Some of us load up on fruits and vegetables in an effort to shed unwanted pounds. Others eat them in moderation, believing that they actually encourage weight gain. Now new research suggests that when it comes to weight loss, fruits and veggies do not play a vital role.
“Our results aren’t based on a huge body of literature,” said Dr. Kathryn Kaiser, instructor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. “Of the seven studies we did look at that tested this single intervention, none showed any statistically significant effect on body weight.”
According to Kaiser, eating fruits and vegetables without making any other lifestyle changes appears to be an ineffective weight loss approach. Conversely, the idea that eating additional fruits and vegetables can make people pack on pounds is also unfounded.
“Some people don’t understand that while some fruit and starchy vegetables do contain a large number of calories, our bodies are really pretty good at compensating,” said Kaiser.
According to researchers, the current recommended daily serving of fruit for adults is one and a half to two cups. Experts also encourage eating two to three cups of vegetables daily.
Kaiser and her team examined data from over 1,200 people who had participated in seven randomized controlled studies. Each of these trials measured the effects of increased fruit and vegetables on weight management.
That’s not to say that eating a diet rich in fruits and veggies isn’t good for you. On the contrary, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that these foods can cut heart disease risk, protect against certain cancers, decrease bone loss and reduce the odds of developing kidney stones. They’re also an important source of essential vitamins and nutrients like potassium, dietary fiber, folic acid and more.
They just won’t help you gain or lose weight.
Kaiser says that for those looking to lose some pounds, other important lifestyle modifications need to be made. This includes cutting calories and increasing physical activity. For best results, Kaiser suggests consulting with a doctor or nutritionist to create a feasible plan that individuals can adopt and maintain.
By Marianne Hayes