It might be time to up your produce intake: A new study in PLOS Medicine finds certain fruits and veggies can help lower a person's weight. The US dietary guidelines note people should eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to help "achieve and maintain a healthy weight," but lead author Dr. Monica Bertoia wanted to discover how the foods relate to weight and which ones are best for your waistline. Researchers started by recording the diets of 133,468 people in their 30s and 40s, then asked participants, who self-reported their weight, to complete a food frequency questionnaire every four years from 1986 to 2010, reports Medical News Today. With adjustments for lifestyle variables and other aspects of their diets, researchers found people who ate an extra serving of fruit a day gained 0.53 pounds less than others, while those who consumed an extra serving of vegetables gained 0.25 pounds less.
Those who ate high-fiber, low-glycemic vegetables gained less weight than those consumed other veggies, but cauliflower was best—excluding "tofu/soy" which had a 2.47-pound lower weight gain—with a 1.4-pound lower gain. Fruit-eaters who munched on citrus fruits, grapes, and prunes fared well, but berries, apples, and pears led to the least gains with 1.11 to 1.24 pounds less than others, reports the New York Times. Which foods caused people to gain weight? Starchy, lower-fiber, higher-glycemic vegetables like potatoes, peas, and corn—though they were beneficial in terms of nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, iron, fiber, and protein. The takeaway? Many Americans get their fruit and veggie servings from fruit juices and potatoes, but there "may be better choices—apples, pears, berries, and nonstarchy vegetables," Bertoia says. (Research shows this is the best diet for weight loss.)