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The Fallacy Of Healthy Eating Equaling Fat Loss

over 40 fat loss Jun 04, 2022

Are you frustrated with not seeing the scale go down even after changing up your diet and eating healthy foods? If so you’re not alone. Over the years as a personal trainer, I’ve found this idea of eating “healthy” to be misleading for a lot of my clients. There’s often an automatic expectation that if you eat healthy you should start to lose weight. While it’s true that eating healthy foods is a cornerstone for a successful fat loss program in the long-term, we shouldn’t expect the pounds to just start melting off because we’re making better food choices. Fat loss is a more complex matter than simply the quality of calories consumed. Remember, we still need to factor in the quantity of calories as well.

Instead of trying to put foods into one of two categories (good or bad), I’ve found it works better to help educate my clients on how the body burns fat. In other words, we work together to find the best way for them to eat that will produce the right hormonal signals in their body to trigger fat loss.

Let me share an example with you that came from a conversation I had recently with a client.   

My client had informed me that he was regularly eating a piece of fruit three times a day (normally an apple or an orange) in lieu of processed snack foods. He was surprised (to say the least) when I told him that while this is a without question a positive step forward, it wasn’t necessarily an “optimal” approach for fat loss in his situation.

“Not a great idea?” he stammered, “How could that be??! Eating fruit is healthy!”

 When he calmed down, I was able to slowly walk him through the logic. As it is with most things in life, we’re best served when we hold matters up to the light of truth instead of relying on emotions, feelings, or commonly held beliefs.

Is eating fruit healthy? Yes. Truth.

It provides the essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and energy our body has been designed to function on for health and vitality. 

Is eating fruit good for fat loss? Depends.

Huh? Wait a minute! What do you mean it depends?

Yes, it depends. This isn’t happening in a vacuum.

Here are just a few variables which could affect whether eating fruit may be helping or hindering fat loss… 

  1. Was the fruit eaten by itself in in combination with other foods?
  2. Was the fruit eaten with an excess of other carbohydrates if part of or after a meal?
  3. Was the fruit eaten with other sources of protein and / or fat and the only form of starch for that meal or snack?
  4. Was the fruit high or low in sugar content? Think melon compared to a berry.
  5. How much other sugar was / or will be consumed that day?
  6. How many carbohydrates are needed to meet energy demands for that individual?
  7. What was the individual’s insulin sensitivity? Do they have some degree of insulin resistance?
  8. Are they intermittent fasting or are they eating several or just one or two meals per day?

Uggh! You get the idea. Now before you through your hands up thinking how in the world could anyone sort this all out, stick with me.

We want to simplify things as much as possible. That’s always objective number one.

For this individual, was eating fruit three times a day working for him? No, the scale wasn’t moving. So, there’s the first reality we must deal with. This isn’t working, so regardless of how we feel, we need to change something up.

Instead of twisting this into a “fruit is bad for fat loss” argument, which is idiotic in my opinion, we need to come from a place of truth that says “fruit is healthy” but the amount and when and how I eat it will need to be considered when it comes to triggering my body to tap into fat stores. Do you see how we’re operating from a place of truth here? This is important as we don’t want to end up embracing a faulty belief system.

So, what did I suggest for my client to do? Without getting into all the reasons why, which there are several as again there’s a lot of variables to consider here, I advised him to limit the fruit to one per day, eaten after his lunch which is typically a salad with protein that comes after he works out. 

What’s the real culprit here in all of this which has me recommending that he limit himself to one serving per day for his eating routine?


Make no mistake about it; excess blood sugar is the enemy to fat loss.

In the presence of readily available glucose, there’s little need for the body to tap into energy reserves. There’s needs to be a trigger for using stored fat as energy, so we’re looking to condition the body to function without being on a sugar wheel.

And just to make sure I’m clear so there’s no misunderstanding. The way a person is eating will make a difference on how much and how often fruit is eaten. This individual I was coaching was eating three meals per day and two snacks with a balance of healthy fats, protein, and carbs. His recommendation for fruit consumption would be different than say for example someone who has chosen to be a vegan.

Bottom line with this lesson is this….look to hold things up to truth and be willing to let go of any preconceived notions when an eating habit you’re following simply isn’t working. 

If you’re stuck and not sure the best way to troubleshoot, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be more than happy to be at your service. Be blessed.

Shane Doll CPT, CSCS is a fitness professional and expert on exercise and body transformation for middle age and mature adults. He seeks to make a difference in the lives of others by providing instruction and coaching with a servant-based attitude. Since 2004 his Charleston personal training programs have helped over 3,000 Lowcountry residents.


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