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Do Vegetables Burn Fat? (From A Dietitian)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: June 30, 2022

No matter what health and wellbeing-related articles you read online, they will pretty much always recommend that you eat more vegetables to lose belly fat.

And while vegetables play a critical role in a healthy weight loss diet, it’s still possible to gain body fat if you eat the wrong types and amounts of veggies.

So, to help find out what role vegetables should play when it comes to fat burning, I teamed up with my dietitian to do some research and give you a clear guide on how to deal with fat.

Here’s what I found.

Quick Summary

  • Vegetables should make up a large portion of a weight loss diet to deal with belly fat.
  • The problem is that people often choose the wrong vegetables or prepare them in a way that they lose nutritional value.
  • By paying more attention to the types of vegetables you add to your meal plan, you can reduce belly fat more effectively.

Do Vegetables Have Weight Loss Benefits?

Green vegetables

Yes, vegetables have benefits for weight loss as long as you focus on the right ones and the right amount.

Even if you pick the best possible types of veggies, you can still gain a lot of belly fat if you eat too much or prepare it in the wrong way.

If it sounds confusing, that’s because it is.

First of all, studies have shown that eating non-starchy vegetables can have a significant impact on metabolism. And this has a direct impact on visceral and liver fat storage [1].

It also means that eating things like corn, white and sweet potatoes, beets, and squash will likely not have the desired effect on your belly fat.

At the same time, these are the types of vegetables that many people turn to because they tend to fill you up better.

And if you then resort to frying or deep-frying these vegetables, then you could be adding another layer of problems for your belly fat.

4 Types That Burn The Most Fat

Top view of green vegetables

I asked my dietitian to provide me with a list of vegetables that would promote weight loss and help with reducing belly fat.

The good news is that there are plenty of things to choose from. But for some of these, you might need to find some specialty Asian and whole food stores.

1. Leafy Green Vegetables

Kale, lettuce, brussels sprouts, and spinach are great examples of leafy greens, and you can easily add two cups of these to any meal as a side salad. Spinach is an especially great choice because it’s naturally high in fiber [2]. This promotes gut health and will also help you feel full for longer.

2. Cauliflower And Broccoli

Just one cup of broccoli can provide you with five grams of fiber [3]. And it wouldn’t take too much effort to add two cups to your main meal, especially if you like to stir fry green veggies for dinner.

3. Chilies

You don’t have to buy the hottest chilies you can find. Even the milder ones that have an almost sweet flavor contain capsaicin, which has been proven to play a critical role in human metabolic rates [4].

4. Carrots

Carrots are rich in carotenoids, and studies have shown that these can significantly impact visceral belly fat [5]. Aim to eat them raw as that should make the starches and carbs more difficult to break down and reduce a sudden impact on blood sugar levels.

“Carotenoids are one reason that doctors tell you to get a variety of colors in your diet. These nutrients provide rich pigments to fruits and vegetables and are necessary for a well-balanced diet.”

- Melinda Ratini, DO, MS, WebMD.com.

Are There Vegetables You Should Avoid?

Top view of corn

Yes, you should avoid starchy vegetables if you want to lose weight.

When you cook starchy vegetables, the carbs become less complex and easier to absorb [6].

And the easier the body can transform the carbs into glucose, the more of an impact it will have on belly fat loss.

So, that means limiting your intake of cooked or refined potatoes, beets, corn, and rice. The more processed these are, the more likely they are to add to your abdominal fat.

A healthy diet should instead focus more on raw or lightly steamed colorful veggies and whole grains.

Pay Attention To Your Macros

Even healthy foods can end up giving you the wrong macro profile to help with burning fat.

Most vegetables will have a high percentage of carbs, but it’s important that you focus on the complex carbs. And you’ll find those in non-starchy veggies. 

It’s also important to note that when it comes to vegetables, fat is not a bad thing.

If you can get more calories from veggies with a high percentage of healthy fats and complex carbs, then you’ll have a much better chance to lose belly fat in a more consistent way.

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FAQs

Should You Only Eat Vegetables to Burn Fat?

No, you shouldn’t only eat vegetables to burn fat. There are many other nutrient-dense sources of macro and micronutrients that will contribute to weight loss. And unless you’re vegan, these will also include animal products.

Why Do People Gain Weight Eating Vegetables?

People gain weight eating vegetables because they either eat too much or they consume highly processed vegetables instead of raw green vegetables. The first step should be to eat fewer calories, especially from starchy veg.

Make The Right Adjustments To Your Fat Burning Diet

Combining a healthy lifestyle with plenty of unprocessed green vegetables is one of the best recipes to lose weight on a consistent basis.

You’ll still have to pay attention to the types of veggies, how much you eat, and how you prepare them.

And if you want some help to burn extra calories on a daily basis, then you can do that with a vegan fat burner. These trigger metabolic responses that can target visceral fat throughout the day.

And over several months, that can add up to considerably faster weight loss.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4177517/
  2. https://www.eatthis.com/best-vegetable-to-shrink-belly-fat/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/high-fiber-foods/art-20050948
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426284/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32764462/
  6. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/carbohydrates-and-diabetes/carbs-and-cooking

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