Though it’s pretty difficult to gain weight eating veggies, new Harvard research suggests it’s possible. To come to this finding, researchers followed more than 130,000 study participants for more than twenty years. During this time period, participants filled out food surveys and self-reported their weight. In general, those who ate the most fruits and vegetables lost weight, with berries, apples, pears, soy-based products and leafy greens among the most slimming—likely because they all boost satiety for very few calories. However, the researchers also found that starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn and peas were linked to weight gain among their subject, likely because of their higher glycemic load, say researchers. Foods with high glycemic loads tend to spike blood sugar levels and fuel hunger.
Eat This! Tip
There’s no need to ditch corn, peas and potatoes altogether. Just make sure they don’t take up the bulk of your plate. Instead of thinking of starchy veggies as, well, vegetables, consider them alternatives to other carbs like bread, rice and pasta. They should take up no more than a quarter of your dinner plate.
For more veggies that aren't belly friendly, see below:
Drenching vegetables in flour and oil makes for a meal in which most of your calories come from flour and oil. No vegetable is healthy enough to stand up to the onslaught.
How Bad Is It? One serving of blanched green beans has 22 calories and 0 grams of fat. One serving of tempura green beans has 230 calories and 11 grams of fat. We know, some places make the tempura so light and flaky, it seems like that thin layer of deliciousness can’t possible add that many calories. But you can’t argue with the math—you’re eating 10 times as many calories.
Oh, those clever food marketers. You can just hear the wheels spinning: If people think one fried vegetable—the potato chip—is bad for them, let’s fry other vegetables and hope they don’t notice they’re the same thing! We’re sorry to break this to you, but veggie chips are just as bad, if not worse, than potato chips. (And in a recent study, potato chips were ranked the worst food for weight gain out of all the foods that exist on the planet!)
How Bad Are They? One serving of Terra Sweet Potato Chips has more calories, fat and saturated fat as a serving of Cape Cod Potato Chips. Though we like other products from their line, don’t assume it’s healthier just because the shade of potato is different. And if you really can’t quit the chips cold turkey, try one of our 10 Best Chip Alternatives for Weight Loss and stock to one serving to minimize damage to your midsection.
The juice craze has probably done more for the diet industry than any other trend in recent history. And not because it helped people lose weight, but because it made people pack on pounds and go out searching for weight loss help.
How Bad Is It? One small cup of Kale Orange Power Juice from Jamba Juice has 190 calories and 33 grams of sugar. That’s as many calories as a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut. And the doughnut has 23 fewer grams of sugar, too.
Smoothies are like juices on steroids. While they do contain more good-for-you fiber, they usually come with even higher calorie and sugar counts. Bottom line: Drinking your vegetables is the least tasty way to get a sugar high.
How Bad Are They? A small Amazing Greens Smoothie at Jamba Juice is 420 calories and a whopping 54 grams of sugar. That’s as many calories as three cans of Coke and as much sugar as four giant Pixie Stix. Nobody wins here.
Whether it’s artichoke or spinach, these dips sound so much better than “green-speckled sour cream dip,” but that’s really what they are. Nothing sets your night of healthy eating off course like a big bowl of one of these party favorites.
How Bad Are They? Two tablespoons of Marzetti Dill Veggie Dip gives you 110 calories, almost all of them from fat. And while there are plenty of vegetables pictured on the label, you’ll have to supply those yourself. You could eat two tablespoons of Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil straight from the jar and still get less fat and calories than you would from this “veggie” snack.