Veggies Help Dieters
If your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight or get healthier, aUniversity of Georgia scientist said vegetablesplay a key role.ÿ”Vegetables are so low in calories!” said GailHanula, a nutrition scientist with the UGA Collegeof Family and Consumer Sciences. “Most vegetables are low-calorie,have almost no fat and are packed with nutrients. They’re a great nutritionalbargain.”ÿHanula said a serving of most vegetables has less than one gram of fatand fewer than 100 calories. “Plus vitamins B, C and E, carotenoids andfiber,” she said.ÿÿ Most Americans eat only about three servings of fruits and vegetables daily.But we need five or more for good health, Hanula said. Women tend to eatmore fruits and vegetables than men. But even most women need to eat more.Vegetables provide health benefits that supplements don’t. “A lot ofpeople take vitamin pills or capsules. But studies show they don’t havethe same benefit in the body as vegetables. We can’t improve on naturehere,” Hanula said.Many of the vegetables grown in Georgia end up on Georgia tables, saidBill Mizelle, a UGA extension agriculturaleconomist with the College of Agriculturaland Environmental Sciences.”Many of our crops are grown for fresh markets,” he said. “Some areshipped fresh, but a lot are sold locally, too.”Georgia farmers grow tomatoes, yellow squash, zucchini, peppers, sweetcorn, carrots, cabbage, leafy greens, onions, sweet potatoes and othervegetable crops.Hanula said all of these are high in carotenoids, a substance that seemsto help prevent all types of cancers.”Beta carotene, found in dark yellow vegetables, was really in the news.It prevents gastrointestinal, head, neck and lung cancers,” she said. “Othercarotenoids include lycopene in tomatoes that seems to prevent prostatecancer, and folic acid in leafy greens, which has shown some decrease incervical cancer rates.”But how you eat your veggies is as important as whether you eat them.”Obviously, frying vegetables cancels out any healthful benefits,” shesaid. Steaming, grilling or baking vegetables with little or no added fatprovides the “most nutritional bang for the calorie buck.”Overcooking vegetables robs them of flavor and nutrients. “Vegetablesare nutritionally best raw or when cooked ‘tender-crisp,'” she said.