Now that we understand why sugar in fruit can be bad for you, let’s dive into some specific fruits that may not be the best choice for those looking to lose weight.
In the next section, we’ll highlight the best and worst fruits for weight loss. By being aware of these fruits and their potential impact on your weight loss journey, you can make more informed decisions about your diet and reach your goals more effectively.
5 fruits to avoid for weight loss
Although a watermelon consists of over 90% water, it makes it to the list of 5 fruits to avoid for weight loss because it has high sugar content.
A serving of 1 cup of diced watermelon has 11g of carbohydrates and a glycemic Index score of 76, which places watermelons in the high GI fruits category.
Despite being low in calories, watermelons are high in fructose – a type of sugar that can be converted to fat in the liver when consumed in excess.
When adding watermelons to your diet, pay attention to how much you eat because too much watermelon can make losing weight harder.
2. Dried fruits
Dried fruits are often recommended as a healthy snack, as long as you don’t overeat them. But then again, it’s very easy to eat several at once, which can quickly add up.
You can eat 10 dried peaches in one sitting without even realizing it, but it would be much harder to eat 10 fresh peaches at once.
The process of drying fruit involves removing most of the water and leaving behind a concentration of sugar and calories.
Usually, you will find the same or sometimes higher amounts of sugar, nutrients, and calories in a tiny piece of dried fruit as you would in a fresh one.
The only difference is that the dried fruit will be much smaller than the fresh one and won’t be as filling because it has been stripped of water.
For example, when you could have eaten 2 fresh apricots for your afternoon snack, you will probably eat 10 dried apricots, which translates to more calories and sugar.
Another thing that makes dried fruits one of the 5 fruits to avoid for weight loss is added sugar.
Brands usually artificially sweeten dried fruits such as cranberries, mangoes, blueberries, and cherries during processing to enhance flavor and texture.
According to the American Heart Association, consuming too much added sugar can lead to weight gain, inflammation, and increased belly fat, and also put you at a higher risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
When buying dried fruits, you should look out for fruits with added sugar and instead opt for unsweetened options.
Pineapples are high in vitamin C and fiber but are not the best choice of fruit when trying to lose weight.
According to the tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values published in Diabetes Care in 2008, pineapples have a high to moderate glycemic index of 58.
Pineapple is loaded with fructose which can cause rapid spikes in blood glucose levels, leading to increased hunger, cravings, and reduced feelings of fullness if not eaten in moderation.
While pineapples have health benefits, you should not exceed eating 1-2 cups a week. This is because 1 cup of pineapples contains 16g of sugar, and eating more than this serving can lead to unwanted weight gain and other health issues.
4. Overripe Mangoes
Overripe mangoes are high in calories and sugar. A medium-sized mango can contain up to 200 calories and over 20 grams of sugar. The recommended serving size for mangoes is 1 cup a day.
Frequently eating more than the recommended serving can lead to an energy surge and crash, which ultimately encourages cravings for more sugary and calorie-dense snacks.
Rather than eating the daily serving of mango at once, you can avoid sudden spikes in blood sugar levels by eating a handful of the recommended serving throughout the day.
5. Canned fruit
Canned fruits are affordable, convenient, and can be stored for several months without going off, unlike fresh fruits. However, if you are trying to lose weight, canned fruits can put a spanner in the works.
Most canned fruits contain empty calories and are loaded with added sugars, syrups, artificial sweeteners, additives, and preservatives, all of which provide no nutritional value.
You are likely to consume more calories by eating canned fruit than you would if you ate fresh fruit.
If you cannot avoid canned fruit, the healthiest option is to look for canned fruits packed in water.
You can avoid consuming mystery ingredients by making your own homemade canned fruits. This way, you will know what you’re eating. Frozen fruits also are another healthier alternative to canned fruits.
Best fruit for weight loss
Since time immemorial, lemons have been used in different ways for weight loss.
But what makes lemons the best fruit for weight loss?
Lemons are rich in polyphenols and various types of flavonoids, which are known to have numerous health benefits. Flavonoids contain antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antiviral properties .
Research reveals that the flavonoids found in lemon can reduce inflammation, prevent lifestyle diseases, and reduce body weight and body fat . The study recommended that supplementing your diet with lemon can help to prevent obesity and insulin resistance.
Another reason why lemons are the best for weight loss is that they are high in vitamin C. It has been found that individuals with less vitamin C burn 30% less fat during moderate exercise than those with more vitamin C .
You can start your day with a glass of warm water mixed with freshly squeezed lemon juice or add the juice of half a lemon to your breakfast oatmeal.
Other ways you can use lemons for weight loss include making a pitcher of lemon-infused water and adding mint leaves and cucumber slices. You can also make the famous lemon and cayenne pepper weight loss drink and see the difference it will make!
How to make the fat-burning lemon water and cayenne pepper detox drink
Cayenne pepper is very spicy. If you are unsure of your tolerance for cayenne pepper, I recommend starting with a tiny amount and gradually increasing it as you go along.
It is important to remember that adding lemons to your diet alone will not get you in shape. You need to do at least 8000 – 10 000 steps a day, eat a healthy and balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and get lots of rest.
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 glass of warm water
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Pour the lemon juice into the glass and add honey cayenne pepper and turmeric powder.
Stir well to combine and activate the ingredients.
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 glass warm water
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Pour the lemon juice into the glass and add honey cayenne pepper and turmeric powder.
Stir well to combine and activate the ingredients.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 74Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 11mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 0gSugar: 18gProtein: 0g
Final thoughts on 5 fruits to avoid for weight loss
When trying to lose weight, the 5 fruits you should avoid or eat in moderation are dried fruits, watermelons, overripe mangoes, canned fruit in syrup, and pineapples.
These 5 fruits are calorie dense, high in sugar, and have a high -to-moderate glycemic index, which can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar.
For example, frequent consumption of dried fruit such as cranberries can lead to a short burst of energy, followed by a crash, which ultimately encourages cravings for more sugary and calorie-dense snacks.
When blood sugar levels remain consistently high over time, it can lead to insulin resistance, a condition where our cells become less responsive to insulin.
As a result, the body will produce even more insulin to cope with the same amount of glucose.
Excess insulin in the bloodstream can cause the body to store more fat, particularly around the abdominal area. It can also make it harder for the body to use stored fat for energy and contribute to weight gain and other health issues.
Healthy fruit alternatives include blueberries, lemons, apples, strawberries, grapefruit, and avocadoes.
 Harvard Health Publishing. (2011, September 1). Abundance of fructose not good for the liver, heart. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/abundance-of-fructose-not-good-for-the-liver-heart.
 Bryant, E. (2020, September 15). How high fructose intake may trigger fatty liver disease. Retrieved March 28, 2023, from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-high-fructose-intake-may-trigger-fatty-liver-disease#.
 Higdon, J., & Linus Pauling Institute; Oregon State University. (2003). Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/food-beverages/glycemic-index-glycemic-load
 Fiona S. Atkinson, Kaye Foster-Powell, Jennie C. Brand-Miller; International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values: 2008. Diabetes Care 1 December 2008; 31 (12): 2281–2283. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc08-1239
 Ullah, A., Munir, S., Badshah, S. L., Khan, N., Ghani, L., Poulson, B. G., Emwas, A. H., & Jaremko, M. (2020). Important Flavonoids and Their Role as a Therapeutic Agent. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 25(22), 5243. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25225243
 Fukuchi, Y., Hiramitsu, M., Okada, M., Hayashi, S., Nabeno, Y., Osawa, T., & Naito, M. (2008). Lemon Polyphenols Suppress Diet-induced Obesity by Up-Regulation of mRNA Levels of the Enzymes Involved in beta-Oxidation in Mouse White Adipose Tissue. Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition, 43(3), 201–209. https://doi.org/10.3164/jcbn.2008066
 Johnston C. S. (2005). Strategies for healthy weight loss: from vitamin C to the glycemic response. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 24(3), 158–165. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2005.10719460
Susan Chanda is a professional content writer/journalist with over 20 years’ experience. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing management from University of South Africa and a diploma in Journalism and Public relations.
Susan has been writing evidence based fitness and health articles since 2016 for Fitness Chat, and is a certified fitness trainer, and diet and nutrition coach.
Fitness Chat is one of the several other websites that Susan owns, or co-owns with her children.
You can read more about Susan here.