Veggies are one of the best foods one can eat for weight loss because they are low in calorie density, which means they have fewer calories per pound than other foods. The biggest question here is whether to eat the veggies raw or cooked.
Due to higher water content, raw veggies have fewer calories than cooked veggies, said dietitian Kate Coufal. Cooking the water evaporates, and the calorie content increases in the veggies, meaning they have more calories per pound. However, the difference is not that significant. “At the end of the day, consume vegetables in whatever form you prefer,” Coufal said.
Compared to cooked veggies, raw veggies contain more Vitamin B and C and some of these water-soluble nutrients during the cooking process. Overall, the differences in cooked vs raw vegetables don’t hold much value in weight loss. The most important thing is to eat veggies. So one should focus on eating veggies the way they like.
According to Coufal, nonstarchy vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots, peppers, leafy greens, and broccoli are less calorically dense than starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn. For weight-loss purposes, better to consume a higher volume of nonstarchy vegetables while maintaining a lower-caloric intake than starchy vegetables. Some nonstarchy vegetables such as brussels sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli also contain much fibre. Coufal said the high-fibre content helps with preventing overeating, maintaining blood sugar levels, satiety.
One thing one is to be careful about is how they prepare the veggies. Whether raw or cooked, if weight loss is the goal, then it’s better not to prepare veggies in high-calorie ingredients like oil, cheese, cream, or butter. To maximize weight loss, add herbs or seasoning to steamed veggies and roast veggies on silicon or parchment paper so that oil can skip or reduced and use lemon juice and vinegar on the salad.
According to Coufal, eating only nonstarchy vegetables can lead to rapid weight loss, but it can be dangerous too. “Restricting your calorie intake too much may result in low energy and a lack of adequate nutrients.” It can also cause feelings of extreme deprivation, which can lead to binge eating or overeating later on.