We know that fruits and vegetables are the cornerstone to a healthy diet.
Now a new study says that if weight loss is your goal, certain types of
produce are better than others.
“You should always aim to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables
every day,” says
Malini Kethireddy, MD, a family medicine physician at
St. Mary High Desert Medical Group. “But if you are looking for weight loss, this study suggests that
high-fiber, low-glycemic produce should be part of your daily diet. The
high fiber helps satisfy hunger and keeps you feeling full, while low-glycemic
foods don’t wreak havoc with blood sugar—when blood sugar
spikes, it can leave you feeling hungry.”
The study in PLOS Medicine followed more than 133,000 Americans over a
24-year period via food questionnaires and participants’ self-reported
weigh-ins. While the study authors found that an increase in fruit and
vegetable consumption correlated with more weight loss, compared to people
who didn’t eat a lot of produce, there were some fruits and vegetables
that led to more dropped pounds.
“For instance, berries, apples and pears had a bigger effect on weight
loss compared to citrus fruits and melons,” Dr. Kethireddy says.
“When it comes to vegetables, the study showed more weight loss
for green leafy or cruciferous veggies—think spinach, kale, broccoli
and Brussels sprouts—as opposed to starchier veggies such as potatoes
or peas. The study also noted that tofu/soy also had weight loss benefits.”
Dr. Kethireddy says it’s important to note that the findings are
related to whole foods. “One medium apple, with the skin on, has
4.4 grams of fiber. But one cup of apple juice has only .5 grams, which
is a big loss of fiber,” Dr. Kethireddy says. “Don’t
stop eating oranges if you like them—you shouldn’t have to
eliminate produce from your diet, as most Americans don’t get enough
servings—but instead think of ways to add in more. Try a salad with
a mix of dark greens, a homemade veggie soup or even fruit salads for
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