Are strawberries fattening or good for weight loss?
It is almost summer time, also known as strawberry season. Strawberries are so succulent and delicious, I enjoy eating them on their own, adding them to smoothies like this one or using them to make a tasty fruit salad.
They are a very nutrient dense fruit and bring with them a lot of health benefits. With that being said, can they be eaten when you are trying to lose weight, or will doing so make you fat?
1 cup of whole strawberries (144 g) contains:
One thing that you will quickly notice is that strawberries are very low in calories. All foods have calories, but in varying amounts. Foods such as nuts and seeds, which contain a lot of fat, tend to be high in calories. Fruits and vegetables on the other hand are low in calories because they contain a lot of water, which has 0 calories.
Calories are important when you are watching your weight. The simple equation for weight management is calories in – calories out. If this number is negative, you end up losing weight and if it is positive, you end up gaining weight. You ingest calories via food and your body uses them as a source of energy throughout the day. You can increase the number of calories you burn by exercising intensely and building muscle mass.
The number of calories used up varies from person to person, depending on their age, gender, current weight, height and how active they are. You can use the calculator below to estimate the number of calories you should be eating.
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 40 year old lady who weighs 85 kg, is 165 cm tall and exercises twice a week will need to consume approximately 2100 calories to maintain her current weight, 1700 calories to lose weight and 1250 calories to lose weight fast.
If she were to eat a cup of strawberries everyday, on a 1250 calorie diet, they would only contribute to around 4% of total calories. This makes it a great reason to add strawberries to your diet when trying to lose weight.
How else can strawberries help with weight loss?
When trying to lose weight, it is important to eat sufficient amounts of fiber. Many foods are high in fiber including nuts, seeds, beans, fruits and vegetables.
This study looked at what effect fiber had on weight loss. 240 adults who were overweight and had high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol took part. They were split into two groups and asked to follow one of two diets.
The first group followed the American Heart Association’s (AHA) diet for preventing hear disease, which involved them eating more fruits, vegetables, fish and lean protein, whilst cutting back on sugar, salt, fat and alcohol. The second group was asked to simply increase their fiber intake to 30 g or more per day.
The study found that both groups ended up losing weight and even though the AHA group lost more weight, making a simple change and increasing fiber intake did lead to weight loss.
Even though they are not the best source, eating a cup of strawberries will help you increase your overall fiber intake.
Consuming enough water is also important when trying to lose weight. A lot of people are dehydrated without knowing it and this can lead to symptoms such as feeling tired. Dehydration can also lead you to believe that you are hungry, when in fact you are thirsty. This causes you to overeat, which in turn results in weight gain.
Fruits and vegetables contain a lot of water. Strawberries for example are made up of more than 90% water. Even though it is very important that you drink lots of pure water throughout the day, eating water rich foods can help prevent dehydration.
An added bonus of strawberries is that if you do not like the taste of plain water, you can use them to flavour it.
Vitamin C content
Strawberries contain more vitamin C than oranges, when compared weight for weight. A one cup serving provides you with 141% of your daily requirement.
It is well known that vitamin C helps heal wounds, prevents scurvy and also reduces your risk of certain types of cancer. But what you may not have known is that it could also help you lose weight.
In particular, this study found that individuals with adequate vitamin C status oxidize 30% more fat during exercise than those with low vitamin C status.
Some other vitamin C rich foods include guavas, kale, kiwifruit and broccoli.
I have a sweet tooth and know how temptation can lead to overindulgence. This can prove to be costly when trying to lose weight. The great news is that the natural sugars found in strawberries can help satisfy a sweet tooth.
A half cup serving of strawberry ice cream contains around 110 calories, 5 g of fat, 15 mg of cholesterol and 14 g of sugar. The same amount of strawberries contain around 24 calories, no fat, no cholesterol and 4 g of sugar. You can see the who clear winner here is.
You can make a delicious and healthy strawberry dessert from the comfort of your own home. Simply freeze half a cup of strawberries, half a banana and blend them with some no fat yogurt. Top with a little bit of honey and almonds and enjoy after a meal.
Can eating strawberries make you fat?
If you eat anything in abundance, it can make you fat. However, strawberries are so low in calories that you would need to eat an unimaginable amount in order for them to be fattening. 20 cups of strawberries contain almost 1000 calories, but it is difficult to imagine that anyone would eat more than even a quarter of this amount.
With that being said, keep in mind that strawberries do contain a fair amount of sugar. It is recommended that you have 2 servings of fruit per day, so you should aim to eat no more than one or two cups of strawberries per day.
Strawberries are a delicious fruit and eating them in moderation can help you lose weight. When buying them, try go for organic if possible as these will contain the least amount of pesticides and be the most nutrient rich.
Strawberries tend to spoil quickly so if you want them to last for longer, freeze them and use in smoothies and homemade desserts.