There’s no denying the power of eating a healthy diet, but many folks underestimate the role that vegetables play in that diet. While many folks focus on lowering their fat or carbohydrate intake to lose weight, filling up on vegetables can help make those things happen automatically.
A Varied Diet is Key
Now, I’m not advocating to go vegetarian, in fact just the opposite. Studies have shown that a varied diet which includes animal products is not only healthy, but our bodies are designed exactly for such a diet. A diet that doesn’t include animal products is lacking in vital nutrients we need such as Vitamin D3 and Vitamin B12. In addition, it’s practically impossible to find any unbiased research showing that it’s possible to obtain all the nutrients we need for good health while abstaining from animal products.
By a varied diet, we’re talking about a diet that consists of lots of different vegetables, fruits, and animal products including eggs, dairy, & fish. But the main focus of this article is going to be about why vegetables should make up the bulk of a healthy diet.
Vegetables are Low Calorie
Not only are vegetables low calorie, but they’re so low calorie if you only eat vegetables and nothing else, you’d have difficulty obtaining enough calories in the course of a day without adding simple carbohydrates to your diet such as breads & pastas. This is why most people who adopt a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle are able to maintain a healthy weight.
Filling up on low calorie foods is an excellent way to lose weight because you’ll naturally eat fewer high calorie foods such as meats and simple carbohydrates.
Vegetables are High Fiber
The benefits of a high fiber diet are numerous. Fiber helps you control portions because it’s filling. It also helps to ensure the health of your digestive system. You can find high fiber in vegetables such as carrots, beets, & broccoli. Non-vegetable sources of fiber include avocado, apples, pears, and even dark chocolate.
Vegetables are Nutrient-Dense
While it’s true that vegetables do lack in some very specific nutrients, overall they’re a powerhouse of good stuff your body needs. Critical vitamins such as Vitamin C are plentiful in lots of different vegetables.
The most nutrient-dense vegetables include kale and seaweed. Non-vegetable foods that are dense in nutrients include salmon & potatoes.
The Data for Vegetables & Weight Loss
To speak to the power of vegetables for weight loss, the CDC recommends eating lots of veggies (and fruits) to help with your weight management program. Their guidance references many key points such as their low calorie content and stresses that substituting vegetables for other high-calorie items on your plate can be an easy way to lose weight.
These statements aren’t just a matter of opinion. A group of 4 studies published in 2018 showed that increasing vegetable consumption resulted in weight loss. The studies also showed that eating more than 4 servings of vegetables a day reduced the risk of weight gain and that among women, increasing the number of servings of vegetables eaten per day resulted in a lower waist circumference.
Eat Your Veggies!
Eating a healthy serving of vegetables with every meal and as a snack can help anyone lose weight and maintain the loss for the long term. You can increase your vegetable consumption by replacing other items in your diet with veggies. Consider cauliflower in place of potatoes, or switch up a dinner roll for an extra helping of broccoli.
As you make these changes over time, your body will naturally lose weight and keep it off – assuming you don’t go back to your old eating habits once you get to your goal.
Sharif Jameel is a business owner, IT professional, runner, & musician. His professional certifications include CASP, Sec+, Net+, MCSA, & ITIL and others. He's also the guitar player for the Baltimore-based cover band, Liquifaction.