Apples and oranges and other vegetanles on a kitchen counter

Because fruit is sweet and contains naturally occurring sugar, many people assume that it’s associated with weight gain. However, research consistently shows that eating fruit supports healthy weight management.

Several published studies have found that increasing the daily consumption of whole fruits is inversely tied to weight gain, meaning that the more fruit is consumed, the fewer pounds are gained. Research has also shown that eating whole fruit reduces the likelihood of long-term weight gain in adults by curbing total calorie intakes.

Researchers believe the protective effects of fruit may be partly due to anti-inflammatory antioxidants and nutrients, how fruit intake alters the gut microbiome, and fruit’s ability to boost satiety. Because whole fruits require chewing and provide fiber and water, they empty out of the stomach slower, which increases fullness and delays the return of hunger. Also, eating fruit in place of a higher calorie snack or dessert reduces total calorie intake.

Certain nutrients in fruit, including vitamins A, E, and C are associated with reduced fat gain and less abdominal fat. Antioxidants in fruit called polyphenols are also linked to reduced fat gain.1

Finally, the fiber and antioxidants in fruit have been shown to shift the makeup of microbes in the gut in ways that may protect against obesity.2

While whole fruit consumption in general is beneficial for healthy weight management, certain fruits stand out. Here are 15 fruits that provide key nutrients associated with weight regulation or have been studied directly for their ability to help manage weight or body fat.


Apples are rich in polyphenols, anti-inflammatory antioxidants.34 They’re also high in filling fiber. One medium apple with skin provides over 4 grams (g) of fiber, 14% of the Daily Value.5

Research from Penn State found that when adults ate a cut apple that provided 128 calories 15 minutes before lunch, they consumed about 190 fewer lunch calories. The effect did not hold true for the same number of calories worth of applesauce or apple juice. Scientists say this is likely because solid fruit affects satiety more than pureed fruit or juice.6


While avocado is categorized as a good fat nutritionally speaking, it’s a member of the fruit family. And despite its higher fat and calorie levels compared to other fruits, avocado is a great choice for weight management.

In a 2021 study, 105 adults with overweight or obesity were randomly assigned to receive a daily meal with one whole avocado or a control meal with a similar calorie level and ingredients without avocado for 12 weeks. The goal of the study wasn’t weight loss, but researchers found that female participants in the avocado group (but not men) had a reduction in visceral fat (internal belly fat). The women also experienced a decrease in the ratio of visceral fat to subcutaneous fat, the type just under the skin.

The shift indicated a redistribution of fat away from organs, which is associated with reduced health risks.7

Another study assessed satiety in 26 healthy adults with overweight who consumed a standardized breakfast followed by lunch meals with or without avocado. Researchers found that he addition of half of an avocado (either included in or added to lunches) upped satisfaction ratings by 23-26% and resulted in a 28-40% decreased desire to eat for the next five hours compared to avocado-free meals, which indicates a role for avocado in healthful weight management.8


Blueberries are among the lower calorie fruits at about 85 calories per cup.9 They’re also one of the most antioxidant rich fruits and research shows that eating 150 g of blueberries daily (about one cup) reduces the risk of heart disease by up to 15 percent.10

As for weight management, one study that assessed the intakes of 16 common fruits in over 133,000 men and women found that those with the highest blueberry intakes experienced the least weight gain over a 24-year period.11

Anthocyanin antioxidants found in blueberries also support weight management. Higher anthocyanin intakes have been associated with 3–9% lower fat mass and less midsection fat in healthy female twins. In other words, the twin with the higher blueberry intake had a lower body fat percentage compared to the twin who ate fewer blueberries.12


Cherries provide vitamin C, fiber, and anti-inflammatory antioxidants, but their role in weight management may be connected to their potential to support healthy sleep.

Research has shown that people who regularly sleep less than seven hours per night were more likely to have higher average BMIs (body mass indexes) and develop obesity compared to those who slept more.13

Consuming both sweet and tart cherries has been shown to improve sleep quality and quantity. Effects have been seen within three days of consuming 25 sweet cherries per day, a portion that provides 110 calories and nearly 4 g of fiber.1415


You may think of dates as a decadent fruit, but they shouldn’t be off limits for weight loss. In a 2020 study, 100 men and women with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to eat either no dates or add three dates daily. Over the 16 week study the date eaters did not gain weight and they experienced reductions in total cholesterol and ”bad” LDL cholesterol. In addition, HbA1c levels, a measure of blood sugar control over the previous two to three month period, did not change, and the date group reported improvements in mental health and measures of overall quality of life.16

Because of their natural sweetness, dates make a great substitute for added sugar in smoothies, oatmeal, and sweet treats. A a pitted date stuffed with nut butter and dipped in melted dark chocolate is a nutritious alternative to candy or dessert. Each pitted Medjool date provides 66.5 calories and 18 g of carbohydrate, with 16 g as sugar and most of the remainder as fiber.17


Grapefruits are rich in vitamin C and water and low in calories and sugar. One half of a pink or red grapefruit provides about 52 calories, 8.5 g of sugar, and 2 g of fiber.18

Like apples, eating grapefruit before meals has been linked to weight loss in published research.19 In addition, a five-year data analysis found that regular grapefruit eaters had higher intakes of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and dietary fiber. Among women, grapefruit consumption was also associated with higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol, reduced levels of triglycerides (blood fats) and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation), and lower body weights and waist measurements.20


Kiwis have been described as sweet and tangy with flavors that resemble tropical fruits and berries. One kiwi provides about 50 calories and less than 7 g of sugar. Like cherries, kiwis have been shown to support healthy sleep, including falling asleep faster and sleeping longer.2122

They may also support weight management directly. In a 2020 study, researchers asked 22 young adults with overweight and obesity to consume two golden kiwifruit every day for six weeks. At the end of the study, the kiwi eaters had significant decreases in inflammatory markers, blood pressure, and body fat.23


Vitamin C rich lemon is low in calories and sugar. One whole lemon provides under 20 calories and less than 2 g of sugar with 38% of the Daily Value for vitamin C.24 While the flesh of lemons can be consumed, most people incorporate the juice from lemons into water, tea, salad dressings, and sauces.

One older study from 2010 looked at the impact of lemon juice on weight regulation in 100 women with obesity in India. After two months those who supplemented with lemon juice had statistically significant reductions in weights and BMIs, measurements of mid upper arms, waists, and hips, and waist to hip ratios.25

Just be aware that lemon juice has been shown to erode teeth enamel, so talk to your dentist before introducing it on a regular basis.26


Sweet, juicy mangos may seem indulgent, but they have research-backed weight loss benefits for men and overall nutrition perks. A seven-year data analysis published in 2022 found that in adults, BMI scores, body weights and waist measurements were significantly lower in male mango eaters compared with mango non-consumers. In addition, mango eaters had significantly higher daily intakes of fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamins A, C, and E, and significantly lower intakes of added sugar and cholesterol, compared with non-consumers.27 That said, this was an observational study, so there are some limitation to this study, such as patient’s self reporting how much mango they ate.

One cup of mango provides about 100 calories, and 25 g of carbohydrate, of which nearly 23 g are naturally occurring sugar.28


Oranges are symbolic of vitamin C, a nutrient that supports immune function as well as collagen production, bone, and skin health.2930

Vitamin C has also been shown to enhance fat burning. One older study from 2005 found that people with adequate vitamin C status burned 30% more fat during a moderate bout of exercise compared to those with low blood vitamin C levels.31

Recent research also suggests that people with overweight or obesity may need to consume more vitamin C to achieve adequate status and that poor status is tied to an increased risk of several chronic diseases, including heart disease.32

One orange provides 77 calories and 86.5 mg of vitamin C, which is 96% of the Daily Value for this key nutrient.33


Natural compounds in pears have been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, curb inflammation, and support lung and heart health. They’re also a good choice for weight management.34

One study looked at 40 men and women aged 45-65 years with metabolic syndrome who were randomly assigned to receive either two medium-sized fresh pears or a calorie-matched control drink daily for 12 weeks. Waist measurements and waist to hip ratios were significantly reduced among the pear eaters compared to the control group.35

One pear provides 106 calories and about 30% of the nearly 6 g of fiber in a pear is soluble fiber.3637 Over a five-year period, each 10 g increase in soluble fiber reduced the rate of visceral fat gain by 3.7% among African American and Hispanic Americans study subjects aged 18-81 years.38


Pomegranates are high in fiber. One cup supplies 145 calories and 7 g of fiber or 25% of the Daily Value.39 They’re also rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and protect against cancer, neurodegenerative diseases (like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease), heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.4041

Studies also show that polyphenol have anti-obesity effects.4243 This may be due to their anti-inflammatory properties, promotion of fat breakdown in the body, and positive impact on the makeup of microbes in the gut.44


Raspberries are lower in calories and sugar and higher in fiber than many fruits and they’re rich in polyphenols. One cup of fresh raspberries provides 78 calories and about 18 g of carbohydrates. Nearly 10 of those carbohydrate grams are in the form of fiber and just under seven are from sugar.45

Raspberries have also been shown to help regulate post-meal blood sugar levels in adults who have overweight or obesity with prediabetes and insulin resistance.46 Research suggests that foods that elicit a lower post-meal glucose (blood sugar) response may be useful as part of an overall strategy for combating obesity.47


Like other berries strawberries are among the fruits lower in calories and sugar and higher in fiber and antioxidants. One cup raw provides 52.5 calories and 11 g of carbohydrate with about 3 g as fiber and 8 g as sugar.48

Strawberries have been researched for their ability to fight cancer, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, neurodegeneration, and obesity.49

Berries, including strawberries, have even been proposed as a treatment for obesity-related inflammation, a condition that increases other health risks, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.50


Watermelon is quite sweet, but its water, antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber have been shown to support healthy weight loss. In one study, 33 people with overweight or obesity consumed 2 cups of watermelon or the same number of calories from low-fat cookies daily for four weeks. The watermelon eaters reported feeling more satiated for up to 90 minutes, which meant they felt less hungry, fuller, and had a reduced desire to eat more. The watermelon group also experienced significant reductions in body weight, BMI, waist-to-hip ratios, systolic blood pressure (the top number), and oxidative stress, an imbalance in the body that leads to cell damage.51

Watermelon is also lower in calories than many people expect. One cup provides 46.5 calories and about 12 g of total carbohydrate with about 10 g as sugar and the remainder as fiber.52

Fruits to Avoid for Weight Loss

Research shows that in general, whole fruits support weight management. In children, some research indicates that fruit juice, which is low in fiber and more concentrated in calories, may be linked to weight gain.2

As for adults, a recent research review concluded that until further studies are available, current guidelines on fruit juice from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) should be followed because daily consumption of small amounts of 100% fruit juice may be part of a healthy diet.53

Those guidelines state, ”If 100% fruit juice is provided, up to 4 ounces per day can fit in a healthy dietary pattern. Juices that contain added sugars should be avoided.”54

How to Eat Fruits in a Weight Loss Diet

While fruit is healthy, it should be consumed as part of a balanced diet. According to the DGA, the recommended intake for fruit is two cups daily as part of a 2,000-calorie diet.54

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention only 12.3% of surveyed adults met the recommended daily intake for fruit.55

To up your fruit intake without exceeding your calorie needs incorporate fruit in the following ways:

  • Blend fresh or frozen fruit into a smoothie along with leafy greens, lean protein (like tofu or Greek yogurt), and nuts.
  • Add fruit to veggie dishes, like entree salads, stir fries, and slaws.
  • Snack on fruit combined with protein and healthy fat from nuts, seeds, nut/seed butter or hummus.
  • Choose fruit as an alternative to candy or baked goods.

A Quick Review

Whole fruits are part of a healthful, nutrient rich diet and have been shown in research to support weight management and improve overall health. While some fruits have been studied independently for weight loss outcomes, it’s important to consume a wide variety of fruits in both color and type to broaden overall nutrient and antioxidant intakes.