Trying to lose weight? Eat more veggies... or not. An American study suggests not all produce is good for your slimming goals. By Yuen Yi Ying
Sporting a little extra jiggle after the festivities? If weight loss is on your mind, you've probably cut out unhealthy snacks and heavy foods, replacing them with a heap of colourful fruits and veggies instead. While loading up on fresh produce is definitely a step up for your diet, new research published in PLOS Medicine reveals that there are other factors to consider. Basing their study on the theory that having more high fibre, low glycemic foods will result in a trimmer figure, researchers from Massachusetts studied more than 133,000 adults across the United States over 24 years to uncover the facts.
For this experiment, participants had to self-report weight changes every four years, and after accounting for lifestyle factors such as physical activity and/or smoking, the study authors did note a correlation between certain foods and weight gain or loss. Each extra serving of fruit per day generally resulted in a drop of 0.24kg in body weight over four years, while each extra serving of veggies only helped with a reduction of 0.11kg in the same amount of time. While these numbers may seem insignificant, dieters may want to pay attention to the converse. Proving the researchers' theory right, starchy staples such as corn, peas and potatoes caused numbers on the scale to inch upwards. In fact, corn was identified as one of the worst culprits, with regular eaters of the cob gaining almost 1kg after four years!
Berries, apples, pears, tofu, and citrus fruits were identified as being among the best foods for weight loss. Cruciferous and leafy greens like cauliflower, broccoli and brussel sprouts also helped. Researchers believe this is because their high fibre content promotes satiety, while the low glycemic load prevents sugar spikes that induce hunger. Considering that starchy veggies are some of the best sources of phytochemicals, vitamins and essential minerals – needed for good vision, healthy skin and hearty immunity – you definitely do not want to cut them out. However, if you're watching your weight, occasionally swapping out these carbs may be key to shedding those last few stubborn kilos.