Cherries not only please the eyes and taste buds, but they also have ample health benefits. Dried cherries are used in cakes, pies, and many other desserts. But are cherries good for weight loss or are cherries fattening? Are cherries good for you when dieting?
Cherries aren’t fattening. But if you consume them in the form of pies and cakes, you can definitely put on few pounds. Weight watchers are advised to include tart cherries in their diet to lose weight. Also, opt for fresh cherries rather than the ones soaked in a sugar syrup.
Let’s first take a look at their nutrient content.
Are Cherries Fattening or Good for Weight Loss?
A cup of pitted, ripe, sweet cherries contains 97 calories. Having a cup of cherries as a snack is a healthy, low-calorie option.
It includes three grams of fiber, which accounts for 12% of the recommended daily intake. Fiber keeps you full for a longer duration and prevents cravings. Since fiber also aids in digestion and improves metabolism, it can help with weight loss or maintain the current weight. A study published in Nutrition Reviews states that a diet rich in fiber helps obese people lose weight.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends decreasing the calorie consumption by 500 to 1000 per day for people wanting to lose weight. It may help lose one to two pounds weekly.
Harvard Health Publication says men should consume 1,500 calories per day, and women 1,200 calories.
According to Dietary Guidelines for Americans, consuming a cup of fruit every day, including cherries, helps in weight loss. You can also have half a cup of dried cherries to lose weight, but make sure they do not contain added sugar.
Cherries for Weight Loss: Study
A 12-week study by the researchers at the University of Michigan found that rats fed with cherries had 54% waist fat, which was nine percent less than those fed with a typical Western diet. Rats in both groups were fed a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.
Fat deposition around the waist leads to an increased risk of heart disease according to the American Heart Association. But tart cherries have high amounts of antioxidants which benefit heart health.
The researchers also mentioned that cherries might affect genetic expression and fat genes. The cherry-fed rats also showed reduced cholesterol levels by 11%.
How to Eat Cherries to Lose Weight
Here are four ways to eat cherries for weight loss.
1. Before meals
Eating a cup of cherries before meals can lower your food intake, which can help you to lose weight. A study published in Appetite says that having an apple before meals decreases hunger.
Bonnie Taub-Dix, the spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says that fruits have fiber and water. Eating fruit will help you satisfy your hunger so that you consume less food throughout the day. Consuming cherries before meals will also reduce your food intake.
2. As a snack
Having cherries when hunger hits you in between meals will provide nutrition. Snacking on cherries is better than having processed, nutrient-deficient, and high-calorie junk food such as chips. Cherries will prevent you from consuming excess calories.
3. As a dessert
Sweet, ripe, and juicy cherries are a good way to replace high-calorie desserts such as cakes, cookies, or pies. Avoid having canned and sweetened cherries as they might increase calorie intake.
You can combine cherries with other fruits and yogurt, and have it as a dessert. This adds flavor, as well as nutrition value.
4. As an ingredient
You can add cherries to low-fat yogurt, granola bars, oatmeal, or salads. Freeze them and use throughout the year as an ingredient to many of your recipes and meals.
How Tart Cherry Juice Benefits Weight Loss
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food examined the effect of tart cherries on rats consuming a high-fat diet. The researchers monitored blood lipid levels, weight, and inflammation compared to the rats whose diet included cherries. They found that tart cherries reduced belly fat in rats, but more research is needed to find the effect of cherries in humans.
Tart cherry juice contains antioxidants known as anthocyanins. Although cherry juice is high in calories, it can be a part of your weight loss plan when consumed in moderation. Since juices lack fiber, you shouldn’t have more than four ounces of juice daily. It is better to have the whole fruit instead.
Cherries are not fattening as long as you eat them in moderation. In fact, they may help you to lose weight. However, a glass of cherry juice or a cup of cherries isn’t a magical formula to lose weight. You should add them to a balanced and nutritious diet along with regular exercises. Remember, you can lose weight only if your calorie intake is less than the calories you burn.
Related: Tart Cherry Juice for Blood Pressure
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