If you’re trying to lose weight or cut body fat, you might be confused about whether you can eat fruit because it is high in sugar.
So, can you eat fruit while cutting? Yes, you can eat fruit while cutting. As long as you manage your overall fruit intake, you can still meet your weight loss goals. The best fruits for cutting are those with high water and fiber content, such as melons and berries. Fruit also provides a range of micronutrients that are good for your complete health.
With that said, different fruits have different calorie counts and sugar content, and that makes some fruits easier to include in a cutting diet than others.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- Whether you can eat fruit while cutting
- Nutritional information about various kinds of fruit
- Considerations for fresh fruit vs. dried fruit and fruit juice
- How to incorporate fruit into your diet while cutting
- The best times to eat fruit while cutting
- The best fruits to eat while cutting
Fruit & Fat Loss: What People Are Saying
There are a lot of confusing messages about fruit and whether you should or shouldn’t eat it:
- “Will fruit sabotage my weight loss? My brain can’t wrap around the fact that eating [a] banana is just as bad as eating a cookie in terms of sugar intake and weight loss.” (REDDIT)
- “Is eating too much fruit bad because of sugar?” (REDDIT)
- “I eat an apple a day and sometimes a pear. Will I lose weight if I eat like that?” (QUORA)
- “Is too much fruit sugar bad for you?” (QUORA)
The good news is that you can eat fruit while cutting, especially if you prioritize certain kinds of fruit over others.
Can I Eat Fruit & Still Lose Weight?
Yes, you can eat fruit and still lose weight. Although fruit does contain calories and sugar, as long as your total energy intake is less than your energy output, you will have a negative energy balance (a deficit) and you will lose weight.
In order to know what kinds and how much fruit to include in your diet, you need information about the nutritional content of different kinds of fruit.
Calories & Macronutrients in Different Types of Fruit
The calories and carbohydrate content in fruit can change quite a bit depending on the type of fruit and the form it is in, i.e. whether it is fresh, frozen, canned, or dried.
Note that fresh and frozen fruit typically have very similar nutritional values. Canned fruit is largely impacted based on whether the fruit is packed in water, fruit juice, or light or heavy syrup (options listed in order from fewest calories to highest).
Dried fruits are the most calorie-dense, meaning they have the most calories per gram because the water content has been removed through the dehydration process.
Here is a handy comparison table for information on the nutritional content of fruit:
|Protein per 100g|
|Watermelon||30 calories||8g (0.4g fiber)||0g||1g|
|Cantaloupe||34 calories||8g (0.9g fiber)||0.2g||0.8g|
|Strawberries||34 calories||7.5g (1.4g fiber)||0g||0.7g|
|Honeydew melon||36 calories||9g (0.8g fiber)||0.1g||0.5g|
|Peaches||39 calories||10g (1.5g fiber)||0.3g||0.9g|
|Raspberries||42 calories||9.7g (5.7g fiber)||0.6g||0.8g|
|Blackberries||43 calories||9.6g (5.3g fiber)||0.5g||1.4g|
|Oranges||49 calories||12.1g (2.2g fiber)||0.1g||0.9g|
|Pineapple||50 calories||13g (1g fiber)||0.1g||0.5g|
|Apples||52 calories||14.3g (3.2g fiber)||0g||0g|
|Blueberries||57 calories||14.5g (2.4g fiber)||0.3g||0.7g|
|Dragon fruit||60 calories||13g (1.8g fiber)||0g||1.3g|
|Mango||60 calories||15g (1.6 g fiber)||0.4g||0.8g|
|Cherries, sweet||63 calories||16g (2g fiber)||0.2g||1.1g|
|Grapes, seedless||66 calories||15.4g (0.7g)||0.1g||0.4g|
|Banana||89 calories||23g (3g fiber)||0.3g||1.1g|
|Dates||278 calories||75g (7.5g fiber)||0g||2.5g|
|Raisins||300 calories||77.5g (5g fiber)||0g||2.5g|
You can see that melons and berries, which have a high water content, are the lowest in calories.
Even tropical fruits such as pineapple and mango provide fewer calories per 100g than other types of carbs, such as starchy vegetables like potatoes.
Fresh banana is the highest-calorie fruit in this table, but it is still lower in calories than other carbohydrate sources such as beans, bread, rice, and pasta.
This means that all fresh fruit can be part of a cutting diet, and the best fruits to eat while cutting are melon and berries for their lower overall calorie content. Berries especially have a higher fiber content that can help with feeling full during a calorie deficit.
However, to provide a similar number of calories to fresh fruit like banana, a serving of dried fruit should be around 30g (around 1oz).
Steer clear of canned fruits packed in heavy syrups, as they contain a lot of calories from added sugar. If canned fruit is the only fruit available, look for options packed in water or fruit juice. You can also rinse the fruit before eating.
- Related Article: 20 Best Fruits For Muscle Gain (Ultimate Guide)
What About Fruit Juice?
Fruit juice is more calorie-dense than fresh fruits and is missing the fiber that makes whole fruits so filling. Fruit juice also has fewer micronutrients than whole fruits. In general, since chewing whole foods makes you feel more full than drinking calories, fruit juice is not recommended during a cut.
However, in the pre- and post-workout window, fruit juice can be a great way to quickly provide energy to fuel up for and recover from an intense training session.
Tart cherry juice especially is a recommended supplement for athletes to assist with recovery and is shown to reduce inflammation.
How Do I Incorporate Fruit in My Diet While Cutting?
Follow these three easy steps to fit fruit into your macros. Skip to step 3 if you already have your macros for cutting.
Step 1: Determine your calories for cutting
Estimate your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) using an online calorie calculator like this one. TDEE is an estimate of how many calories you need to maintain your weight, i.e. where your total calorie intake is expected to match your total calorie output from various activities, including rest.
Input your age, gender, height, current weight, and activity level and press Calculate. The “Maintain weight” result is your current estimated TDEE.
For example, the TDEE for a female who is 27 years old, weighs 145lbs, is 5’6” tall, and exercises daily is 2,185 calories per day.
To get your cutting calories, start with a 10% reduction in calories (e.g. 218 calories in this example, for a total daily intake of 2,000 calories). You can adjust if needed after 2-3 weeks if you’re eating below your TDEE and still not losing weight.
Step 2: Determine your macros
You can now determine your macronutrient split between protein, carbohydrates, and fats to add up to your total calories.
We recommend 1.2-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or up to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day, based on this general guideline. In the case of desired weight loss, this can be based on goal body weight as opposed to current body weight.
Of your total daily calories, protein should provide 25-35%. If the example female above wants to aim for 25%, this would be 500 calories because 2,000 x 25% = 500. Each gram of protein supplies 4 calories, so this is 125g of protein.
Next, carbohydrates can provide 40-55% of calories, with highly active people at the upper end of this range to support their training.
For the active female in our example above, this would be 1,000 calories because 2,000 x 50% = 1,000. Each gram of carbohydrate supplies 4 calories, so this is 250g of carbs.
The remaining 500 calories would be from fat. Fat provides 9 calories per gram, so this is 56g of fat per day.
Step 3: Plan for fruit in your macros
The average number of carbohydrates per 100g serving of fresh fruit in the table above was 12.5g, which would mean a whopping 20 servings of fruit per day (2000g or 2kg of fruit) if fresh fruit was the only carbohydrate source for the day.
Of course, fruit shouldn’t be the only carbohydrate source for the day. It is important to include a variety of carb sources in addition to fruit, including vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to provide a range of micronutrients for optimal health and performance.
You can easily plan to eat at least 3-5 100g servings of fresh fruit per day during a cutting phase. On training days, you could also consider 1-2 servings of dried fruit pre- or post-workout to provide an energy-dense source of fuel.
The tracking app MacroFactor has a large database of foods that have been verified by Registered Dieticians. I recommend using it to track your daily intake to help you to meet your goals. Using this link gets you an extra week on your free trial (2 weeks total). Cancel any time before your trial ends without being charged.
What To Eat With Fruit While Cutting
Most of the calories in fruit come from carbohydrates. For an overall balanced meal or snack, serve fruit with a lean protein source like cottage cheese or Greek yogurt and a healthful fat source such as 1-2 tbsp of nuts or nut butter.
For example, half a cup of low-fat cottage cheese with 100g of sliced apple, 30g of raisins, and 2 tbsp of natural peanut butter would make a great snack with 420 calories, 25g of protein, 51g of carbohydrates (7g of fiber), and 16g of fat.
This is an excellent example of a meal with a 2:1 carb to protein ratio, which is recommended as optimal for bodybuilders.
It is, however, a bit too high in fat (~35% of calories) to be a good choice for pre-workout or post-workout for reasons I’ll discuss below.
When To Eat Fruit While Cutting
As discussed above, since fruit is a low-fat source of carbohydrates, it is a great choice for energy in a pre-workout meal and for replenishment in a post-workout meal.
You’ll need to pair fruit with a lean protein source post-workout to assist with muscle rebuilding (muscle protein synthesis). I personally love blending frozen fruit with my favorite protein powder to make a thick protein smoothie.
Don’t add any sources of fat to your fruit in the pre-training window, and try to keep them low post-workout (<20g).
You can choose fruits with a higher carbohydrate content such as bananas, oranges, peaches, and apples, or dried fruits like raisins or dates for pre- and post-workout snacks.
Learn more about why we don’t recommend eating fat before a workout:
Opt for lower carbohydrate choices such as berries and melons for meals and snacks outside of the pre- and post-training times. These can be included as part of meals with lean protein, complex carbohydrates, vegetables, and healthful sources of fat such as avocados, olive oil, or nuts or seeds such as hemp seeds or chia seeds.
Reasons Not To Eat Fruit While Cutting
There are very, very few reasons why fruit should be off-limits during a cutting phase:
If you have a diagnosed allergy to a certain fruit, do not eat that fruit. Common fruit allergies include apples, peaches, and strawberries. However, it is important to realize that a wide variety of different fruits have caused allergic reactions including apricots, cherries, bananas, melons, and oranges.
I am personally allergic to kiwi fruit, so I am always on the lookout for it in fruit salads or in fruit-based desserts.
The good news is that there is such a large number of fruits, you will likely be able to find sources that still work for you.
Final Stages of a Competitive Bodybuilding Cut
During the final prep weeks leading up to a competitive bodybuilding stage show, your coach may reduce carbs to such a low level that you can no longer realistically include fruit in your daily macros without unreasonably compromising the rest of your intake.
This is extreme and should be a brief, temporary measure that ends after the show. Stage prep is not healthy or sustainable and should not be a long-term way of eating.
Fruits that are higher in carbohydrates, such as bananas, are not suitable for the keto diet. However, low-carb fruits with a high fiber content such as berries (blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries) and small servings of melon (watermelon and cantaloupe) are low enough in carbs to be included in the keto diet.
Note that FeastGood’s team of nutrition coaches and Registered Dieticians does not generally recommend eating approaches/diets that restrict or remove entire categories of food, except in special, medically-necessary circumstances.
To learn more about the eating approach that is best for you and your goals, please schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our coaches.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Avoid Fruit To Lose Belly Fat?
No, you do not need to avoid fruit to lose belly fat. It is the overall calorie intake that matters for fat loss, not the specific food. Regardless of foods you eat or exercises you do, you cannot target belly fat. As part of managing your overall intake, opt for melons and berries for their lower calorie density.
How Much Fruit Can You Eat Per Day & Still Lose Weight?
Keeping your total calorie intake lower than your total calorie output for the day is the key to losing weight. As part of an overall balanced day, I recommend a maximum of 3-5 total servings of fresh and/or dried fruit (500g, or ~8.5oz) along with other sources of carbohydrates, as well as protein and fat.
Are Certain Fruits Better When Cutting?
Melons such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon and berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are better when cutting because their high water and fiber content will keep you feeling full for longer. Feeling full can make a calorie deficit easier to manage.
How Much Fruit To Eat While Cutting
The recommended serving size of fresh fruit is 3.5 oz (100g), and the recommended serving size of dried fruit is ~1oz (30g). Depending on your total carbohydrate macros for the day and your other sources of carbs, a total of 3-5 servings of fruit per day is appropriate for cutting.
Eating Other Foods While Cutting
- Can I Eat Bread While Cutting?
- Can I Eat Chocolate While Cutting?
- Can I Eat Pasta While Cutting?
- Can I Eat Peanut Butter While Cutting?
- Can I Eat Rice While Cutting
- Can I Eat Whole Eggs While Cutting?
About The Author
Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement. Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete. She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.