Increasing Your Intake of Fruits and Vegetables Could Substantially Lower Your Obesity Risk

Key Takeaways:

  • A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may significantly reduce the risk of developing obesity, according to a comprehensive study involving over 16,000 adults.
  • Dietary habits were scored based on the consumption of plant-based foods and animal-based foods, with a higher score indicating a more vegetarian-inclined diet.
  • The group of participants that consumed the most fruits and vegetables had a 43% lower risk of obesity compared to those who ate the least of these foods.
  • It was also noted that moderate to high consumption of fruits and vegetables consistently resulted in a reduced risk of obesity, regardless of gender, age, family obesity history, and lifestyle habits.
  • This study only found a correlation, not a cause and effect relationship, between a plant-based diet and a reduced risk of obesity, and the findings are still considered preliminary until further review.

A diet plentiful in fruits and vegetables not only enhances your overall health but can also significantly reduce the likelihood of gaining excessive weight, according to recent studies.

“Our research indicates that plant-based diets correlate with a significantly lower risk of obesity; thus endorsing current guidelines to transition towards a diet rich in plant foods and lower in animal-based foods,” stated the research team from the University of Navarra and the Carlos III Institute of Health.

The comprehensive study involved over 16,000 healthy, non-obese adults in Spain, examined for around 10 years since their graduation. It was observed that out of these participants, nearly 600 became obese during the study’s span.

Dietary choices and scoring

Throughout the investigation, participants provided details regarding their diet at the start of the study. Dietary habits were scored based on the intake of plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, olive oil, legumes, and potatoes.

Conversely, the consumption of animal-based foods like animal fats, dairy, eggs, meat, fish, and other seafood negatively affected the score. Based on these totals, participants were divided into one of five groups. The research, led by Julen Sanz from the University of Navarra, deduced that higher scores indicated a more vegetarian-inclined diet.

Impact on the risk of obesity

Participants that consumed the most fruits and vegetables had a 43 percent lower risk of developing obesity, in comparison to those who ate the least amount of fruits and vegetables. Even the group that consumed the next highest quantity of fruits and vegetables had their obesity risk lowered by 17 percent when compared to the group consuming the least of these foods.

The research also revealed that consuming moderate to high amounts of fruits and vegetables consistently resulted in a reduced risk of obesity.

This correlation was found irrespective of other factors such as gender, age, alcohol use, family obesity history, snacking habits, smoking, sleep duration, and physical exercise.

It’s worth noting that the study only found an association between the consumption of plant-based foods and a decrease in obesity risk, not a cause and effect relationship.

These findings were part of a presentation at the European Congress on Obesity, located in Porto, Portugal. Research displayed at such gatherings are generally considered preliminary until they have been peer-reviewed and published in a recognized journal.

More Information

For further information on preventative methods for obesity, visit the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s page on obesity prevention.


Greetings from the trails and tracks! I'm Tim, but most folks know me as TJ. I've spent the last 5 years diving deep into the world of content writing, with a particular penchant for nutrition and the intricate science behind it. Every bite we take, every nutrient we consume, tells a unique story – and I'm here to unravel it for you.Beyond my keyboard, you'll often find me on a winding hiking trail or pushing my limits on a long-distance run. These pursuits not only keep me fit but constantly remind me of the vital role nutrition plays in fueling our passions and adventures.Through my writings, I aim to bridge the gap between complex nutritional science and everyday eating habits. Whether you're looking for the latest research updates, practical diet tips, or stories from the running track, I'm committed to serving you content that's as engaging as it is enlightening.So, lace up your shoes, grab a healthy snack, and join me in this exploration of food, science, and the great outdoors. Together, we'll journey towards better health and incredible experiences!
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