Eat your vegetables and you’ll be fine, right? According to recent research, that is not universally true. Your health and fitness powerfully depends on which veggies you eat.
In recent years, Harvard released a study that points an accusatory finger at one vegetable in particular for widening our waistlines. This study followed 130,000 people over the course of 20 years. Looking at daily food journals and weekly weight recordings, they were able to draw connections between certain foods and their increased potential for causing weight gain. And, unsurprisingly, they found that one vegetable in particular is more likely to cause your waist to bulge than others.
No, don’t worry. It’s not kale or cauliflower.
We all know by now that starchy veggies like peas, corn and potatoes are far and away not in the same nutritional league as kale, chard and spinach. But, many of us may not realize how much starchy veggies actually affect us, nor how much corn we actually consume in our diets.
Why is corn so bad for weight? It has to do with its glycemic load. Corn, like potatoes and peas, is starchy and sweet, which can lead to sharp spikes in blood sugar. Over time, unstable blood sugar levels increase your risk for obesity and diabetes. While a little popcorn or corn on the cob is unlikely to cause much of an issue, the highly processed corn products that have infiltrated our food system are.
Americans eat absurd amounts of corn daily. Look at any processed food’s ingredients list and you’ll probably see corn oil, (high fructose) corn syrup, corn starch and derivatives thereof. In fact, we eat so much corn that one American tester wrote on CNN that 69 percent of the carbon in his hair was derived from corn (compare that to 5 percent when he lived long-term in Italy). Corn is plaguing our nation, and we are running out of belt notches because of it. Who would have thought a humble vegetable could be so widening?
Of course, corn is more of a grain than a vegetable anyways. The Whole Grain Council actually named corn the whole grain of the month for October. Stop considering corn a vegetable, and we will all be better off.
That’s not saying you shouldn’t enjoy corn. What movie is complete without some homemade popcorn popped in coconut oil? What is a BBQ without some in-season corn on the cob, fresh off the grill? But, corn has become a ubiquitous ingredient in our food system and clearly, based on the research, we should become more vigilant as to how much corn we are actually consuming.