A diet full of fruit and non starchy vegetables, may help you lose weight on a long term basis, new research suggests.
Researchers say that most U.S. citizens eat little amounts of fruits and vegetables, and when they do consume these foods, they tend to eat too much starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, and drink too much fruit juice instead of consuming the fruit whole.
The researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, conducted a study in which they analysed information from previously conducted studies that followed the lives of approximately 130,000 Americans for more that two decades.
In those studies, every four years the participants were asked to write down all of the foods that they consumed in a week, and were also asked to complete a survey. The participants had to report their weight every two years.
The results showed that the participants who increased their fruit and vegetables intake, lost weight over the course of four years. They lost about half a pound (0.2 kilograms) for each additional portion of fruit, and approximately a quarter of a pound (0.1 kilograms) for each additional portion of vegetables.
Researchers also found that when people replaced five percent of their calorie intake from regular food, with five percent of calorie intake from fruit and from vegetables, they lost approximately a pound (0.1 kilograms).
Fruits – especially apples, pears, and berries – had the biggest impact on weight loss, researchers said. Over the four year period, each fruit portion accounted for 1 lb (0.4 kilograms) of weight loss.
Soy-based products, as well as cauliflower had very good effects. Over the four year period, each additional portion lead to 2 lbs. (0.9 kilograms) of weight loss.
On the other side of the spectrum, starchy vegetables lead to weight gain. The participants who ate corn over the four year period of time, gained about 2 lbs. (0.9 kilograms), for each additional serving. For peas they gained a pound (0.1 kilograms), and for potatoes (boiled, baked, or mashed), they gained 0.75 lbs. (0.3 kilograms).
Fruits and vegetables contain more fibre which extends the feeling of fullness. That leads to people wanting to eat less. Starchy vegetables may cause the blood sugar levels to rise, which increases the feeling of hunger. Researchers say that is why people tend to eat more when they consume these types of starchy vegetables.
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