Does eating fruit actually make you gain weight?

“I stopped eating fruit. I heard it isn’t good for me and will make me fat.”

Five facts about fruit and your weight

I imagine this weird think tank where crazy ideas are thought up and packaged in a way that will cause a frenzy, invite clicks, and maybe set the stage for the sale of a new book, diet or product. Maybe the bot-like people in this think tank profit by redirecting sales with fake news or maybe they are hired to create clickbait that will produce a profit. These bot-like theorists know exactly how to run with the teeniest factoid or half-truth and turn it into something big that seems real.

It must exist. It has to. Otherwise, where would these half-baked ideas come from? When I hear questions like “Is cheese as addictive as crack?” or “Should I take a poop pill (a pill filled with the feces of a thin person) to lose weight?”, I imagine these bot people in their fake news think tank cackling with glee over another person sold to their scam. When I recently heard the following comment from a client, I knew the think tank minions were behind it:

“I stopped eating fruit. I heard it isn’t good for me and will make me fat.”

Here are five important facts about fruit and weight that you will want to know before jumping on the fruitless bandwagon:

1. Where this idea came from

This fabricated fact has actually been floating around for years, mostly a result of the low-carb frenzy. Carbohydrates are continuously the bad guy in the diet world. At any given time, there is at least one in vogue diet embracing the idea that carbs are bad and using that as the platform for their program. Fruit contains carbohydrates, therefore fruit is bad. So the story goes. But is there more to it? Why is this idea persisting overtime, with periodic renewed fervor?

2. What does affect weight

The factors that can change weight are not food-specific. Sure, quantity matters and our food choices affect quantity, but there is no food item that can – on its own – produce weight gain. The idea that one food can make you fat is a magical idea. Weight is impacted most by a combination of our genetics and how much energy we consume compared to how much energy we use.

Genes affect weight this way: if someone weighs less than their body genetically wants them to weigh, their body will fight to restore some weight – by lowering the metabolism and encouraging weight gain that way. The energy (calories) we eat and use is called “energy balance”. When we are in a negative energy balance (eating less than we are burning), body weight will lower. When we are in positive energy balance (eating more than we are burning), body weight will go up.

Certain conditions can impact how on-point this energy in versus energy out formula is for someone, but for the majority of the population, it’s that simple. Conditions that can impact weight separate from the energy in/out include: insulin disorders, thyroid disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

3. What does not affect weight

Again, there is not a specific food that can make your butt bigger OR blast away your tummy fat. The only way that fruit could be the culprit for weight gain is if someone struggles with overeating or emotional eating and turns to fruit as the food that is over-consumed (but even in this scenario how would one conclude that it was the fruit that took someone over their calorie needs for that day?). I’ve met some fruit lovers in my life, but I’ve never met someone who binges on fruit.