If you’ve ever been on a diet to lose weight, you know that the age-old “rule” calls for cutting calories. Or it’s a big long list of “No’s” and “Can’t eat that’s.”
We don’t know about you, but here at Tommy’s we ♥ food, and we’re all about healthy eating without feeling hungry. That means when it comes to calories, we just don’t do it. Instead, we follow one simple rule – just eat more veggies. A big, vegetable-filled plate with no more than a 1/4 of the plate filled with protein or heavier foods.
Eating more vegetables for the win:
Last week, we were excited to see a new study written up in The New York Times that said just what we’d always believed. The study, originally published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who cut back on highly processed foods, sugar, and refined grains and replaced them with more vegetables and whole foods, lost considerable weight over the course of a year without counting calories or limiting portion sizes.
The plant-based eating strategy contributed to weight loss whether the dieters followed low fat or low carbohydrates eating habits, regardless of body type.
This new research means it’s not how much food you eat, but the quality of the food you’re eating if you want to manage your weight and stay healthy.
Behind the Study
The research study, led by Christopher D. Gardner, Director of Nutrition Studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, was a way to compare how people who were overweight would respond to low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets. All the time we hear (and read!) conflicting advice on healthy eating that says everyone needs to eat less carbs or eat less fats. Gardner set out to put these recommendations to the test.
Additionally, Gardner also wanted to test the popular belief that some people are genetically inclined to do better on one diet over the other.
The researchers recruited overweight and obese adults from the San Francisco area and randomly assigned them to either a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet. All participants, regardless of the diet they were following, attended classes lead by dietitians where they learned how to eat and cook minimally processed nutrient-dense whole foods.
What Healthy Eating Looks Like
In the healthy eating classes for study participants, dieticians recommended that, while diet drinks, fruit juices, bagels and white bread are low in fat, participants should replace them with fresh fruit, brown rice, steel-cut oats, lentils, beans, low-fat dairy, and quinoa.
Participants in the low-carb diet group were guided to incorporate nutrient-dense foods (some often considered high in fat) like olive oil, avocados, vegetables, salmon, hard cheeses, nuts, seeds, and nut butters into their meals.
Don’t Count Calories
Participants, regardless of which diet they were following, were not given highly restrictive daily “goals” for limiting their carbohydrate or fat consumption. Rather, they were instructed to focus on eating the whole foods that were a part of their diet group whenever they wanted to avoid feeling hungry – and they could eat as much as they wanted.
Throughout the study, many of the participants indicated they were surprised — and relieved — that they did not have to restrict or keep track of how many calories they were consuming daily.
At the conclusion of the study, the participants who lost the most weight reported that by taking place in the study, they had changed how they view and interact with food in their daily lives.
In addition to following the plant-based choices that were assigned to their diet group, behavioral changes such as reducing or eliminating fast-food or eating dinner in front of the TV were widespread and more participants began cooking meals at home and eating meals with family and friends. That’s what really made a difference!
The bottom line is that food quality is most important for weight control and long-term health and well-being. If you’re interested in joining the growing group of Americans who are committed to eating and living well through a plant-based diet, take part in Tommy’s #ThinkVeggiesFirst challenge!
We want to hear from you – to see your photos of the ways you’re adding veggies to your daily diet and how Tommy’s flash-frozen vegetable mixtures help. Join the challenge today and tag #ThinkVeggiesFirst on healthy meal photos on Instagram.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, regain lost energy, or simply look and feel great, we’re here to help and support you every bite of the way!