While it’s true that most Americans don’t get enough fresh produce in their diets, a recent, large study from Europe found that adults who ate the most fruits and vegetables still managed to gain weight as they got older.
Nearly 374,000 individuals in 10 countries participated in the study and over the five-year span gained about a pound a year, on average. Overweight women who reported eating the most vegetables tended to gain more weight over the five years. Men whose intake of fruits and vegetables was highest seemed to lose a bit of weight until the investigators factored in other losses related to daily calorie intake, exercise habits and education levels.
The participants who boosted their fruit and vegetable intake and gained the least amount of weight were former smokers who quit during the study period, but researchers aren’t sure why. The upshot may be that it’s healthy to increase your consumption of fruit and vegetables but important to watch what else you eat – or at least count total calories if you don’t want to gain weight.