By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
We know that we should all be eating more fruits and vegetables and there is a long list of reasons why, from a reduction in weight-related health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, to a reduction in cancer, to improved overall health, mood and energy levels.
When it comes to weight loss and weight control, fruits and vegetables are highly associated with a healthy weight, but are all fruits and vegetables created equal?
Fruits and vegetables differ in their dietary fiber and carbohydrate content while also having different glycemic effects.
One large study indicates that the types of fruits and vegetables that someone consumes plays a strong role in how successful people were in losing weight.
Lower glycemic-load fruits and vegetables have a stronger influence on maintaining healthy blood sugar levels which has an impact on weight and appetite control.
The study analyzed approximately 134,000 people over a 24-year period that showed a very strong link between a high intake of fruits and vegetables with increased weight loss and a healthy weight maintenance, although some fruits and vegetables were not linked to weight loss.
There was an association between consuming a higher intake of starchy vegetables, including corn, peas, and potatoes, with an associated weight gain while consuming lower glycemic fruits and vegetable had a strong weight loss correlation.
There was a reported emphasis on successful weight loss in participants consuming more:
The findings are likely due to the high satiety factor these fruits and vegetables create including the fact they contain lower calories while providing a high level of nutrients.
Interestingly, there were increased weight loss findings for fruit over vegetables. An increase in total fruit intake over a 4 year period was associated with a 1/2-pound (.25 kg) decrease for each extra daily serving, and an increase in total vegetable intake was associated with a 1/4-pound (0.11 kg) decrease for each extra daily serving. This may be because the fruit eaters were snacking less in-between their meals.
In conclusion, this study indicated that an increased consumption of fruits and non-starchy vegetables is inversely associated with a positive weight change.
It’s important to note that lifestyle factors such as exercise, smoking and other habits that could influence weight control were factored into the study, although being such a large study over such a long period of time, not all factors could be controlled that may influence weight control.
The important take home message from this study is the importance of consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables with a special emphasis on high fibre and low glycemic fruits and vegetables in higher amounts for weight loss success.