How to Lose Weight: Avoid Fruit

Do you want to lose weight? Here’s part 6 of a 17-part series of blog posts. You can read all the posted tips on the How to Lose Weight-page.

6. Women: Avoid Eating Fruit

This is a tip that goes for men as well, of course, but eating fruit is a more common obstacle for women trying to lose weight.

This advice is controversial as fruit has an almost magical health aura today. People may believe that fruit is nutritious but unfortunately fruit contains a lot of sugar – around 10% by weight (the rest is mostly water). Just taste an orange or a grape. Sweet, right?

Five servings of fruit per day is equivalent to the amount of sugar in 16 ounces of soda (500 ml). Contrary to what many people believe the sugar is more or less identical (about 50% glucose, 50% fructose).

Sugar from fruit can shut down fat burning. This can increase your hunger and slow your weight loss. For best results avoid fruit – or enjoy it occasionally as a treat.

Bottom line: Fruit is candy from nature.

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44 Comments

Top Comments

  1. FrankG
    I don't read Dr Andreas' post above as some kind of papal decree banning forever the eating of any fruit. I read it more as general advice that: if you are trying to lose weight you may find your attempts are being sabotaged by overlooking the deceptively high sugar content of fruit, which somehow has gained a blessed health-food status.

    By all means you should feel free to figure out what works best for you individually. For me that means occasional wild berries... either eaten straight off the bush while out hiking, or frozen, with a large serving of heavy cream ;-)

    Read more →
  2. FrankG
    @Kindke: with all due respect to your personal experience, I agree with Dr Andreas in giving this as general advice.

    Hyperphagic or not, we need to shake up the myth that fruit and veg. are the "default" health foods. For example I was on a routine dental check this last week and passed with flying colours (as I have done since adopting an LCHF way of eating) but despite my having explained my LCHF approach many times to them, when I spoke of eating local seasonal foods from the farmers market, their assumption was I was talking fresh fruit and veg!

    As for fruit not having as much immediate effect on Blood Glucose as say a potato: that is probably because the starch in a potato is mostly Glucose while the "sugars" in fruit are a mix of Glucose and Fructose. Fructose does not have an immediate effect on Blood Glucose (BG) levels but due to it being processed by the liver and in part being used to replenish Glycogen stores, it can have an overall effect on BG levels in the following days... especially for those of us with impaired Glucose tolerance.

    That is another idea we need to shake up: that what we eat, need only be considered one meal at a time and for the few hours after.

    Read more →

All Comments

  1. Lisa
    If one just can't stay away from fruit altogether go for the varieties that are lowest in sugar. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries...You get it...lol Berries are the lowest in sugar. Even Atkins doesn't forbid fruit altogether but tells you to stick with the low glycemic ones, at least until you get past the weight loss portion.
  2. Kindke
    Andreas I have to disagree with this, strongly. The only fruit that should be avoided in my opinion is banana. While I will easily gorge on chocolate, fruit is completely anti-hyperphagic I find. I get bored quickly eating fruit, and its affects on blood sugar are not nearly as aggressive as potato.

    Fruit juice should be avoided however, those "innocent smoothie's" are very addictive.

    Reply: #6
  3. Agree, Lisa. Berries are the best option as far as fruit goes. But, even with the berries, we have to be careful as it is easy to OD on them. They are not only tasty but they are visually appealing as well. Oh, all those vibrant colours!
    BTW, 1/4 cup of blueberries = 7 grams of carbs. 1/2 cup of strawberries = 7 grams of carbs. And, the sugar is fructose - the sneaky little devil that can give us a fatty liver.
  4. FrankG
    @Kindke: with all due respect to your personal experience, I agree with Dr Andreas in giving this as general advice.

    Hyperphagic or not, we need to shake up the myth that fruit and veg. are the "default" health foods. For example I was on a routine dental check this last week and passed with flying colours (as I have done since adopting an LCHF way of eating) but despite my having explained my LCHF approach many times to them, when I spoke of eating local seasonal foods from the farmers market, their assumption was I was talking fresh fruit and veg!

    As for fruit not having as much immediate effect on Blood Glucose as say a potato: that is probably because the starch in a potato is mostly Glucose while the "sugars" in fruit are a mix of Glucose and Fructose. Fructose does not have an immediate effect on Blood Glucose (BG) levels but due to it being processed by the liver and in part being used to replenish Glycogen stores, it can have an overall effect on BG levels in the following days... especially for those of us with impaired Glucose tolerance.

    That is another idea we need to shake up: that what we eat, need only be considered one meal at a time and for the few hours after.

  5. Trina
    Unfortunately the advice to "eat more fruits and vegetables" is often heard as "eat more fruit". Dr. Davis wrote on a post once that he has seen many patients become diabetic from fruit consumption alone.
  6. paleozeta
    @kindke
    if i start eating one fruit, i cannot stop , same as eating chocolate. i think no one is created equal...
  7. I lost 42% of my bodyweight (highest weight, 300 lbs) eating lower carb (lower, not LOW), but with fruit. I've maintained the loss for more than a year, and I eat tons of fruit still.

    I had maybe 4 servings a day on the active losing phase, though I'd normally eat 7-8 servings when I wasn't trying to lose weight. And this I did even though the dietitian suggested no more than 2 servings a day on my 1200 calorie phase. I like fruit. :)

    I didn't find it made me hungrier (unlike, say, grains, flour products, which I eventually curtailed or, in the case of gluten, ditched altogether). Starches make me very hungry. Fruit satisfied.

    Would I have gotten leaner without the fruit? Maybe. I'm hardly LEAN, but I've seen plenty of folks who ditch fruit in favor of meats/fat who remain obese. It may be a bit more individualistic...what satisfies particular folks..what is livable.

  8. Jaclyn
    I lost 60 pounds eating LCHF, and still continue this life style for it is just that, a life style; not a "diet." Now I weigh 120 pounds.. Being female and 5 foot 1, I'm perfectly healthy. Anyways, I excluded fruit completely from my diet during the duration of rapid weight loss. I was very successful. After I lost all my weight, I still never added any fruit back in.. Then I started noticing I was extremely emotionally troubled... My hormones were so imbalanced that my female cycle was very negatively effected. My cycle started to become 40 days apart.. Which is highly alarming. I researched and researched, the only thing I could come up with is to add a moderate amount of non grain, or starch carbs into my diet. So basically; fruit. I was very worried at first.. I added a very very small amount of fruit back into my diet and it completely fixed my cycle issues! I only added very little though.. For reference, a serving of fruit for me is like a half an apple.. Basically what I'm saying is everyones body is different. Eating low carb is obviously right, but how low carb depends on the person. Know your body! Find out what exactly works for you.
  9. There are people who can lose weight while living on sugar. For me, the hunger is to much. With LC, MP, HF, I do better,but I also need a bit of starch else I crave carbohydrates.
  10. Karen
    ....avocados are an exception....right, Doc??
  11. FrankG
    I don't read Dr Andreas' post above as some kind of papal decree banning forever the eating of any fruit. I read it more as general advice that: if you are trying to lose weight you may find your attempts are being sabotaged by overlooking the deceptively high sugar content of fruit, which somehow has gained a blessed health-food status.

    By all means you should feel free to figure out what works best for you individually. For me that means occasional wild berries... either eaten straight off the bush while out hiking, or frozen, with a large serving of heavy cream ;-)

  12. Margaretrc
    I agree with FrankG. I don't think Dr. Eenfeldt is telling everyone not to eat fruit. He's telling people who are trying to lose weight that they will probably have better success without fruit and that it's not necessary for health.
  13. Cindy H
    I was stalled in weight loss over the summer and when I started changing things up and doing my research, it was the fruit that was a problem. especially bananas. if I start in on bananas, I can eat an entire bunch before I start thinking that aliens must be stealing them (where did they all go?). I have cut out fruit except for a VERY OCCASIONAL serving of berries. maybe once every 2 weeks. weight is falling off me, and I'm still very healthy. oh, yeah, and my blood pressure hit normal and has stayed there. we are all unique and we have to figure out what works for us. if it's not broke, don't fix it. but if you are having troubles, maybe fruit it the problem!!
  14. John2
    I agree with Dr. Andreas. I was stalled for two months while eating 4 - 6 oz of berries per day. I cut out the berries and weight loss started again, about two lbs per week.
  15. JAUS
    Fruit is extremely overrated. Taste good sure, but their nutritional value is really poor. A piece of cucumber is a good replacement for fruit if you want something refreshing during hot summer days.
  16. nostents4me!
    I thought fruits were important for their Vitamin C content.
    Tales of sailors eating limes on month long trips to keep scurvy away flash by..
    Looking closer on the typical mostly tropical(!) fruits we have and comparing them with veggies there are however big fruit problems here: Vitamin C content is higher in a number of vegetables! The average Vitamin C content I could find in fruit were: Orange 53, Lemon 46, Grape Fruit 34, Banana 9, and Apple 6 . (mg Vitamin C/100g fruit) (also Cantaloupe 195!)
    Among vegetables Rep pepper 170, Broccoli 89, Brussel sprouts 85, Cauliflower 44, etc.
    So no problem getting required Vitamin C from (the right) vegetables. But the fruit sugar is not required... There is another important aspect of this, apart from the general idea of avoiding sugar with low carb food: Actually a very good reason to stick to LCHF and possibly ONE key reason for the many reported positive side effects, including cardiac.
    We need Vitamin C to produce elastic tissues, collagen. Not only in the skin but allover in the body, importantly including blood vessels. Glucose and Vitamin C however share same cell receptors in our bodies. Follows that the cell uptake of Vit. C is proportional to how much Vitamin C we have in the blood, and how LITTLE glucose we have, at the same time.
    A high carb meal would not affect instant Vitamin C blood levels but a long postprandial glucose spike while the meal is absorbed could almost halve the Vitamin C uptake due to the abundance of glucose then. The older we get the longer/higher the spike ?

    Blood vessels with too little C gets brittle and can then leak where they are flexed too much, as often in the heart. This causes the body to repair the leaks and it is using a sealer for this commonly known as LDL. Presumably the body also produce more if the leaks and hence demand for it is increased.
    When I realized the implications and the competition between glucose and Vitamin C (GAA - theory) I made a new Fruit & Veggie list: In essence Vitamin C per gram carbs.
    (To be exact: mg of Vitamin C/ 100g divided with (g carbs/100g)

    Follows my new veggie/fruit priority shopping list:
    Sweet Peppers 30, Broccoli 29, Cantaloupe 24 (fruit - something wrong here?),Cabbage 16, Spinach 14,cauliflower 11....
    The lower end then becomes interesting, i.e. what to avoid. Here common fruits are prominent. Apple 0.5, Banana 0.5, Tomato and Grape fruit 3.8, Orange 4.1, Lemon 6
    really none of the real common fruits - (apart from Cantaloupe -same carbs as lemon but 5 times more vitamin C) measured up to the best vegetables. (A lot of air freight though..)
    Kiwi and strawberries and... are missing from the list.

    In summary, the good Dr Eenfeldt is spot on again, apart from the Cantaloupe although safest in quarantine for the time being.

  17. FrankG
    The requirement to eat fruit or veg. to get Vitamin C falls apart when you consider the Inuit, or even ice-age European populations who would have had little to no access to any such thing through many months of the year, if at all.

    The sailors who suffered from scurvy lived for many weeks, or months on a very poor diet of mainly gruel, rock-hard bread (hard tack) and some salt meat. I expect it was more a case of a lack of fresh food that did them in. I suspect (and recall reading this same idea elsewhere*) that our need for Vitamin C is less when we eat fresh food... including fresh meat.

    *http://www.biblelife.org/stefansson1.htm

  18. The best way to loose weight is to eat more on fibrous and pathetic way. All you to do is eat a minimum kinds of fruits a day. Then, just see the best result in the future.
  19. Bravo, Diet Doctor,
    Somebody had to say it. Of course, lots of us can get away with a certain amount of fruit but the principle is very important. It is a good day when I don't hear more than one health agency, politician, RD say "more fruits and vegetables" as if they were nutritionally similar. Per gram, fruits have more calories, more carbohydrates, fewer antioxidants and lower potassium, but mostly, as you say, more sugar. And what kind of sugar
  20. Pinkmonk
    I was always taught that fruit juice was the devil as it had removed fibre. However a whole fruit for example an orange still has the fibre to counteract the sugar and insulin spike that would occur if the fructose was eaten alone? But I agree for the obese, keeping sugars low to counteract insulin resistance even for a limited dedicated period of time, is probably the way to go.
  21. Susanna L
    Funny how no-one recommends eating liver to get vitamin C. Beef liver contains 31 mg/100 g and pork liver 23 mg/100 g.
    Reply: #22
  22. nostents4me!
    Agree. Vitamin C in apples are 6mg/100 g and in Bananas 9 mg/100 g. And no sugars in liver.
    We eat liver once a week when we can get it.
  23. Wade Henderson
    Its really rather amazing when one reads the concepts that people will easily accept, all in the name of dieting.
    Right, throw out fruit. Who needs it, not the Inuits or the Ice-Age Europeans.

    And those all over the world who live healthy lives inclusive of wonderful fruits...
    Well, they don't balance off those who live in the Artic Circle or those who lived thousands of years ago in the Ice Age. Yes, let us find the most obscure populations on Earth to bolster our new theory.

    "Raw caribou liver supplied almost 24 milligrams of Vit-C, seal brain close to 15 milligrams, and raw kelp more than 28 milligrams. Still higher levels were found in whale skin and muktuk. Thick skinned, chewy, and collagen rich, raw muktuk can serve up an impressive 36 milligrams in a 100-gram"

    Hmm, forget the orange, pass me some of that whale skin and muktuk....

  24. FrankG
    Ever the drama-queen Wade.. no-one is saying "throw out fruits" .. except for you and your hyperbole LOL

    Raw liver, brain and muktuk are not the only sources of essential Vitamins... neither are fruits!

    Ice-age Europeans are hardly "obscure"... they were my (and a great many others') ancestors. The point is clearly that if they were able to survive without relying on fruit, then so can I.

    BTW "Inuit" means "The People", it is *already* a plural word and does not need an "S" added to it :-)

  25. Galina L.
    Usually people don't follow recommendations 100%. I guess "avoid eating fruits" will be percieved by many as "go as easy as you can on fruits". I am in Russia at the moment visiting my mom. Doctors here advice left and right to consume excessive amounts of dried fruits like prunes, apricots and raisins to their patients with hypertension because such fruits are a good source of potassium. As a result many try to eat dried fruits on every occasion, use it as a sugar substitute when drinking tea.
  26. 2 comments removed
  27. I hate, hate, hate this advice. The goal should be in being healthy, not in being thin. There are plenty of thin sick people in the world. There are nutrients in fruit we haven't even named yet. And the sugar in fruit is not processed the same way as sugar in a soda. I don't know any fat people who live on fruits and veggies, sorry.
    Replies: #30, #34
  28. True on fruit aka fructose. Especially for those of us who are insulin resistant or are otherwise bedeviled by cravings for sweets.

    http://www.sugaraholics.com
    http://www.highfatlowcarbrecipes.wordpress.com

  29. nostents4me!
    Mark, I think you are missing the point. Daily fruit contains too much sugar for often necessary weight loss and health gain, especially over 50 when stuff like metabolic syndrome potbelly need to go, something I think you agree with.
    There are more Vitamin C in many vegetables than in most common fruits and the sugar impedes Vitamin C absorption which is important to regain cardiovascular health as I had to do, and did (!) with LCHF. I improved my skin 100% and have no angina any more after following a fruitless (not bad!) LCHF for now ~9 months. I think a lot of it has to do with improved collagen both in skin and blood vessels; in part as per what Linus Pauling described, in part due to increased cell-availability of food nutrients including the known Vitamin C, without competition from glucose. I did not take any Vitamin C supplements as I was not aware of its potential importance at the time. Need yet to find out what other nutrients glucose competes with for cell access, surely some but I do not know!
    What are the other nutrients in fruit that we cannot find in Bell peppers, Broccoli, vegetables or in other natural fats and proteins forming part of the LCHF staple?
  30. FrankG
    @Mark... if fruit is such a natural and rich source of nutrition, why do you feel the need to keep providing a link to your site which sells supplements?

    And is "fruit" some all-encompassing term which means: every piece of the "fruit" has the same qualities? Maybe I can get access to these wonderful (and as yet un-named and un-verified) nutrients by occasionally eating wild berries; while avoiding the sugar loads from the big, sweet, man-made hybrids?

    As for being healthy as the goal, I agree but for many for us that includes significant reduction in excess fat mass -- while stopping short (in my case at least) of what could reasonably be described as "thin". That is the focus of this series of posts by Dr Andreas... you might note that the clue is in the title :-)

  31. Alexis
    Luckily, there are a lot of good references backing up this claim..oh wait.
  32. I think this is an excellent post. Sugar comes in many forms, but for people who are carbohydrate intolerant, and exhibit symptoms of metabolic syndrome etc, telling them that fruit is a healthy food choice is nonsensical.

    The most important thing one can do is eat nutrient dense foods that are low in sugar. Fruit is high in sugar, and is certainly not a requirement to get one's macro and micronutrient requirements each day.

    Seasonal low GL berries and fruits are cool, modern fruits have been cultivated to be sweeter.

    Let's not put fruit on some pedestal as an elixir for health.

  33. John2
    @Mark "And the sugar in fruit is not processed the same way as sugar in a soda."

    Really? Magic.

  34. nostents4me!
    Of course fruit is processed in the same way as soda. But it is processed slower and although it is a great addition when we are starving many believe it is posing a great risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease when eaten every day mainly due to very high fructose content.

    On the other hand most vegetables have less carbs and more Vitamin C than the common fruits like apple, orange and banana. Banana is highest with 20% sugar and fructose is about half of that. (Dried figs are higher again with 50% sugar and over half fructose! X-mas soon !)

    I save my liver for the odd brandy as I cannot see me burning the candle in both ends (again!). Combined with low carb eating (<20 g CHO/day) which now has been shown to reduce fatty liver, I may be ok to even enjoy a banana, once in a blue moon... One day I may try!
    See also my earlier comment #16 of best ratio of VitaminC/carbs!
    I do not regard antioxidants important enough to list them too when omega-6 fats are avoided in favor of saturated (1) and monounsatured(2) fats; naturally ordered in degree of resistance to oxidation.

  35. Thanks for sharing valuable information. In order to lose weight, you will have to change some things about your life. Do exercise like cardio, which is more effective for losing weight. Always eat four time meal per day and eat a nutritious diet like green vegetables, fibre, oats. Avoid chocolate, oily and ice cream. You can check this link for more information http://www.howloseweightfast.com/how-can-i-lose-weight.html
  36. I suffered from sick building syndrome (also known as chemical sensitivity or environmental illness). I had been a very "food guide" follower but had many allergies, asthma, and skin issues. I had been running an hour a day and was slim when I started a new job in a school that bombarded me with sewer gas, mold, furnace exhaust and natural gas which is where I got the syndrome. I got food poisoning at a teachers convention and then the syndrome hit me. When I tried to eat the fruits and vegetables from the regular store, I could taste chemicals on them and the skin would peel off my tongue and inside of my cheeks. I HAD to buy and eat organic. I still really do not like to eat regular veggies and fruit although I am now healthy and do not react to them. I am on LCHF now and have lost a large percentage of body fat. I rarely eat fruit.
    My second comment is that in northern Canada, the natural fruit is really only available in the fall, just in time to fatten up for the winter. The only natural fruit that arrives earlier is the wild strawberry and it definitely takes more calories to gather than you will gain from eating them as they are really tiny and hard to pick.
  37. AHW
    I was told years ago to limit fruits to two-three servings per day. Avoiding all fruit seems ridiculous, since they do have lots of nutrients, including potassium. I find I have muscle cramps if I don't stick to my 2-3 servings, which often include apples, berries, peaches/nectarines or melons. Portion control is the key. I avoid juices in general, aside from tomato or veggie juices. I sometimes have a carrot juice when I'm driving long distances.
  38. Lila
    Well, after 3 months on a LCHF I can say I see very little change. I have not lost any weight. I have gained more instead. I never ever had cellulite and now I have tons of it on my butt and hips. I eliminated everything from fruit to all grains and nuts. The only thing I like from this diet is my appetite is under control and hardly any cravings. I can last all day with out food, but I really want to be lean like I used to be living back home (in Mexico) I just can´t figure out what the problem is. If I eliminate dairy there is only vegetables and meat to eat for me, since I have eleminated every thing else. I am so frustrated. I never eat anything from a box, bag or can (nothing processed) No fruit only a piece here and there like dessert. Yeah fat is yummy and filling but why can´t I loose the weight? I ony eat 2 times a day ( I skip breakfast most of the time) so I´m sure I´m not eating tons of calories. I exercise 3 to 4 times a week. Y think I want to go back to the way I was eating before, at least I was leaner and enjoying a lot more variety of foods. Is dairy doing this? The dairy I eat is cheese, cottage cheese, cream for coffee and butter. No milk, no yogurt and no other dairy products. I feel sooooooooo frustrated!!
    Replies: #41, #43
  39. Sophie
    After months of eating no fruit at all, I had a small piece of grapefruit yesterday before dinner as a friend recommended it to speed up weight loss. I was shocked at the sweetness of it.

    I remembered that the fruit we eat today is genetically engineered to be extra sweet! I would be more inclined to eat more fruit if I knew I ate them in their natural state, so I will stay on the no-fruit train, with the exception of 4-5 raspberries at night when I really need a treat.

  40. sten b
    Could it be the fat ? Are you eating omega-6 fats like Becel or "heart friendly" spreads and vegetable oils? Replace with butter and coconout oil. Olive oil can be diluted with cheap omega 6 oil, already before it is exported from Italy etc. Such dirt cheap product makes expensive labels feasible...
    Else reduce the cheese and check ketones if nothing works !
  41. Wait a minute, Sophie. The grapefruit was genetically engineered in the same way that you were genetically engineered...selective breeding, so to speak. The range and taste of grapefruits is what they did right. It may not make up for what they did to tomatoes, but credit where credit is due. Of course, not all worked out right. Friend from graduate school who had been undergrad at UC Riverside where they were working on this used to steal grapefruits at night but complained that he always got those recessive crosses that had skin an inch thick and were all seeds.

    Of course, those of us who are fighting fat can only take short trips on the fruit train.

  42. Zepp
  43. Lila
    To Sten B, no I do not eat any of those false fats, I only eat fatty meats, salmon, tuna, eggs, bacon, butter and heavy cream. That is where I get my fat from. To Sophie I used to eat fruit in moderation and that did not get me fat (back home). Also when you eliminate any form of sugar from your diet for a long period your taste buds become very sensitive to the sweetness of things, so yes fruit can taste very sweet again. To Zepp, I do not have a scale at home and I have not seen one since I got here to Canada, (10 months ago) so I have no idea how much I weigh I only know how I feel and from my clothes. It does not fit :( I´m just guessing I have gained about 8 to 10 pounds I know it doesn´t sound much, but what frustrates me is back in the days I would modify my diet to loose weight and it always worked. Nothing is working now :( I feel so uncomfortable. I have never been over weight or too far away from my ideal weight (only when I got pregnant) and every time I would loose the weight fast. :( it´s been at least 6 months of really trying hard :(
  44. sten b
    Great!. Reduce the proteins which means less meat, salmon, tuna but also cheese!
    I wrote check ketones. But to get an idea of why read up on how Jimmy Moore's weight loss stagnated and disappeared for several years, until he started to monitor ketones. The message from him was just to reduce the proteins as the body makes blood sugar out of it when carbs are cut down. BS -insulin - fat store instead of burn.
    His blogging about this made a lot of sense.
    Here a link to a recent update.
    http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/jimmy-moores-n1-experiments-nutrit...
  45. Dana
    A couple of years ago, a friend of mine who'd struggled with weight her entire life slimmed down and was looking really great. When I asked her what she was doing, one of the things she mentioned was eliminating fruit from her diet. At the time, I thought that was crazy and could not imagine not eating fruit.

    But then the tables turned.

    I've always had issues iwth yeast, so I went on a strict yeast cleanse. Because sugar feeds yeast, I could not consume any kind of sugar, including fruit. I thought it would be a temporary dietary shift, at least until I got rid of the yeast, but now if I eat fruit, I find my cravings (which had disappeared on the clease) come roaring back in full force, and if the fruit is especially high in sugar, it gives me a headache. I ensure I get the missing nutrients from other foods, such as vegetables. I've also lost a lot of weight that I could not get off any other way - and I am a very active person.

    As for the genetic modification aspect, you'd be surprised how much food has been changed lately. If you aren't aware of this and what effects the changes have on your body, be sure to do some reading. You may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

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