This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
Fruits are often seen as healthy but removing water changes the nutrition. Find out whether prunes are good for weight loss or fattening.
Prunes are relatively high in calories, contain a good amount of fiber, and contain nice amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Eating this dried fruit will likely feel a bit fuller but at the same time, this effect will not be that big compared to the extra energy you eat.
In turn, it is fair to say that there are worse foods too but that prunes will generally not be helpful for losing weight. Unless you use them as a replacement for foods that are even less good for weight loss.
At the same time, it is worth mentioning that a few prunes here and there will typically not be the end of your weight loss journey.
If you really like their taste, you could consider implementing them from time to time.
How are prunes made?
Prunes are simply dried plums, so they are categorized as a dried fruit.
The process to make prunes is very simple. You take some plums and expose them to enough heat so that the water in the plums evaporates. This can be done both with heat from the sun or in devices like an oven.
By removing water from the plums you get higher nutritional values per 100 grams. This includes vitamins, minerals, fiber but also calories.
Calories in prunes
The number of calories in foods like prunes is not the only detail you want to know when you are trying to lose weight but it can offer helpful information.
100 grams of prunes contain around 240 calories per 100 grams (1).
Prunes contain a relatively high number of calories per 100 grams compared to many whole foods. Especially compared to regular whole fruits and vegetables.
Something else to note is that 230 of these calories come from carbohydrates (63.9 g per 100 grams of which 7.1 g fiber).
This makes prunes not good for keto and other low-carb weight-loss diets.
That being said, as mentioned, the total number of calories is not the only thing that matters. Different sources play different roles in losing weight.
Micronutrients in prunes
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in prunes.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of prunes provides you with approximately (1):
- Vitamin K: 74% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Potassium: 21% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 16% of the DV
- Manganese: 15% of the DV
- Copper: 14% of the DV
- Magnesium: 10% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 10% of the DV
- Niacin 9% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 7% of the DV
- Iron: 5% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts. Besides vitamin K and potassium, the individual amounts of vitamins and minerals are mostly not that extreme compared to many other whole foods. That being said, there are many different vitamins and minerals present in prunes in great amounts.
Prunes also contain certain kinds of antioxidants, substances that help your body deal with oxidative damage. It’s not entirely clear if and to what extent antioxidants help weight loss.
One of the main reasons people think prunes and other prune related products are good for weight loss is because they can act as a laxative (2, 3). This effect is mainly because of a substance called sorbitol which has laxative effects (4).
The problem with this theory is that laxatives do help constipation but don’t seem to influence fat loss (5). You might empty your intestines which makes the number on the scale go down.
But when you’re trying to lose weight that number is often not what you actually want. You most likely want the related health and/or visual effects and the laxative effect of prunes likely won’t be able to help you with those effects.
Fiber in prunes for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Prunes contains around 7.1 grams of fiber per 100 grams (1).
That’s a great amount of fiber per 100 grams compared to many whole foods. It is worth noting that there are also other foods with similar or even higher fiber contents.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in prunes you can reduce the time you spend craving for food.
Do prunes help you lose weight?
So prunes are relatively high in calories but they do contain a good amount of fiber and nice amounts of vitamins and minerals.
On the one hand, this dried fruit will help you feel fuller to some extent. On the other hand, this does come with a lot of not-so-filling calories too.
The result of this is that prunes will likely not help you feel full enough to compensate enough for the extra energy in your diet. In turn, prunes will likely not help you lose weight.
That being said, there are also food options that are less helpful for weight loss. If you replace these with prunes, you will likely see some weight loss results.
So what the effects of eating more prunes will be in your situation depends on a few things. In any case, there are many foods that are more helpful for losing weight.
How many prunes should you eat a day?
Nutrition is always a bit of a puzzle in terms of what the perfect diet looks like. It’s a pretty individual thing.
If you are purely looking at weight loss you can calculate your daily calorie requirements and see how many prunes fit into that amount.
If you are looking at health, you are likely able to get all the valuable nutrients in prunes from other food sources that don’t have such a large amount of sugar. In that case, the recommended amount of prunes a day would be zero.
Do prunes help burn belly fat?
Targetting fat loss in a specific area like your belly is generally not possible. Not by eating more of a specific food or by doing a specific exercise. To lose belly fat you have to lose weight overall.
Since there are plenty of foods better than prunes for weight loss you might want to choose other foods to lose belly fat.
Prunes vs certain foods for weight loss
You now know how good prunes are for weight loss but how do they compare to certain other foods? Find out how good prunes are for weight loss vs plums, prune juice, raisins, and dried figs.
Prunes vs plums
The first comparison is prunes vs its undried version, plums. Plums are a lot lower in calories than prunes, 46 calories per 100 grams vs the 240 calories per 100 grams of prunes (6).
By drying you basically remove most of the water content of a food. This makes it so all the nutrients are present in larger amounts per 100 grams.
Plums contain around 1.4 grams of fiber per 100 grams. A lot lower than the 7.1 grams of fiber per 100 grams in prunes. The same goes when it comes to the quantity of vitamins and minerals. Prunes have a lot more.
Consuming water is usually beneficial for weight loss. It helps you burn more calories and feel fuller. If you want to lose weight, plums are most likely better for weight loss than prunes.
Prunes vs prune juice
Prune juice does contain a lot less fiber. Prunes contain around 7.1 grams of fiber per 100 grams, prune juice 1 gram. Lastly, prunes contain a lot more vitamins and minerals.
The main problem with prune juice for weight loss is that it is a liquid. Only a single glass of prune juice is already 200 grams. Just imagine the difference in fulness between 100 grams of potato vs half a glass of water.
Calorie rich drinks like fruit juices are almost never a good idea if you’re looking to lose weight. By juicing you remove the fiber from food which is arguably the most useful nutrient for weight loss.
In general, it’s a lot easier to overconsume calories with drinks than with whole foods. This also applies to prunes vs prune juice.
Prunes vs raisins
Next the comparison between prunes and raisins. Raisins are basically dried grapes, so a different kind of dried fruit.
Prunes are lower in calories, 240 calories per 100 grams (8).
Prunes contain 7.1 grams of fiber so slightly higher than raisins. Prunes also contain slightly more vitamins and minerals than raisins.
All in all, prunes are most likely better for weight loss than raisins.
Prunes vs dried figs
Dried figs are another popular kind of dried fruit. Dried figs are about the same in calories, 249 calories per 100 grams (9).
There is a notable difference in the amount of fiber present. Dried figs have about 9.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams vs the 7.1 grams of prunes. In terms of the amount of vitamins and minerals, prunes have slightly more.
The difference in fiber again makes a difference when it comes to losing weight. This makes dried figs better than prunes for weight loss.
Chart of prunes vs other foods
There are some interesting differences in nutritional content that will most likely matter when it comes to weight loss.
The amount of vitamins and minerals in the foods does matter for weight loss and health but you can’t simplify that in one number. You can check out the numbers for prunes (1), plums (6), prune juice (7), raisins (8), and dried figs (9) to compare.
|Values Per 100g||Prunes||Plums||Prune Juice||Raisins||Dried Figs|
|Calories||240 calories||46 calories||71 calories||296 calories||249 calories|
|Fiber||7.1 g||1.4 g||1.0 g||6.8 g||9.8 g|