Making the decision to clean up your diet is easy, but actually incorporating those critical changes into your eating habits can be tough. While increasing your vegetable intake is certainly healthier than eating processed foods, some of your favorite veggies may not be supporting your weight loss goals the way you’d hoped.
Don’t get us wrong — veggies are usually the healthier choice. It’s just that they don’t all have the same health benefits, and some may even be hindering your weight loss efforts. It might be time to take a closer look at your veggie choices and how you’re preparing them.
While in most cases, vegetables are a great addition to a weight loss regime, some vegetables can slow your dieting efforts. Foods with moderate to high glycemic indexes, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro, corn and carrots can increase blood sugar, which can contribute to weight gain. Eggplant seems like a great option, but when fried it can actually absorb more than four times the fat as a fried potato. Salads are great, but not if you drown them in heavy dressings.
Don’t Let These Veggie Mistakes Sabotage Your Weight Loss Efforts.
Consider the Glycemic Index
The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food can impact your blood sugar levels. Some veggies score low, meaning they won’t impact your blood sugar much at all. Others are probably higher than you expected. It’s not that these foods aren’t healthy; it’s just that they can make it more difficult to lose weight, especially if not eaten in moderation. Some of the foods that are high on the glycemic index scale include:
- Boiled potatoes score a 78 out of 100 (with a ± 4 margin of error)
- Boiled sweet potatoes come close at 63 (± 6)
- Boiled taro root is at 53 (± 2)
- Sweet corn is moderately high 52 (± 5)
- Boiled carrot is a moderate 39 (± 4)
Reduce the amount of high glycemic foods you’re eating to better control your blood sugar. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to lose weight.
Vegetables with Hidden Fats
That almost seems like a contradiction, doesn’t it? It’s not so much that the veggies themselves have a lot of fat naturally, but that we tend to prepare some of them in unhealthy ways. Foods like French fries are obviously full of fat, but some of the foods we might think are a little healthier actually aren’t.
The guiltiest among them is the eggplant. While beloved as a high-fiber, antioxidant-rich superfood, eggplant also absorbs more fat than any other vegetable. A study performed in Australia found one serving of eggplant, when deep fried for a mere 70 seconds, absorbed four times the amount of fat as the same serving of potatoes. That adds up to over 700 additional calories per serving. Try baking, roasting, grilling, or steaming your eggplant so you don’t have to use any oil at all. You’ll preserve more nutrients that way anyway.
The Value of Vegetables
No matter how many steps you’ve taken to improve your weight, your overall health should be the number one goal. Even if progress seems slow, remind yourself that by eating right, you’re also reducing your chances of developing health problems like diabetes and heart disease.
Adding fresh veggies to your diet will benefit you in the long run, so don’t beat yourself up if you really crave that deep-fried eggplant every once in a while. Eat a variety of veggies and stay mindful of your overall intake. You’ll definitely see improvement!