What You Need to Know About Non-Starchy Veggies

Get the facts about these versatile vegetables.

What You Need to Know About Non-Starchy Veggies

Non-starchy vegetables are a key component in a variety of Dr. Oz’s diets, including The Day-Off Diet, The Total Choice Plan, and most recently in The 21-Day Weight Loss Breakthrough Diet. But what are they exactly? Non-starchy vegetables are vegetables with little to no starch content, a type of complex carbohydrate that breaks down quickly in the body. These types of vegetables are low in calories, low in carbohydrates (making them low-glycemic), and rich in fiber. Find out how they compare against other vegetables and how you can include them in your healthy diet.

More: 10 Ways to Sneak More Veggies Into Your Meals


How Much to Eat

Your recommended vegetable intake varies based on your age, gender, and physical activity level. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating “a variety of vegetables from all of the five vegetable subgroups — dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other [vegetables]. These include all fresh, frozen, canned, and dried options in cooked or raw forms, including vegetable juices. The recommended amount of vegetables in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern at the 2,000-calorie level is 2 1/2 cup-equivalents of vegetables per day.” Get started with these non-starchy vegetable recipes.

What's Really Causing Your Obesity: Nature or Nurture?

It's more complex than too many calories and not enough physical activity.

The American Medical Association officially recognized obesity as a disease in 2013. But in the past 13 years, there's not been much of a shift in the understanding of what causes obesity — not in the general public, in people who contend with the condition or in the practice of medicine. Most people still think of obesity as a character flaw caused by too many calories and not enough physical activity. But it's much more complex than that.

A study analyzing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data found that even though US adults' BMI increased between 1988 and 2006, the amount of calories adults consumed and the energy they expended were unchanged. It also appears that the quality of calories consumed (low versus high glycemic index) is as important a consideration as the total quantity. And genetics only explains about 2.7% variation in people's weight, according to a study in Nature. That all adds up to this: The two most common explanations for obesity — calories in, calories out and family history — cannot, by themselves, explain the current epidemic.

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