Diet advice, nutritional information and various gurus all point to adding extra doses of fruit and vegetables to your diet as a low-calorie way of filling up.
But a recent study, published in this month’s PLOS Medicine Journal, suggests that increasing doses of vegetables and fruit in your diet doesn’t necessarily lead to weight loss.
According to the team, it’s the type of vegetables and fruit you eat. Each with their own glycemic levels, it is important to sort the good from the bad and figure out just what you should be including more of in your diet – should you wish to kickstart your health.
High starch vegetables like potatoes and corn were linked to weight gain, with vegetables higher in fibre, with lower glycemic levels such as broccoli and brussels sprouts, associated with weight control or loss.
The study, enacted by researchers at Harvard University, looked at the specific intake of fruit and vegetables according to dietary questionnaires of 133,468 US men and women over a staggering 24 year period.
Taking into account various lifestyle factors, like smokers status, amount of sleep, hours spent sedentary and fitness, the most common choices of fruit and vegetables were orange juice and potatoes.
“There are many fruits and vegetables that may be better choices for the prevention of weight gain, such as apples, pears, berries and non-starchy vegetables,” says the lead author of the study, Dr Monica L Bertoia.
She stresses that all fruit and vegetable intake should be taken into account when addressing weight gain and control. She says that despite them being a healthier option, they still need to be factored into your daily calorie intake.
Lower-glycemic foods cause less severe spikes in blood sugar levels and can act to reduce hunger. Blueberries and avocados are especially low-glycemic fruits that are also high in fibre, with blueberries having the lowest level of carbohydrates as well.
Pears, grapefruits and apples are also lower-glycemic fruits with high fibre content.
For vegetables, cauliflower, sprouts, broccolini, radishes, green leaves and red cabbage can all fit into a healthy lifestyle.