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Ask the experts: Leafy greens and weight loss

Q: My friend told me if I’m trying to lose weight, I should not eat much fruit but I can eat lots of vegetables – especially leafy greens, eg. spinach, because they are low in kilojoules? Is she right?

A: HFG nutritionist Claire Turnbull responds:

When it comes to losing weight, there are many considerations, including the total amount of food you eat, the types of food you eat and how active you are. Your age, quality of your sleep and your hormones also can play a part.

Getting enough fruit and vegetables each day is part of eating the right types of food. Aim to have two servings of fruit and three-plus servings of vegetables every day. The plus sign next to the vegetables indicates that you can certainly have more than three servings of vegetables, four, five or six servings are even better — so your friend is certainly right on that one!

Be aware you need more of the low-starch vegetables as these have a higher water content and are lower in energy while still packed with good nutrition. You don’t want to increase the amount of starchy vegetables you have (such as potato, kumara, green banana or taro) as these are higher in energy. In practical terms, this means increasing the amount of green vegetables, salad greens, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, courgettes, eggplant and so on. One serving is roughly what fits in the palm of your hand.

First published: Oct 2013



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