Vegetables are one of the best foods to eat for weight loss because of their low calorie density, which means they have fewer calories per pound compared to other foods. POPSUGAR spoke to registered nutritionists Kate Coufal, MS, RDN, and Lonielle Freeman, RDN to ask if it makes a difference whether your vegetables are raw or cooked when trying to lose weight.
Are Raw Or Cooked Vegetables Better For Weight Loss?
Raw vegetables have fewer calories than cooked vegetables because of their higher water content, Coufal explained. When cooked, the water evaporates, making cooked vegetables richer in calories, which means they have more calories per pound. However, the differences are not that great. “At the end of the day, you consume vegetables in whatever form you prefer,” Coufal said.
And although raw vegetables contain more B and C vitamins compared to cooked vegetables, and some of these water-soluble nutrients can be lost during the cooking process, this is not enough to render the food worthless. Overall, the differences between cooked and raw vegetables don’t have much weight in terms of weight loss. The most important thing is to eat your vegetables! So focus on eating the vegetables you like in a way that you will actually eat them.
Which vegetables are best for losing weight?
Non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, leafy greens, peppers, carrots, and cauliflower have fewer calories than starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes, Coufal explained. For weight loss, compared to starchy vegetables, you can consume a larger amount of non-starchy vegetables while maintaining a lower caloric intake. Some non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts are also high in fiber. Coufal said the high fiber content especially helps with feeling full, maintaining blood sugar levels, and preventing overeating.
One thing to watch out for is how your vegetables are cooked. Raw or cooked, if weight loss is your goal, you don’t want to douse your vegetables with high-calorie ingredients like butter, cream, cheese, or oil. To maximize weight loss, use vinegar or lemon juice on your salad, add herbs or spices to flavor steamed vegetables, and fry vegetables on parchment paper or a silicone so you can skip or reduce the oil.
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Dangers of only eating starch-free vegetables for weight loss
You might be thinking, “I’m just going to be eating salads all the time to lose weight faster.” While consuming only starch-free vegetables can lead to rapid weight loss, Coufal warned that it is extremely dangerous. “Restricting calories too much can lead to low energy levels and a lack of adequate nutrients,” she said. It can also lead to extreme deprivation which can later lead to overeating or binge eating, which only leads to weight gain. Balance is key to reaching a calorie deficit and feeling full at the same time.
How Much Vegetables Should I Eat?
The American Heart Association suggests five servings of vegetables a day, Freeman said. If you’re having a hard time getting that many, you can make sure you’re eating your veggies by eating the 50/50 plate, with half of your plate being low-calorie, non-starchy vegetables like lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower, or zucchini is. Or add vegetables to the recipes you’ve already made, e.g. B. Throwing broccoli in your pasta sauce or adding carrots to your oatmeal. This will help lower the calorie density of your meal, which will aid in weight loss and in maintaining weight loss in the long term.
Remember, not all vegetables contain the same amount of vitamins and minerals, Freeman said, so eating a rainbow is important – choose a variety of colors! Whether cooked or raw, vegetables are an important part of our daily food intake.