The Surprising Factor That Prevents Weight Loss

The problem could be related to which fruits and vegetables you’re consuming.

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Photo by TEK IMAGE/Getty

If you’re trying to shed a few pounds, your fridge is probably stocked with plenty of fruits and vegetables—the recommendation of many health experts. But now we’re learning that there might be a catch: A new study suggests that not all fruits and vegetables have the same nutritional value. In fact, some of these “healthy” foods may even impede weight loss.

Published in the journal PLOS Medicine, the study analyzed self-reported eating habits of 133,468 men and women in the U.S. over a period of 24 years. After adjusting for certain factors, like smoking and exercise, researchers found that while eating more fruits and vegetables can improve overall health, certain varieties—berries, apples, pears, tofu/soy, cruciferous vegetables (like brussels sprouts, kale, and broccoli) and leafy greens—are more beneficial to weight loss. On the other hand, starchy vegetables, like peas, potatoes, and corn, may actually cause people to gain weight.

Before you swear off some of those veggies, study authors explain that, since the data was self-reported and most participants were from a singular demographic (educated white adults), the findings may not apply to everyone. “Overall, however, these findings provide new food-specific guidance for the prevention of obesity, a primary risk factor for many life-shortening health conditions,” the researchers said in a statement.