Guess What Popular Weight Loss Advice is All Wrong? You Won’t Believe it!

Everybody knows to lose weight you have to eat more fruit and vegetables! This is standard weight loss advice. It has been repeated for decades, if not centuries……

"All I have to do is eat a lot of this stuff and I'll be thin as a supermodel?"

“All I have to do is eat a lot of this stuff and I’ll be thin as a supermodel?”

….and it’s completely wrong and false!

In fact, check this out from an article dated, Thursday, June 26, 2014.

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have found that increasing fruit and vegetable intake does not lead to weight loss, despite decades-old popular belief.

The article goes on to share the results of a study in which investigators studied data from more than 1,200 subjects in seven randomized, controlled trials to explore the weight loss effects of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.

You’re not going to believe this but the people who started eating more fruit and vegetables showed a near zero effect on their weight loss!

Oh no! I've been wrong all this time?  Nope, maybe a reader has misconstrued what I wrote, but I never suggested losing weight was a matter of eating everything you've been eating right along, plus more of the "special weight loss foods!"

Oh no! I’ve been wrong all this time? Nope, maybe a reader has misconstrued what I wrote, but I never suggested losing weight was a matter of eating everything you’ve been eating right along, plus more of the “special weight loss foods!”

Is my face red?

Yesterday I wrote a blog suggesting readers set one goal for themselves and that is to eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables. I guess I better write a reversal on that particular blog and fast.

Wait a minute, not so fast.

I never suggested that eating more of anything is the way to lose weight.

The way to lose weight is to create a calorie deficit. You need to eat fewer calories than your body is burning and that, in turn, will force your body to use “stored fuel” for its energy needs.

Fuel is stored two ways, as glycogen and as body fat. Your body will burn the glycogen first because it’s readily available. Once its stores of glycogen are burned it will start to use body fat for fuel.

That simple fact means that if you are trying to lose weight and you begin eating more food – even if it is healthy, good-for-you stuff like fruits and vegetables, it will not be an effective weight loss strategy.

It has never, and never will be a weight loss strategy to simply add more fruit and vegetables onto your plate.

The strategy is to take some higher-calorie, higher-fat foods off your plate first, and then replace them with fruit and vegetables.

Quite frankly, I am amazed and chagrinned that people are still looking for, and expecting to find, an easy answer to weight loss.

As I write over and over in my blogs, there is no one, or many, or a combination foods that you can stop eating to experience the joy of fat easily and painlessly!

If I ever, ever, ever gave the impression that eating more fruits and vegetables without making any other dietary or physical activity changes would result in easy weight loss, I need to refute that right now!

"FIrst I'll sit here and eat this....."

“FIrst I’ll sit here and eat this…..”

Fruit and vegetables are foods to eat to replace the consumption of lots of fatty, fried, processed with added sugars and fats and salt food choices.

"....and then I'll chase that with this and I'll lose weight, right?"  WRONG!

“….and then I’ll chase that with this and I’ll lose weight, right?”   NO, WRONG!

Reducing the amount of calorie-dense foods and replacing them with low-calorie density foods is a useful weight loss strategy.

When those low-energy density foods also happen to be full of fiber and vitamins and minerals which happen to help protect the body against cell damage, (rather than reduced calorie/ low nutrient processed diet foods that don’t offer any cell protection) there are health benefits in addition to the health benefits realized simply by just losing weight!

I hope I’ve made that crystal clear, but just in case it’s not clear enough, here are the facts of weight loss.

1) You must reduce your calories to the point where your body requires more of them for its energy needs than you are giving it with the food that you eat.

2) You cannot achieve a calorie deficit by eating more food – even if the food you’re eating is good, “healthy food.”

3) For weight loss success and good health, it’s smart to replace some foods that are calorie-dense and nutritionally challenged with foods that are nutrient-dense and naturally low in calories.

4) To aid in the whole calorie deficit process, increasing your physical activity helps you to lose weight without having to go hungry by eating too little.

5) There are no MAGIC FOODS! What you eat or don’t eat is not important to weight loss as long as you maintain a slight calorie deficit.

Fruit and vegetables don’t lead to weight loss, study says! To which I say, “No, duhhhhhhhhhh!”

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.