Objective: We investigated the effect of fruit intake on body weight change.
Methods: Hypercholesterolemic, overweight (body mass index > 25 kg/m2), and non-smoking women, 30 to 50 y of age, were randomized to receive, free of charge, one of three dietary supplements: apples, pears, or oat cookies. Women were instructed to eat one supplement three times a day in a total of six meals a day. Participants (411 women) were recruited at a primary care center of the State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Fifty-one women had fasting blood cholesterol levels greater than 6.2 mM/L (240 mg/dL) and 49 were randomized. Subjects were instructed by a dietitian to eat a diet (55% of energy from carbohydrate, 15% from protein, and 30% from fat) to encourage weight reduction at the rate of 1 kg/mo.
Results: After 12 wk of follow-up, the fruit group lost 1.22 kg (95% confidence interval = 0.44-1.85), whereas the oat group had a non-significant weight loss of 0.88 kg (0.37-2.13). The difference between the two groups was statistically significant (P = 0.004). To explore further the body weight loss associated with fruit intake, we measured the ratio of glucose to insulin. A significantly greater decrease of blood glucose was observed among those who had eaten fruits compared with those who had eaten oat cookies, but the glucose:insulin ratio was not statistically different from baseline to follow-up. Adherence to the diet was high, as indicated by changes in serum triacylglycerols, total cholesterol, and reported fruit intake. Fruit intake in the oat group throughout treatment was minimal.
Conclusions: Intake of fruits may contribute to weight loss.