Secret power of fruit and veg

| Post published on August 30, 2016
minute reading time

Flavonoids are bioactive compounds that naturally occur in fruits and vegetables. Previous research suggested there was a link between the intake of specific fruits and vegetables and maintaining a healthy weight. As a part of an enormous study involving over 120,000 healthy American men and women, their diets and weight were followed for up to 24 years.

The results revealed, perhaps predictably, that the more fruit and vegetables people consumed, the less weight they gained over time. To some extent, the effect can be attributed to the fibre content of these foods – but not entirely. Some types of fruit and vegetables – berries and apples as well as tea – were more strongly related to less weight gain and these are the foods that are richer in specific types of flavonoids. On the other hand, fruit juices did not show such strong benefits – probably because they are often made from concentrates or are pasteurised so much of their nutrient value is lost.

The mechanisms responsible for the positive effects of flavonoids aren’t clear but it seems a higher intake of fruit and vegetables makes the body store less fat.

Bertoia et al., 2016. Dietary flavonoid intake and weight maintenance: three prospective cohorts of 124 086 US men and women followed for up to 24 years. BMJ. 352:i17.

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About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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