Harvard Heart Letter

Which fruits and vegetables are best for weight loss?

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Research we're watching

Eating more fruits and vegetables can help you control your weight, but the type of produce you choose may make a difference, a new study finds.

Researchers tracked nearly 118,000 people in their 30s and 40s, collecting information about their eating habits every four years for 24 years. They found that over a four-year period, people who ate an extra daily serving of fruit shed about a half pound of weight, while those who ate an extra daily serving of vegetables lost a quarter-pound, on average.

But some fruits—especially berries, apples, and pears—were better than others for fostering weight loss. Among vegetables, soybeans, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and leafy greens were the winners. On the other hand, eating starchy vegetables like corn, peas, and potatoes was associated with weight gain. Researchers took into account other factors that could affect weight, such as people's physical activity levels, the amount of sleep they got, and whether they smoked. They published their findings in the September 22 PLOS Medicine.