Well, although many of the fruits we eat are less fattening than some foods that are regulars in our meals, not all fruits have the same amount of calories, and we need to take this fact into consideration, especially if we are being careful about our weight.
Most fruits are low in calories
Some fruits are really low in calories. In this group, we find melons, watermelons, papayas, and grapefruits. They contribute less than 40 calories for every 100 grams of fruit. The berries group, oranges, tangerines, pineapples, apricots, and peaches follow with only 50 calories for every 100 grams.
To make our task of comparing fruit with other foods easy, let’s take as an example a slice of bread with a weight of about 25 or 30 grams. This slice of bread will probably have more calories than any of these fruits mentioned above and without having the richness of vitamins found in fruits. In addition, we very seldom eat bread by itself; most of the times we spread it with butter, margarine, peanut butter, or the like, increasing its calories.
Carbohydrates in fruit do count
When we talk about fruits, we have to keep in mind that different fruits have different amounts of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are sugars so, the more carbohydrates a food has, the more calories it contains. Based on this information, we can separate fruits in two groups:
Group A: Fruits in this group contain roughly between 8 and 17 grams of carbohydrate for every 100 grams (3.5 oz.) of fruit. Among the fruits in group A, we find cherries, plums, peaches, cranberries, kiwis, limes, lemon, tangerines, mangoes, apples, melon, oranges, papayas, pears, and watermelons.
Group B: Fruits in this group contain roughly between 60 and 75 grams of carbohydrate for every 100 grams (3.5 oz.) of fruit. Among the fruits in this group, we find bananas, dates, figs, and grapes.
In a separate group we could include avocados and coconuts that although they are low in sugar, 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams of fruit, they have high amounts of fat, more than 35% of its content, which makes them high in calories.
Figuring out calories in food
Since 1 gram of carbohydrate has 4 calories. Based on this information we can say that fruits in group A contribute an average of 32 to 70 calories for every 100 grams. Fruits in group B contribute an average of 240 to 300 calories for every 100 grams of fruit.
Since nutrition experts recommend eating about three portions of fruit a day, you have to think about these numbers when eating fruit. If you only eat fruits from group A, three portions of fruit (3.5 oz. each) will contribute between 100 to 210 calories a day. Three portions of fruit (3.5 oz. each) from group B will contribute between 720 and 900 calories, something to take into consideration.
Some of the nutrients found in fruit
Fresh fruit can be consumed as a main dish or as a snack in between meals. Among the many nutrients contained in fruits are vitamins A and C, especially in citrus. Vitamins B1, B2, and niacin are also found in fruits although in smaller quantities.
As far as minerals are a concern, fruits are high in potassium, between 200 and 300 milligrams (mg) for each 100 grams of fresh fruit and low in sodium, making them the perfect food to fight hypertension.
Fruits are low in protein and fat except for coconuts and avocados which have a high content of fat.
As you have seen in this article, fruits can be considered a low-calorie food. What we have to remember when eating fruits is which ones belong to what group and eat accordingly. By that I mean, eat more fruits from group A and use moderation when eating fruits from group B.