You know that fruits and veggies are good for you. And you’ve probably heard that variety is important to a healthy diet too. But do you know why? Well, a growing body of evidence seems to points to a strong association between eating a wide range of different colored fruits and veggies and weight loss!
Interestingly enough, the amount of calories you eat is not the only determinant of your ability to lose weight. The type and quality of those calories count. Those who eat a diet rich in phytonutrients (plant chemicals) seem to be able to maintain a healthy weight more easily, while those eating a typical standard American diet heavy in processed packaged food, soda, fried foods, and sugar, have a much harder time maintaining weight.
Calorie for calorie, the equation does not come out equally. Calories originating from plant foods confer benefit to the body due to their high levels of anti-oxidants, trace minerals and other components that help to heal and support the body’s natural processes. And apparently the greater the variety of color, the greater the benefit! I would call these types of calories “nutrient-dense”. Calories coming from your typical diet of processed food might be termed “nutrient-void”. They simply don’t offer the body any nutritional potential, and therefore are not able to confer any healing benefit to the body. In fact, they detract from the body’s natural store of vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, etc. as the body will use some of its natural store to digest the “nutrient-void” foods.
Want to read more about this fascinating research? Check out this recent review of some of the literature (including two brand new studies) here: Colorful Plant Foods Reduce Obesity Risk.
Want to add more color to your diet? It’s simple. You don’t need to worry about getting X amount of beta-carotene, or Y amount of lycopene or Z amount of glucosinolates. Simply eat a “rainbow plate” of foods. If you look down at your plate at mealtime and see a variety of different colors on it you are on the right track. A client commented to me last week that after working with me for a period of time she no longer feels deprivation around food. The only time she feels deprived, she said, is if she looks at her plate and there are only one or two colors on it. Start to shift you mentality similarly. Take that first step and consciously incorporate a wider variety and color of plant foods into your diet, and your body and waistline will notice the difference.