The potential association between fruit intake and body weight – a review


S Alinia, Department of Nutrition, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Mørkhøj Bygade 19, 2860 Søborg, Denmark. E-mail:


Both national and international bodies recommend an increased intake of fruits and vegetables in order to decrease the risk of overweight and obesity. However, there is a rationale to investigate the separate role of fruits. The aim of this paper was to systematically review and analyse published human intervention, prospective observational and cross-sectional studies on fruit intake and body weight in adults. We identified three intervention, eight prospective observational and five cross-sectional studies that explored this relationship. Two of the intervention studies showed that fruit intake reduced body weight, five of the prospective observational studies showed that fruit consumption reduced the risk of developing overweight and obesity, and four of the cross-sectional studies found an inverse association between fruit intake and body weight. Important methodological differences and limitations in the studies make it difficult to compare results. However, the majority of the evidence points towards a possible inverse association between fruit intake and overweight. Future intervention and prospective observational studies examining the direct and independent role of fruit in body-weight management in free-living individuals are needed. Moreover, important determinants such as energy density, energy content, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical form of fruit and preparation methods need to be included in future studies.