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Ask Tufts Experts April 2016 Issue

Q. Does it matter when I eat fruit? Should I eat fresh fruit before lunch and before dinner or after lunch and after dinner?

A. Diane McKay, PhD, associate professor at Tufts' Friedman School, replies: "It looks like there is a common myth out there about the timing of fruit consumption. And it is false.

"The bottom line is it's more important to focus on how much fruit you eat - whether you consume enough - rather than exactly when you eat it, or whether it is fresh, dried or frozen. Consuming fruits, or any other fiber-containing foods, along with a glass of water, before a meal will help fill you up, and that may result in eating less of your meal - taking in fewer calories at mealtime. Making this a habit can reduce your overall calorie intake over the long run and result in weight loss.

"Of course there is an argument to be made for consuming fruit after a meal, too. It is a great low-calorie, nutrient-dense dessert. If you eat fruit in place of high-sugar, high-fat, high-calorie desserts like ice cream, cookies or candy, that, too, will result in a lower intake of calories over time—and reduced weight - with little effort."

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