More Fruits and Veggies = Less Weight? Not Exactly

“Eat more fruits and veggies if you want to get your weight under control” is a standard piece of advice that you will find everywhere. It’s an article of faith with a shaky foundation. A study just published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that simply advising people to eat more fruits and vegetables — without advising them to cut back on other foods — will not cause weight loss in the short term.

For the longer term, there are no data other than studies of correlation that prove nothing about causality.

Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham conducted a rigorous meta-analysis of randomized, controlled studies addressing this question. The lead author, Kathryn Kaiser, described what they found, saying:

Across the board, all studies we reviewed showed a near-zero effect on weight loss. So I don’t think eating more [fruits and vegetables] alone is necessarily an effective approach for weight loss because just adding them on top of whatever foods a person may be eating is not likely to cause weight change.

To be sure, fruits and vegetables have plenty of health benefits. Eating more fruits and vegetables and less processed food is a really good idea.

But merely urging people to eat more fruits and veggies won’t help them lose weight, even though Google will hand out 6 million results on the subject. Many of those results seem credible. That doesn’t make it true.

Don’t eat more. Eat better.

Click here to read more from HealthDay and here to read the study.

Mangoes, photograph © Kristen Taylor / flickr

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3 Responses to “More Fruits and Veggies = Less Weight? Not Exactly”

  1. July 01, 2014 at 9:26 am, David Brown said:

    In light of what is known about excessive omega-6 linoleic acid intake, it makes sense to help people with obesity reduce consumption of this novel addition to the food supply. Excerpt from a Joseph Hibbeln interview:

    Just as all polyunsaturates are not created equal, all high fat diets are not created equal. A good example of this is an animal study we did where we compared three high fat diets. All with 60% of calories from fat, in mice. We compared high fat diets that resembled the linoleic acid, Omega 6 intakes, comparable to the levels at the beginning of the century, which was about 1 percent of calories, and those high fat diets with 8 percent of calories, more similar to the amount of Omega 6 in the diet simply from soy oil in the U-S diet, today. Moving from 1% to 8% linoleic acid in the mouse diets, not only tripled the levels of arachidonic acids, but also tripled the levels of a critical derivative of arachidonic acids, which is an endogenous cannabinoid, which creates a similar affect to marijuana. So it’s the brains own marijuana like molecules, and we were able to triple the body’s marijuana like hormones, three times higher in the liver and about 20% higher in the brains just by altering the linoleic acid in those two high-fat diets. Normally those high fat diets used for mice in studies are composed of high linoleic acid, found in soybean oil. When we deleted that one single molecule, the Omega 6 fatty acid, we were able to obliterate the ability of a 60% high fat diet to induce obesity in the mice.

    • July 01, 2014 at 12:07 pm, Ted said:

      Thanks for giving us something to think about.

  2. July 03, 2014 at 7:25 am, Dr Vivek Mantri said:

    Eating much of fruits and veggies,beyond BMR certainly will put on body weight,instead losing. As it is fructose,it is CHO group,can synthesize triglycerides and non essential amino acids