Eating More Fruits and Veggies Alone Didn't Lead to Weight Loss

Weight loss not associated with only increased consumption of fruits and vegetables

(RxWiki News) It's generally a healthy decision to eat more fruits and vegetables. But for those who are trying to lose weight, simply adding more fruits and veggies to their diet may not help to reach those weight loss goals.

A team of nutrition researchers found no link between eating more fruits and vegetables and weight loss.

According to these researchers, people who are trying to lose weight should do more than increase their fruit and veggie intake; they should also reduce the amount of calories they eat from other kinds of foods.

"Ask a nutritionist for weight loss tips."

David B. Allison, PhD, Associate Dean for Science of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health, was the lead author of this new study.

The researchers set out to see if increasing fruit and vegetable consumption would prevent weight gain and support weight loss.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate food guidelines recommend that adult men and women eat between 1.5 and 2 cups of fruit each day and between 2.5 and 3 cups of veggies each day.

Dr. Allison and colleagues conducted what’s called a meta-analysis, in which they reviewed data collected in previous clinical trials.

These researchers reviewed seven previous studies including about 1,200 participants whose diet and weight changes were monitored.

The researchers found no link between eating more fruits and veggies and losing weight.

“Across the board, all the studies we reviewed showed a near-zero effect on weight loss, " study co-author Kathryn Kaiser, PhD, an instructor at the UAB School of Public Health, said in a prepared statement.

“So I don’t think eating more alone is necessarily an effective approach for weight loss because just adding them on top of whatever foods a person may be eating is not likely to cause weight change," she said.

The study authors found that while the weight loss component wasn’t viable, increasing the amount of fruit and veggies participants ate did not increase weight. The increased consumption added more vitamins and fiber to participants’ diets.

“In the overall context of a healthy diet, energy reduction is the way to help lose weight, so to reduce weight you have to reduce caloric intake," Dr. Kaiser said.

“People make the assumption that higher-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables will displace the less healthy foods, and that’s a mechanism to lose weight; but our findings from the best available evidence show that effect doesn’t seem to be present among people simply instructed to increase fruit and vegetable intake.”

This research was published online on June 25 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Research support was provided by the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center.

The authors did not disclose any conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
June 27, 2014