Fruits and vegetables have to be the most controversial food products in the weight loss industry. Some people live by the rule of at least 10 fruits and vegetables each day because they believe that they help weight loss; while others live by the rule of a maximum of 1 fruit or vegetable each day because they believe that they hinder their ability to lose weight. I started my weight loss journey thinking that fruits and vegetables were amazing for losing weight through nutrition because of the emphasis that was placed on their health value when I was younger (ie. An apple a day keeps the doctor away). I later found out that fruits had a lot of sugar, and vegetables had a little protein, which shifted my mentality to not having any fruits or vegetables because they were nutritionally useless. After much reading and learning, I have come to a final conclusion that is in between both of these mentalities...fruits and vegetables are good, but only in controlled and limited amounts. This article will be divided into 2 parts: fruits and vegetables, with each part outlining the supporting points of my conclusion.
When I first found out that fruits were high in sugar, I asked myself- why would I include these in my diet if I am trying to reduce my sugar intake? I did some more research and found out that fruits contain 2 key factors that make them an amazing asset for nutritional weight loss: high fiber, and a low calorie-weight ratio.
Almost all fruits are jam packed with fiber! When reading the article "White Or Brown Bread: The Eternal Debate" you will understand the importance of fiber because it has chemicals in it that tell your brain that you are feeling full, as well as chemicals that allow your body to slow down the digestion process-longer digestion = longer "full feeling".
All fruits also have a low calorie-weight ratio. For instance, Person A eats 50g of apples, while Person B eats 50g of salmon...which person will feel more full if they are both consuming 50g of food? They will both feel nearly equally full, however, Person A will have consumed about 70 less calories! Now there's the sugar issue- fruits are high in sugar. They are high in fructose (natural sugar); provided that you only consume enough fruits to consume the amount of sugar that will be converted to energy, you will feel just as full consuming less calories, and not convert any of the sugar into fat. Therefore, when limited to 3 or 4 servings per day, fruits are amazing for a nutritional weight loss plan.
When I first heard that vegetables had the lowest calorie-weight ratio and still contained a fair amount of fiber, I began to make meals solely from vegetables. I later realized that the secondary goal of any nutritional weight loss plan is muscle maintenance! After realizing this I soon found out that most vegetables contain nearly no protein; with protein being the key to muscle maintenance, vegetables no longer seemed like an optimal choice for my nutrition plan.
However, when blending all of the facts together, I realized that if I combined low calorie/low protein vegetables with a high calorie/high protein food product I would get a meal that is high in protein, with low calories, a decent amount of fiber, and a great amount of content. This means that I will be eating a rather large meal, while taking in little calories and a lot of protein! I consider this blend to be The Perfect Storm because it is the best of all worlds. Two prime examples of these are a chicken salad, and a tuna salad.
The final conclusion would have to be that, when used effectively in moderation, fruits and vegetables can complete a nutritional weight loss plan, and allow for more efficient weight loss. One cannot compose meals solely of fruits or vegetables and expect to lose weight or maintain muscle; however, when added to a meal or incorporated into an existing meal, they can help you lose weight quicker, and feel more full while doing it.