Grandma was right, you need to eat your fruits and vegetables. When it comes to weight loss, though, starchy vegetables and stone fruits may not be the most effective allies for dropping pounds. Leafy and cruciferous veggies are the weight loss winners while berries and citrus fruits top the list in the fruit category.
A study published Tuesday in PLoS Medicine indicated that while eating vegetables and fruits helps fight weight gain, starchy vegetables such as peas, corn and potatoes aren't quite as effective. This particular study spanned 24 years, included 118,000 participants, ranging in age from 25-65. The study broke down produce consumption into specific categories such as fiber and natural sugar content.
Participants who ate cauliflower, summer squash, string beans, peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts and leafy green vegetables were the least likely to gain weight. Interestingly those who ate soy and tofu fell into that category, too.
Those who at potatoes, corn or peas, and to a lesser extent cabbage, onions and winter squash, had a more common occurrence of weight gain.
As for fruit consumption, those who ate blueberries, prunes, apples, pears, strawberries and grapefruit were the least likely to gain much weight while those who ate avocados and melon gained less. Interestingly, those who increased their consumption of stone fruit (peaches, plums, apricots) were the only fruit-eaters to gain a modest amount of weight.
WTH Does This All Mean?
When you eat the rainbow, a variety of fruits and vegetables, you will boost your overall health. If weight loss is a goal, there's a good chance that will happen if you eat the right type of produce that's well-prepared, meaning not fried or loaded with sugar and fat. Don't let this study dissuade you from eating summer's greatest gifts: corn, peaches and peas. This is another take-it-with-a-grain-of-salt study.
It should be noted that vegetables like peas are more calorically dense than cruciferous or leafy vegetables. A cup of peas has about 120 calories while a cup of broccoli has about 55. (I use Livestrong.com for calorie counting). You can eat the same amount of broccoli (assuming it's steamed or raw) while consuming fewer calories than you would if you were to eat the same amount of peas. This principle applies to the majority of the produce that can cause weight gain: potatoes, corn, etc.
At the end of day, eat as much produce as you like. No one gets fat eating peas, corn and apricots. The key for those of you trying to lose weight is to consume starchier vegetables perhaps a bit more moderately to help you reach your weight loss goals.
Read the full study HERE.
RELATED: Can too much fruit lead to weight gain?
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