September 24, 2015

It’s so frustrating hearing the advice trotted out in all dietary recommendations to eat more fruit and vegetables. While it’s true that more fruit and veg is better than junk and processed foods, more is not always better. This type of population-wide, vague dietary advice is simply unsuitable for many people, especially for those trying to lose weight.

While eating a lot of cruciferous and green leafy vegetables will suit most weight loss goals, starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes may well sabotage those goals. The body breaks the starches in these vegetables down to sugar, and this can lead to increases in blood glucose and insulin levels. Fat storage is the likely result.

Compare the vegies on a typical dinner plate:

  • 2 broccoli florets = 0.5g carbohydrate
  • 1 medium-sized baked potato = 37g carbohydrate

The potato serve is definitely bigger than the broccoli serve, but a potato serving the same weight as the broccoli (around 45 – 50g) yields 7g carb – 14 times more carb!

Most fruits contain a lot of sugar. Eating low-carbohydrate fruits such as raspberries and strawberries are usually fine, but many other fruits are simply sugar-bombs with some fibre and vitamins. If you eat just one small piece of fruit, the fibre usually balances the effects of the sugar so there is little problem. The “eat more” message, though, can be a problem.

Compare typical fruit serves:

  • ½ punnet strawberries = 3.5g carbohydrate
  • 1 medium-sized mango = 35g carbohydrate – 10 times more carb than the strawberries.

Given that all this extra carb is broken down into simple sugar in the body, that baked potato or the mango is the equivalent of around 9 teaspoons of sugar.

Without understanding that carbohydrate equals sugar in the body, the guideline to “eat more fruit and vegetables” is so vague as to actually do harm to a person’s weight loss journey.

If you’re having trouble losing weight, give your nearest Healthy Inspirations centre a call. Together you can determine the best eating pattern for your body and your eating preferences.