Recently there was a study published that was done over 5 years with over 370,000 adults in 10 countries that showed even those who ate an abundance of fruits and vegetables were still open to gaining weight. Calories were counted during the study to track whether the scale was tipped in favor of a higher intake of calories vs expenditure. The study showed that those who ate the most veggies actually gained weight as their caloric intake in general was greater than their metabolic needs ie. The caloric requirements to sustain life like breathing, digesting, moving, thinking and all other processes.
So what does this mean? Now don’t start banning vegetables like so many have with fruits because of something so overly simplified and specialised to certain populations. Eating a lot of produce has undoubtedly improved many peoples health and waist lines for centuries. In fact the vast majority need to eat more of these foods aka swap them with the crap they put in their pieholes in order to make any headway on health or fat loss. It is hard to decipher what precisely was the contributing factor of the weight gain in this study. Did the people involved ONLY eat veggies and fruits thus possibly creating deficiencies and/or health issues? Were they active or sedentary? What was their fat free mass prior to, throughout and after the study? So many things that are missing from this equation but unless you are seeking single digit body fat levels or are at a plateau or pushing pass your set point, the key take away from this study is that when your calorie intake is greater than expenditure, there will be a gain no matter what you ingest, healthy foods or not. Any excess of energy intake not needed by your body will make those fat cells of yours grow.
Health should always be the priority. Some people who are what society may deem as overweight, may be perfectly healthy, free of disease and full of vitality. If eating an excess of produce over their caloric requirements is what causes this extra fat or weight, I would much rather be and have my clients be, on this side of the healthier equation versus the skinny fat girl or ripped guy with the freakishly high metabolic rates who lives off beer and ding dongs. We shall see who has more piss and vinegar in their later years! For those who are overweight and looking to lose, I would say to find out what your basic caloric needs are and track and monitor your food intake as for the greater bit of the population it is as simple as eating more than you need regardless of where it comes from. Most need to just eat real food and they will drop some but in a case of eating real and healthy foods, if you want to lose, push past a plateau or your set point, you have to lose even some of the healthy calories.
Originally written for: www.fitlode.com