When you’re trying to shed excess body fat, it’s usually a good idea to keep a close eye on the number of carbs you take in and when. However, you still need some carbs and most of us still like to have something sweet to eat now and then. Fruits are the best choice for a sweet treat that pleases your taste buds and still nourishes your body, but some fruits are better than others for women trying to lose fat.
An Overview of Fruits and Fat Loss
In general, if you’re trying to lose fat, you want to focus on fruits that are high in fiber and/or water. High fiber content slows the absorption of the fructose (sugar) in the fruit and helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Fruits that are lower on the glycemic scale aren’t necessarily there because they are lower in sugar; sometimes they’re fairly high in sugar but so high in fiber that the overall impact to your blood sugar is low. A healthy dose of fiber in your fruit will also make you feel satisfied longer and help to clean out your digestive system.
High water content in fruit is good for fat loss goals for a few reasons. All of that water helps to make you feel full and satisfied without taking in a lot of calories. It also helps to provide the hydration you need for healthy liver and kidney function and when those organs are working properly, your hormonal responses and hormone levels are also better. This includes some of the hormones that impact fat loss most – cortisol, leptin and ghrelin.
When You Eat Fruit is Almost as Important as Which Fruit You Eat
Timing can be very important when it comes to eating fruits and other carbs. Women are actually able to burn carbs as fuel more efficiently than are men. Our bodies our designed to hold onto fat, while men’s bodies are designed to burn more of it for fuel, so men are usually able to take in more fat (proportionately) while women are able to eat more carbs.
Even so, this isn’t a license to go wild on the carbs, even healthy carbs like whole, fresh fruits. You’ll still store carbs as fat if you’re eating more than you can burn. The best rule of thumb on carbs have to do with timing them properly.
In general, it’s best to eat the vast majority of your carbs early in the day. This gives your body time to burn them off while you’re fairly active. Carbs eaten later in the day, when you’re less likely to be active, have a better chance of being stored than burned. Eating carbs fairly late in the evening, within three hours of going to bed, is usually a bad idea.
You also would benefit from rationing carbs on non-workout days and allowing yourself a bit more of them on the days you do work out. As far as workout nutrition, if you’re trying to lose fat you still want to get some carbs after your workout, but you only need a small amount. A small dose of carbs post-workout will signal your body to release insulin and that insulin will not only counter the release of cortisol caused by a demanding workout, but also usher more nutrients to your muscle cells instead of storing them as fat.
Five Fruits that are Actually Your Fat-Loss Friends
Now that you understand some of the guidelines for including fruit in your fat-loss plan, let me introduce you to five of the best fruits for women who are trying to shed excess body fat. All of these are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but each of them has something special to offer in your quest to lose fat.
Watermelon is known in bodybuilding circles as a bodybuilder’s best friend because of its low-glycemic value, high fiber content and high water content. It’s wonderfully sweet, which is often a real treat when you’re on a fat loss diet, yet its overall impact on your blood sugar and insulin levels is very low because of its extremely high fiber content. In fact, watermelon is about 88% water and 12% fiber.
All of that water in a nice slice of watermelon is going to help with overall hydration as well as liver and kidney function. It’s also going to work with the fiber to help you feel sated and satisfied far longer than many fruits do. That means fewer hunger pangs and fewer cravings.
Additionally, watermelon is very high in Vitamin C, one of the most important vitamins at any time, but especially when you’re trying to lose fat.
Pomegranate is cool these days, but it’s always been a fantastic fruit to eat when you’re on a fat loss program. Not only is it loaded with fiber, Vitamin C and water, but it also encourages slower eating. You can nibble on a baggie of pomegranate arils for quite some time, which can help curb your urge to hit the vending machine. This fruit isn’t on the top ten superfoods list for nothing.
Grapefruit used to be known as the fruit poster-child for dieting. We even had The Grapefruit Diet, but for all the wrong reasons. Back then, it was all about grapefruit’s low calorie content (about 90 calories for half of one large fruit), but now we know that there’s a lot more to grapefruit than its low calorie count. For one thing, your body actually burns more calories digesting grapefruit than the fruit contains, which is a beautiful thing. It’s actually a negative-calorie food. But there’s even more to love about grapefruit.
Grapefruit is extremely high in fiber and Vitamin C and contains a great deal of water. Choose red grapefruit over white or pink, as it contains far more antioxidants and is usually sweeter. To get the biggest benefit out of grapefruit, peel and eat it like you do an orange. When you eat grapefruit sections or scoop the flesh with a spoon, you leave behind almost all of the fiber and much of the vitamin content, which are contained in the fibrous membrane and the white pith respectively. Eating the fruit this way takes longer and is more satisfying too.
Berries are one of the best fruits you can eat on a fat loss diet. They’re loaded with fiber, very low in sugar and are simply packed with Vitamin C, B-vitamins and a whole array of important antioxidants. Berries have been shown to help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels too. Another nice thing about berries is that a little bit of them goes a long way, so toss a small handful into smoothies, protein shakes, into your juicer or onto your salads.
Apples are loaded with fiber, which makes them a very low-glycemic fruit. They’re low in calories, at about 80 calories for a medium apple, and have lots of satisfying crunch, which is great for battling snack cravings. Try to buy organic apples; a great deal of the antioxidant and fiber content is in the peel, so you want to be able to eat it safely instead of peeling that goodness away. Unfortunately, simply washing and even peeling commercially-grown apples won’t get rid of all the pesticides and herbicides that commercial growers use.
Variety is a Key to Success
One of the best things you can do for your overall health and your fat loss goals is to get a variety of fruits in your diet. Each fruit has different nutrient profiles and a different roster of antioxidants and vitamins, not to mention flavors and textures. By switching fruits in and out from one week to the next, you ensure that you’re getting a variety of micronutrients and you also get more variety in your daily diet. One of the worst things that can happen to you when you’re on a fat loss program is for you to become bored with your food!
Keep Your Ratios and Carb Sources in Line
Even though fruits are wonderfully healthy, you still want to keep your carb ratios and carb sources in mind when including fruit in your fat loss plan. You need to stay within the proper ratio (of carbs, fats and protein) for your body and your plan, no matter how healthy your carb choices may be. Also, most of those carb choices still need to be fresh vegetables. Getting most of your carbs from vegetables makes it easier to limit carbs while allowing you to eat a LOT of food. You can eat a lot more sautéed broccoli than you can cherries and you’ll be more satisfied.
The most important thing to remember is that your first priority is to feed your body, even while you’re trying to lose fat. Health and optimal function come first and they’re necessary to long-lasting fat loss anyway.
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