As you may have guessed, genetics plays a significant role in obesity risk. There are certain genes that cause individuals to gain weight. There are certain gene variants passed from parents to children that lead to a higher risk of obesity.
However, genetics are not fate. In total, researchers estimate that genes are only responsible for around 20% of obesity risk.
This means that while genetics are important, other factors such as diet, exercise, and personal choices play a much larger role in obesity.
A new study has found that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can be particularly effective in counteracting a genetic risk of weight gain.
Researchers found that all individuals who did not eat many fruits and vegetables gained weight over the four years of the study.
As expected, those with many weight gain genetic risk factors gained more weight than those with few genetic risk factors.
Effects of High Fruit + Vegetable Consumption
However, things got a little more interesting when it came to the fruit and vegetable eaters.
Regardless of genetic risk, individuals who ate lots of fruits and vegetables on average were protected against weight gain and lost a little bit of weight. Differences between individuals with high genetic risk and low genetic risk were small.
This suggests that the power of eating healthy is stronger than the power of genetics when it comes to diet and weight loss.
Fruits vs Vegetables for BMI
When it comes to protecting against weight gain, both fruits and vegetables are effective.
Researchers found that when it examined individually, high consumption of either fruits or vegetables were both associated with protection against weight loss among individuals who had a high genetic risk of weight gain.
Best Fruits + Vegetables for BMI
Among the fruits and vegetables studied, four, in particular, stood out as particularly effective in protecting against weight gain.
There are probably many more effective fruits and vegetables not mentioned above. These are just the ones that were surveyed and stood out in this particular study.
Keys to Health
These results provide solid evidence that you can overcome a genetic predisposition for obesity with a good diet.
As with any nutrition study, there is a significant risk of bias in these results. We certainly would not recommend that anyone load up on berries solely on the basis of this research.
These types of survey-based studies can only tell us that people who eat lots of berries tend to weight loss. They do not necessarily show that eating more berries will cause weight loss.
However, it does provide interesting evidence on specific food types that may protect against obesity. Both fresh fruit and vegetables were equally associated with a reduction in weight gain, which is interesting as fruit does contain significant amounts of sugar.