Is pineapple good for weight loss?
We all know that pineapples are a healthy food, make a great addition to a fruit salad, and their juice makes a delicious beverage. But what else are they good for?
When trying to lose weight, many people will try to eat fruit and vegetables rather than unhealthy snacks. Pineapples are a fruit that may take a little longer to prepare than others, but it might be worth taking the time because they can be a great addition to any weight-loss regime.
Pineapples come in many forms; tinned, dried, fresh, juiced and so on. Each type has a different nutritional profile and so it is important to be aware of this before you start to add them into your diet.
Importance of Nutritional Information of Pineapples
It is important to know about nutritional information not simply because it indicates the amount of calories you are consuming, but you can also keep an eye on other nutrients which are important to monitor.
When losing weight, an awareness of how much fat (particularly saturated fat) and sugar you are consuming is helpful because they can both contribute to weight gain in a variety of ways.
Foods high in fat, as expected, can lead to weight gain because fat which isn’t burned as energy is stored. In order to eat foods high in fat without noticing any effects, you would have to be an extremely active individual.
Not only can fatty foods lead to weight gain, but fat can also gather around the organs (known as visceral fat) and this is the most dangerous type. This can even occur in seemingly healthy individuals; they will appear slim on the outside, but may be ‘fat on the inside’.
Sugar can lead to weight gain because sugary foods raise blood sugar levels. This in turn is reduced by the hormone insulin. This can result in severe spikes and dips in blood sugar levels, which causes the body to produce a hunger response.
Therefore, by eating sugary foods, you may increase your hunger response. Eating foods which are low in sugar do not cause spikes in blood sugar, and so hunger responses are kept to a minimum.
Glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) are good indications of how your body will be affected by sugars in your food. Glycemic index is a representation of how carbohydrates (which are converted to sugar in the body) influence blood sugar levels.
Foods with a high GI cause greater spikes and dips in blood sugar. Theoretically, a food product with a GI of 1 would increase blood sugar levels by 1 gram.
Glycemic load goes one step further, and provides information regarding how portion size can influence blood sugar levels. For instance, a small amount of a food product may not have a significant impact on blood sugar levels, but a large amount might.
In this case, the food would have a low GI but a high GL. Glycemic load is measured between 1 and 100, and it is recommended that GL is kept below 100 per day.
100 grams fresh pineapple contains:
It also contains 46% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA; for an individual consuming 2000 calories per day) of manganese, and contains 80% RDA of Vitamin C. The glycemic load of 100 g pineapple is 3.
The nutritional profile of tinned or canned pineapple varies depending on the liquid the pineapple is immersed in; sometimes it is water, sometimes it is syrup and sometimes it is juice. The nutrition listed below is for pineapple tinned in syrup so it may not be accurate depending on which type of tinned pineapple you choose to eat.
100 grams tinned pineapple contains:
100g tinned pineapple contains 12% RDA of vitamin C, and 54% RDA of manganese. Tinned pineapple is much higher in sugar than fresh pineapple, so it is best kept as a treat. It has a glycemic load of 7.
Consuming dried fruit instead of unhealthy snacks can be a trap many people fall into when trying to lose weight. It seems intuitive that swapping crisps for dried fruit would be healthier, but that may not actually be the case. This is because dried fruit contains many more calories and sugar than fresh fruit, and so can be just as unhealthy as many of the standard snacks we all enjoy.
100g dried pineapple contains:
|Fat||0.61 g (0.046 g saturated fat)|
100g dried pineapple also contains 62% RDA vitamin C.
Drinking juice is a great way to get a lot of nutrition quickly and easily. Many juices, however, contain a significant amount of added sugar, so it is important to look out for that on the label.
100 ml unsweetened pineapple juice contains:
100 ml pineapple juice also contains 73% RDA vitamin C, 25% RDA manganese and has a glycemic load of 4.
Pineapples And Weight Loss – How They Can Help
From looking at the above nutritional information, you can immediately see that pineapple contains no fat, making it a great snack for anybody wishing to lose weight. Depending on the type of pineapple you eat, it also contains relatively little sugar which can help to control hunger pangs.
Alongside these benefits, pineapples also contain a few secrets which can really benefit a weight loss programme. Unless otherwise stated, the benefits below come from fresh pineapple.
Dietary fibre comes in two forms; soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water, and forms a gel which can help to slow down digestion. This is very good news for those attempting to lose weight because slower digestion means it takes longer for the body to process the food you have eaten. Therefore, you feel more full for a significantly longer time than you would otherwise.
Soluble fibre is particularly good for people suffering from diabetes, as it can help to regulate blood sugar levels. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water. Instead, it adds bulk to stool and helps food to pass through the digestive system, which will protect against constipation.
100g pineapple contains 1 gram of fibre, which actually equates to 6% RDA of fibre for an individual consuming 2000 calories per day. An average pineapple weighs around 900g, meaning that even half a pineapple can provide a great boost to your levels of fibre.
Most fibre in the pineapple is insoluble so does not directly aid in weight loss, but all forms of fibre will help to leave the body feeling more full, which is excellent for anybody attempting to lose weight.
One pineapple is approximately 86% water, which can help to increase feelings of fullness for very few calories. Foods which have few calories for their weight are known as having ‘low energy density’. These foods are excellent choices for those trying to lose weight because excessive consumption does not necessary mean that you are consuming an excessive amount of calories (which will be stored as fat).
Therefore, there is no need to starve yourself in order to lose weight. The basic principle of weight loss is that calories in must be less than calories out. Use the calculator below to estimate the number of calories you should be consuming.
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.
Consuming foods with low energy densities means that you can consume a large amount of food for few calories, so you will feel full and burn fat at the same time.
Not only does the high water content of pineapple mean you feel more satisfied after eating, but it can also help you to hydrate. This may not seem to have much to do with weight loss, but research has shown that thirst is often mistaken for hunger.
Vasey (2006) states that eating can soothe thirst, but also that fatigue caused by dehydration can be mistaken with a requirement for more energy in the form of food. On both occasions we require hydration but our bodies interpret this as hunger, and so we reach for food. Consuming pineapple can combat these feelings of dehydration due to its high water content, which may in turn prevent overeating.
Bromelain is an enzyme which is only found in pineapple (some refer it it as ‘pineapple extract’) and is claimed to be effective for reducing inflammation and aiding in digestion. Both of these processes can help with weight loss.
Inflammation is a common cause of weight gain, yet most people are unaware of this. Inflammatory processes are natural bodily reactions to injury, foreign contaminants, damaged cells and so forth, and is a vital part of the body’s immune response. Inflammation can occur in excess however, which can lead to weight gain.
Excessive inflammation can occur due to a wide variety of things, including diet, lack of exercise, chronic stress and environmental pollutants. It leads to weight gain because it reduces the effectiveness of the hormone leptin, which is responsible for weight control. In people who are already overweight, inflammation is more likely to occur, and so a vicious cycle may be present where it is very difficult to lose weight.
The enzyme bromelain can combat inflammation by removing receptors on T-cells (a type of immune system cell) which means that a variety of antigens cannot function effectively, thus reducing the amount of inflammation the body can produce. As a result of a reduction in inflammation, leptin is more able to work effectively to control body weight.
Digestive problems can prevent weight loss because an inability to effectively break down food and absorb nutrients can have a negative impact on one’s metabolism rate (how quickly the body burns food for energy), meaning more food is stored as fat rather than burned as energy. An inability to eliminate waste can also lead to weight gain because toxins can build up in the body which lead to inflammation and fat retention.
Bromelain can combat digestive problems such as bloating, gas, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) both because of it’s anti-inflammatory benefits, and because it can help the body to break food down into digestible molecules. It is recommended that pineapple be consumed in isolation in order to get the full benefit of bromelain for digestion.
Niacin (Vitamin B3)
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3 is an organic compound which helps the body to convert food into energy. This is a basic necessity when looking to lose weight; any food which is not burned for energy or used to repair damaged cells is stored in the body as excess fat. By eating foods with niacin,one can boost the body’s natural ability to burn food as energy. It is also an appetite stimulant, so it is important to get the balance right when seeking out niacin.
According to the Institute of Medicine, women should consume 14 mg of niacin per day, and men should consume 16 mg. Children below the age of 8 should consume no more than 8 mg per day. 100 g pineapple contains 0.5 mg niacin. Recall that a whole pineapple is around 900 g, and so consuming pineapple is a good way to boost niacin levels without leading to excessive consumption.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is a compound which is beneficial for converting carbohydrates and sugars into energy. This is good for weight loss because excess sugar that cannot be burned as energy is stored as fat. By consuming foods which contain thiamine, the body is better equipped for using sugar as energy, which reduces how much excess remains to be stored as fat.
Increasing uptake of thiamine has been found to be particularly beneficial for weight loss in individuals suffering from Type 2 Diabetes (Keogh et al, 2012). 100g pineapple contains 5% RDA of thiamine, so consuming half a pineapple is a good way to boost thiamine levels.
Pineapple Juice For Weight Loss
Pineapple juice, as previously mentioned, is a great way to give your body a nutrient boost in a quick and easy way. Juice has another benefit however, as it can help to reduce water retention.
Alongside excess fat, weight can be caused by water retention. Also known as oedema, water retention is the build-up of fluid in bodily tissues caused by a variety of reasons. These include a change in pressure in the capillaries, congestion in the lymphatic system (which drains tissues of fluid and returns it to the bloodstream), changes in blood pressure, kidney problems, pregnancy and inactivity.
Water retention can lead to excessive weight gain simply because water is not weightless. The greater your water retention, the greater your weight. It can cause problems for people trying to lose weight because they may experience a plateau where weight has stopped reducing. This may not actually be a fat-loss plateau, but water retention could be masking fat-loss.
If an individual is retaining water at the same rate as they are losing fat, it will appear as though their weight is not changing. This happens regularly with individuals undergoing a calorie restricted diet, because the simple act of reducing calorie consumption can encourage water retention to occur.
Fortunately, water retention can be targeted through the consumption of pineapple juice. It may seem counterproductive to combat excessive fluids by consuming more fluids, but dehydration can be one major contributor to water retention. As well as helping to reduce inflammation which leads to bloating, pineapple juice is extremely hydrating, and is one of the most popular home remedies for water retention.
Things To Be Aware Of
It is clear that pineapples are a great product to add to your diet, particularly when looking to lose weight. It is important to remember, however, that there are side effects to any food product.
As fruits go, pineapple is fairly high in sugar, particularly when in a tinned or dried form. Not only can excess sugar lead to weight gain through fat storage and overeating, but it can also cause damage to teeth and gums. Pineapple is also very acidic and can cause problems for people who have stomach ulcers.
The bromelain in pineapples can lead to an uncomfortable or even painful feeling in the mouth after eating. This is because bromelain is an enzyme which digests proteins, including those found in your mouth.
Tinned pineapples often have less bromelain, so they may be a better solution if this becomes a real problem for you. Bromelain is most abundant near the core of the fruit, so avoiding the flesh close to the centre of the pineapple may also help to alleviate the oral sensation.
Unripe pineapples can be quite toxic to humans, so it is important to ensure that you only eat ripe fruit. Once a pineapple is picked it does not ripen any further so keeping it at home for a few days before you eat it will not help.
Nevertheless, you can ensure you only buy ripe pineapples by looking at the colour of the skin (it should mostly be a bright golden colour rather than mostly green).
If the pineapple has no scent it may be underripe. Also, the leaves should be a healthy green colour. Furthermore, if when squeezed the fruit feels extremely firm, it will not be ripe enough to eat.