Both Whole30 and Paleo say you can and should eat fruit. Whole30 says to eat as much fruit as you want because it’s healthy for you. So, I agree with them for the most part, however, much of what you learn on a Whole30 is how your body reacts and responds to different foods. My experience has been that fruits high in sugar slowed or halted any weight loss progress I was making and allowed the sugar cravings to linger longer. It is true that natural sugars are better for you than processed sugars. However, it’s still sugar, and eating them with abandon is still a bad idea.
The largest factor I’ve noticed between my results on my Whole30’s and after adopting the Paleo lifestyle and the results of others is that I eat very little in the way of fruits. It’s not because I don’t like them, but because I’m avoiding all the sugar. Like I said earlier, I’ve noticed a very distinct slowing of weight loss progress or even stopping my progress completely whenever I eat foods that have lots of sugar in them. I am not eating anything with added-sugar, processed sugar, or cane sugar, so it’s not that. Bananas will stop my weight loss for days.
Sweet potatoes has a lot of carbs, yet doesn’t stop my progress. Why is this? I don’t know. Part of the problem is that everyone’s body is different, and while I have heard of people who ate beans the entire time they lost a large amount of weight, I could never do that because my body strips every bit of sugar out of the beans and puts it right into my gut.
What’s good for the goose…
I have tried to hammer this point home on my blog since day one: my results are based on my experience with my body, genetic material, and environment. Your results will vary from mine. My wife, who has a different genetic makeup (but surprisingly similar, it turns out), has experienced many of the exact same successes and challenges I have with the same foods. So, for us at least, if it works for her, it’ll likely work for me and vice-versa. On the flip side, what stalls her weight loss typically stalls mine as well.
So, what about you? Can you eat a bunch of fruit and lose weight and have success on a Whole30 or Paleo diet? Possibly, but that’s because there are so many other factors involved. Like I wrote in this post, the amount of food and the type of food are both factors (along with sleep and physical activity) that will affect your progress toward a weight loss goal. If you eat a lot less meat and more fruit, it may work out for you. Remember, in both Whole30 and Paleo, you don’t count carbs, calories, or anything for that matter. You eat good, whole foods that you make yourself from natural ingredients that don’t include grains or dairy. If you get lots of sleep and get some physical activity, you will be healthier. If you eat in proportion to your activities and get solid rest, you will make progress and likely even lose weight.
But I’m kind of obsessive about losing weight right now, so I monitor many areas and watch my data points for trends so I can adjust the inputs to continue to lose weight. Why?
My body at 190 lbs is not the same body I had at 290 lbs. It works more efficiently now, has lower caloric needs, and because there is less damage the body is fighting, even the metabolic processes are working more efficiently. For me to make steady progress, I need to constantly evolve my inputs to ensure I continue to lose weight. This is where a lot of people fail on diets. They figure, “Well, I lost x number of lbs doing y, so if I stop losing weight, more y will make me lose more lbs!” This is flawed logic, but unfortunately, a natural conclusion to come to. If we are driving a car and we press the gas pedal and get to 35 mph but want to go 55 mph, we press on the pedal more. Makes sense to me, too.
Except it doesn’t work that way. That’s not how any of this works. Our bodies are complicated machines that are performing complex chemical reactions every second. These processes make up what we are as living beings: taking in fuel, processing it into energy, using that energy to get more fuel to process into more energy, etc.
Another thing I’ve noticed now that I am at a lower weight is that smaller inputs have a greater impact on my weight. This makes sense to me. When I weight 250 lbs, eating a banana may have only slowed my weight loss. At 190 lbs, it stops it for three days. This tells me if I want to eat bananas and continue to lose weight, I need to maybe have half of one. That is, if I really want bananas, which is rarely true. I love banana bread, and bananas are good and all, but I can’t say I’ve ever been a banana-hoarder. Now strawberries and blueberries are another story. I love those!
The point here is that for Sherry and I, fruit are a part of our diet, but we’ve limited them and eat more in the way of vegetables. On a Paleo diet, you’re supposed to have protein, fats, and carbs. The carbs we eat are supposed to be good carbs from fruits and vegetables. However, fruits are more dense in carbs, and ultimately, too many can throw your balance out of whack. If you’re into Paleo for healthy living and not for weight loss, this will be much less of an issue. I plan on incorporating far more fruits into my diet once I reach my final weight loss goal, but until then, I have to keep them limited to ensure a steady rate of progress.