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Are you eating the one type of vegetable that's linked to weight gain?

by , 25 September 2015

Do you want to eat healthy and keep your waistline trim? Well, then, you should try reaching for more fruits and non-starchy vegetables, new research published in PLOS Medicine suggests.

A team of Harvard scientists looked at data on more than 133,000 American men and women who were followed for 24 years. After adjusting for lifestyle factors like smoking and exercise, the team found that as daily intake of fruits and non-starchy veggies went up, risks for excessive weight gain went down.

They also found that eating starchy veggies - such as corn, peas and potatoes - was linked with weight gain. Keep reading to find out more.

The correlation between starchy vegetables and weight gain

The team says their findings can’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship. They do, however, say that their study might provide further food-specific guidance for the prevention of obesity, which is a primary risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other serious health conditions.

The difference between non-starchy and starchy vegetables

For in case you’re wondering: The difference between non-starchy and starchy veggies has to do with what’s known as “glycaemic load”. Lower glycaemic load foods are thought to produce fewer blood sugar spikes, which can decrease your hunger levels and potentially reduce your calorie intake over the course of a day.


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Vegetables that are classified as lower glycaemic load include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, chard, lettuce, tofu and peppers. High glycaemic load veggies – on the other hand – include starch-laden corn and potatoes. These veggies may be less healthy in terms of weight gain, according to the study.

The bottom line: Avoid starchy vegetables to keep the excess weight off!

The team concluded that eating plenty of fruits and non-starchy vegetables is the best way to keep excess weight off. They added that fibre-rich foods can also help control hunger and keep blood sugar levels stable – two elements that can help facilitate weight loss and healthy weight maintenance.

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