Not unless you eat 50+ cups every single day for weeks on end.
Nutrition info on Cranberries
1 cup (100 grams) of raw, unsweetened cranberries contain:
Protein: 1/2 gram
Carbs: 12 grams
Sugar: 4 grams
Fiber: 5 grams (20% of your DV)
Fat: 0 grams
***Note this is for fresh cranberries, and not the dried, sugar added cranberries we typically eat.
You can see from the numbers above that a serving of cranberries only has about 50 cal for the entire thing. It has almost no fat and protein, and has a small to moderate amount of carbohydrate. It’s also high in fiber and water like most fruits and vegetables.
WEIGHT GAIN – We gain weight because we consistently eat too much and/or we consistently eat too many sugary or carbohydrate rich foods.
Now let’s see what cranberries have going for them nutrition wise, which would make the weight gain scenarios above unlikely if you were to consume lots of cranberries every day.
Why it’s Hard to Gain Weight Eating Cranberries
1- High in Fiber. A serving of fresh cranberries has about 20% of the amount of fiber that an adult would need in one day. We all know that fiber is important for gut health, but it’s also and important component to take into consideration when trying to craft a diet that won’t cause you to gain weight.
That’s because fiber helps slow the absorption of sugars and carbohydrate into your bloodstream. This is significant because foods that get absorbed quickly, like simple sugars and soda pop for example, release much more insulin. When insulin is elevated too often then we start to gain weight, which is what we don’t want.
So having a good amount of fiber in any food is beneficial when trying to lose weight.
2- Low in Calories. A serving of cranberries contains a little under 50 cal. An adult woman needs approximately 2000 cal per day just to maintain her body weight. So eating the equivalent of a cup of cranberries every day really doesn’t put a dent into her daily quota.
That’s why at the start of this post I said you need to eat 50 or more cups a day in order to gain weight ( and I think even if you ate that much you wouldn’t gain any weight). If we do the math that’s 50 cal x 50 cups = 2500 cal and that’s if you could even stomach that quantity. Fresh cranberries are very acidic and tart and I’d bet money on someone failing a 50 cup eating challenge.
3- Carbs not what they seem. As you can see above, a serving of cranberries contains 12 g of carbohydrate. That’s not a huge amount at all. Both raspberries and blueberries have the same amount of carbohydrate in them per serving and those berries are not considered typical foods that people gain weight on.
I mentioned fiber a few paragraphs ago. Another benefit of fiber is that it’s counted as a carbohydrate and since fiber counts for five of the 12 g of carbohydrate in a serving of fresh cranberries, that means that you’re really only taking in a net of 7 g.
In addition, the type of carbohydrate that’s found in fruit doesn’t have the same impact on your insulin level as the type of carbohydrate found in grains or in simple sugars like sweets and desserts etc. The sugar in most fruit has less of an impact which is why most fruit and vegetables are recommended in large quantities for most diets.
Fruit such as cherries an grapes, along with vegetables like corn and potatoes are the ones that people are told to stay away from us are trying to lose weight.
Eat and Enjoy
So if you’re worried about eating cranberries and gaining weight then the above information should put you at ease. Unless you’re on a very strict or specific diet, or have some medical reasons why you shouldn’t eat cranberries (always check with your doctor first), then enjoying these berries won’t do anything to move the scale.
And if you do decide that you’re going to include this healthy superfood into your diet then you’re most likely going to have to combine it with other foods. Raw cranberries are very sour and most people find them difficult to eat which is why they usually reach for the dried cranberries we see in stores.
The problem with the dried version is that the companies that produce them add lots of sugar to make them more palatable. This does make them more enjoyable for sure, but the added sugar and the consequences of consuming all that, is worse than the health benefits you get from the cranberry itself.
If you’d like some ideas on how to incorporate raw cranberries in a healthy way, click here.
If you’d like to drink the nutrition out of fresh, raw cranberries, there’s a whole post on the subject matter on how to drink pure cranberry juice.
Eat, enjoy and don’t worry about the scale.