Are mangoes fattening or good for weight loss?
Mangoes have got to be one of my favourite fruits. They are so sweet and succulent, it can be hard to resist them. I remember when I was a child we used to have an enormous mango tree growing in our backyard and when the fruits were in season, we would cut them open, sprinkle some chili powder and enjoy eating them on the garden swing.
There is no doubt that mangoes are a healthy fruit to eat because they are an excellent source of many nutrients, such as vitamins A and C. They can be eaten on their own, thrown into fruit salads or added to smoothies such as this one.
But what about when you are trying to lose weight – should you be eating them?
A 1 cup serving (165 g) of sliced mango contains:
The number of calories that a food has tells you how much energy it provides your body. Excess calories are stored as fat, which is why overeating leads to weight gain.
All foods have calories, however the amounts differ depending on the type of food. Foods that contain a lot of water, like most fruits and vegetables, are low in calories. This is because water has 0 calories. Nuts and seeds on the other hand, which contain a lot of fat, are generally high in calories. This is because fat contains 9 calories per gram.
You can use our food tool to compare the number of calories found in different foods.
For example, 100 g of pine nuts contain 673 calories, whereas 100 g of lettuce contains only 15 calories! That is a huge difference, which is why the type and quantity of foods that you eat on a weight loss diet are important.
The basic equation for weight management is calories in – calories out. ‘Calories in’ represents calories that you introduce to your body via the food that you eat. ‘Calories out’ represents the calories that your body burns naturally during the day (to keep you alive) and whilst you exercise.
If the result of this equation is a negative number, you will start to lose weight over time. This is because your body will begin to use its stores of fat as a source of energy. On the other hand, if the number is positive, you will start to gain weight over time, because your body will store the excess calories as fat.
Everyone is different and the number of calories that you need to consume will depend on your height, weight, age, gender and how active you are. You can use the tool below to calculate an approximation of the number of calories you should be consuming, depending on your overall goals.
This calculator will never show a number below 1000 calories per day. Please speak to a qualified health professional before attempting to eat less than that.
For example, a 30 year old lady who weighs 80 kg, is 170 cm tall and exercises 4 days a week will need to consume approximately 2400 calories to maintain her current weight, 1900 calories to lose weight and 1450 calories to lose weight fast.
So how do mangoes fit into all of this? Well, compared to other foods, they are fairly low in calories, meaning they can be enjoyed in moderation. For example on a 1900 calorie diet, a regular sized mango would contribute around 10% of total daily calories. As long as you control portion sizes and don’t overindulge, mangoes are perfectly fine (and can actually be beneficial) to include as part of a weight loss diet.
What else makes mango a good weight loss food?
An interesting study carried out by researchers at The University of Queensland found that mango skin, the part that most people throw away, contains compounds that could help with weight loss. Thai mangoes showed the most impressive results.
Ordinary mangoes do however have some other properties that could assist with weight management:
Dietary fiber plays a key part in weight management. Some studies have shown that individuals who increase their fiber intake the most tend to gain less weight than those who increase their fiber intake the least, over the long term.
Other studies have shown that by making a simple change and consuming 30 g or more fiber per day, you can lose weight (so long as you stay in a calorie deficit of course). This is a much easier regimen to follow than more complex weight loss diets.
Mangoes are by no means the best source of fiber, there are lots of other foods that contain much more fiber than they do.
However they do contain 3 g per one cup serving, which helps increase your overall intake.
Many people are chronically dehydrated, without realising it. Dehydration not only makes you feel tired, it can also cause you to overeat because you might mistake thirst for hunger. And as you know, overeating is not a good idea when trying to manage your weight.
The best way to stay hydrated is to drink lots of pure water throughout the day. In fact drinking water has been shown to help with weight loss.
However you can also increase water intake by consuming foods that contain it. One such food is mango, which is made up of more than 80% water.
Vitamin C content
A cup of mango provides you with 76% of your daily vitamin C requirement, making it one of the best sources of vitamin C. This vitamin is important for healthy gums, wound healing and iron absorption.
It might also help you lose weight. This study showed that individuals with adequate vitamin C status oxidize 30% more fat during moderate exercise than those with low vitamin C status.
Having a sweet tooth can have many downsides, especially when you are trying to lose weight. The cravings for something sweet can be uncontrollable, leading you to binge on candy and other sugar filled junk foods.
Fortunately, mangoes are naturally sweet which means they can help satisfy a sweet tooth, for fewer calories than other foods.
For example, 100 g of vanilla ice cream contains 207 calories, 11 g of fat, 44 mg of cholesterol and 21 g of sugar. 100 g of mango contains 60 calories, almost no fat, no cholesterol and 14 g of sugar.
Mangoes can be frozen and then blended up to make a delicious and healthy sorbet, which can be enjoyed as a dessert after a meal.
Can eating mangoes make you fat?
You gain weight and start to store fat if you consume more calories than your body burns. So technically, any food if eaten in abundance can be fattening.
Mangoes are fairly low in calories, so you would have to eat quite a large amount in order for them to cause weight gain.
With that being said, they are high in sugar and when it comes to weight loss, sugar is generally the enemy. This is because it causes insulin spikes and falls, which can leave you hungry and cause you to overeat.
Fruits are rich sources of vital vitamins and minerals, however due to their high sugar content, most nutritionists recommend that you should have at most two servings of fruit per day. Therefore you should try and limit your mango intake to around 1 – 2 cups per day.
Mangoes are a delicious fruit and when eaten in moderation, they may indirectly help you to lose weight. They are by no means a miracle weight loss food and eating them will not cause you to drop a dress size overnight. However they can be included as part of healthy weight loss diet.