The mistake: While "nature's sweets," especially the variety that grows on trees, do have a high percentage of naturally occurring sugar, fresh fruit comes with benefits like essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, which can help you feel fuller longer, says Rebecca Scritchfield, a Washington, DC, registered dietitian and fitness expert. That's why some weight loss plans (like Weight Watchers) consider fruit a "freebie" and encourage people to eat it without guilt. Fruit that has been pulverized into juice, on the other hand, is lacking in filling fiber, and bottled juice often contains added sugar.
Try this: Scritchfield recommends 2 to 3 pieces of whole fruit (1 cup of blueberries, raspberries or sliced strawberries) per day. Another sweet point in fruit's favor: The anthocyanins in a fiber-filled cup of blueberries or strawberries are associated with lower cardiovascular risks and improved cognition.