Sugar in Vegetables: Not so Sweet for Weight Loss by Isaac Eliaz, M.D., L.Ac., M.S.

Could your favorite veggies keep you from losing weight? The answer is yes, if you’re eating too many vegetables that are high in sugar. Vegetables can vary greatly when it comes to their nutritional profile, calories and sugar content, so it’s beneficial to pick veggies that are best for your diet plan.

Which veggies are higher in sugar?

Every type of food has a “glycemic index score,” which compares how quickly the food turns into sugar in the bloodstream. While eating vegetables regularly can provide numerous health benefits due to their greater content of vitamins, minerals and thousands of other unique plant chemicals known as phytonutrients, some are higher on the gylcemic index scale than others. For the most part, high glycemic vegetables include those that are high in starch and sugars, such as:

  • potatoes,
  • corn – a grain vegetable and thus high on the glycemic index
  • beets
  • carrots
  • parsnips
  • turnips
  • squash

Why is eating too many sugary vegetables a health concern?

Eating too many high glycemic vegetables over time contributes to a dysregulation of the delicate balance of insulin and glucose within the body. Glucose that is not immediately used is stored and can contribute to weight gain, or worse, lead to insulin resistance which is a symptom of metabolic syndrome and a precursor to diabetes. So it is recommended to choose foods that have a glycemic index score of 55 or below, especially for anyone who wants to lose weight or is monitoring their glucose levels. In addition, the juice of vegetables and fruits, without the roughage or fiber, is a much more concentrated source of sugar, resulting in blood glucose spikes, as well as a higher caloric value.

Best vegetables for weight loss:

These veggies are packed with nutrients, but contain very little sugar and calories. In addition, they are high in fiber which assists in weight management and contributes to healthy metabolism. Many of the vegetables on this list, such as parsley, and cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, contain phytonutrients to support gentle detoxification and cleansing, another important component of weight management and overall health.Lower glycemic index vegetables include greens and cruciferous veggies such as:

  • Parsley
  • Celery
  • Collard greens,
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumber
  • Radishes

The nutrient dense profiles of these vegetables, combined with their high fiber and low sugar/caloric content, make them ideal choices for most people, but especially those who are seeking to lose weight.  The gentle detoxification properties of these vegetables can enhance your weight loss program while also supporting overall vitality. Every vegetable offers nutritional value and a “sugary” vegetable is always a better choice than a sugary desert. In general, consuming a balanced variety of different vegetables will support healthy weight management and also provide you with an abundance of unique nutrients and antioxidants to enhance your overall energy and vitality, naturally. For more valuable health information, visit www.dreliaz.org.

Image courtesy of Juan Gnecco