T Nation

Why Vegetables?

I know all the nutritionists on this site stresses to eat some vegetables in atleast almost every meal consumed. But I’ve kind of missed why veggies is so important?

Good carbs? They usually contains like 3% carbs. You’d have to eat sooo much before seing any difference. 1kg spinach would be about 25 grams of carbs.

Vitamins? Why can’t this be covered eating multivitamin tabs? I lost a bit of faith in fruit vitamins after realizing mandarins contains like 20-30g of vitamin C. And they’re “supposed” to be loaded with it. Is it the same thing with vegetables?

Fiber? Fiber is a type of carb right? Which veggies contains very little of.

On the other hand, I certainly feel protein+fat meals are hard to digest without them. And spinach gives me some kind of relaxed, cleared mind feeling after eating it (pluss I like the taste of fresh spinach). But these could be placebo effects for all I know. After all, since I was born, everybody has been saying “eat your veggies” with reasoning ranging from fat loss, muscle gain, intelligence increase, prolonged lifetime, less days being sick, increased endurance in bed, more energy and so on.

Any proves or indication of proof for anything of this?

The myriad of phytochemicals, many that we know of, and probably many that we DON’T know of, that are extremely important for disease prevention, longevity, overall health, and for the “pure” musclehead, optimal bodily function.

It is impossible to get adequate phytochemical (and vitamin)intake from a pill.

As Dr. L has said…a multivitamin should be looked at as an “insurance policy” when our diets are not quite optimal.

Hope this helps!


Thanks mufasa. But does that mean the entire vegetable in most meals stuff, is still only coming from our parents saying it is good for us? And we’re eating it mostly for a “just-in-case-they’re-right” reason?

Nice answer, Mufasa. And we need to consider that the many combinations of these 1000s of phytochemicals cannot be teased apart effectively. (Case in point is the disastrous supplemental beta-carotene study among smokers that worsened cancer risk even though the researchers knew that beta-carotene foods like vegetables actually reduced the lung cancer risk. It’s not nice to play with Mother Nature! (at least until we get a better handle on phytochemicals’ effects over the next century or so!)

Maybe do a search for the “Down on the Pharm” articles (chapters) that I’m working on, illustrating why these power foods rock.

Lastly, veggies do have plenty of fiber as a general rule.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve gone so long eating just fruit and green, fiberous vegis, that I pretty much can’t eat ‘starchy’ carbs. They make me feel bloated, no matter how much or how little I have. I stick to protein, fats, fruits, and vegis, and an occasional candy bar (can’t be perfect all the time;> ).

Vegetables are great for filling you up, they are natural thermic foods, meaning your body spends a lot of energy breaking them down, so if your goal is to get lean vegetables are key. Have them with every meal is a great way to aid in fat loss. I have a starchy and fibrous carb with every meal. Usually brocolii and a baked potato, or oatmeal, with chicken. As said before they have alot of vitamins, and vitamin supplement is never as good as real food.

The fiber in vegies is a carb, but it is very hard and slow to break down, doesn’t contribute to caloric totals, and isn’t counted on the label under calories. Makes good farts though! Another benefit is that it keeps you “regular”.