You know what… forget gluten, forget lectins… let’s assume that grains and beans have no detrimental effects. With this assumption let us compare the nutritional content of grains, beans, vegetables, fruits and sugars. There’s actually very little I want to write in this post because I did a fair bit of research or data collection or whatever you want to call it and have gathered some numbers which I’m sure will be very useful to you. So without further ado let’s just jump right in.
1. 200 calories of each food item is taken into account.
2. Carbohydrates, fiber and protein are in grams.
3. Vitamins are present as %DV i.e. Percentage Daily Value = Recommended Daily Amount. Find more information here.
Cereals and Grains:
- About 1 cup of grains/cereals will result in a calorie in take of ~ 200.
- All grains and cereals have a high carb load and contain little to no fiber and protein.
- Vitamins are available… but in trace amounts.
Beans and Legumes:
- About 1 cup of beans/legumes will result in a calorie in take of ~ 200.
- Beans and legumes have a high carb load but contain decent amount of fiber and protein.
- Moderate quantities of vitamins are available.
- Each medium sized potato/yam will provide you about a 100 calories.
- Starchy vegetables are carb heavy and contain less fiber and protein (similar to grains)
- Moderate quantities of vitamins are available.
- Each cup of fibrous vegetable will result in a calorie intake of only 40 calories!
- Fibrous vegetables are not carb heavy and contain enormous amounts of fiber and protein!
- Monstrous quantities of vitamins are available!
- Fruits could be calorie dense or not depending on their type. Berries are generally super low calorie.
- Fruits can be carb heavy, again depending on choice, and can have insane amount of fiber (berries) or not.
- Protein content of fruit is generally very low.
- Moderate quantities of vitamins are available (mostly vitamin C).
- 1/4 cup (or less) of sugar will result in 200 calories!
- They have a very high carb load, no fiber and no protein.
- Sugars have little to no vitamins to offer.
- Honey and sugar ain’t too different.
Now that you have seen the data let’s throw in some graphs, pictorially represent them and put things in perspective.
1. All these foods offer pretty similar amount of total carbohydrates to provide a total of 200 calories.
So no big deal here. Let’s chill.
2. While we are looking at the carbs offered by these foods let’s see how much fiber each of these offer.
Oh wow! Now here’s something worthwhile.
- While sugars offer zero fiber and grains offer just about 4 grams/200 calories, fibrous vegetables offer a whopping 21 grams/200 calories!! That is 85% of your DV for fiber!
- Fruits offer a significant amount of fiber too and if all your fruits are berries… my oh my… you’re getting ~ 30 grams of fiber/200 calories! That is 120% of your DV of fiber!
Clearly from a fiber perspective (which is important for all this)… fibrous vegetables and berries kick some serious ass! So brown rice eaters… please quit being proud! The 2 grams of fiber/200 calories ain’t no thang!
Net carbs in any food = Total carbs – Fiber and this is the number of carbs that actually count and the lower the better. So net carbs for these dudes?
Seriously… check it out! Fibrous vegetables have more fiber than net carbs! Wicked! Show me one product in the market today that does this! Fruits don’t compare too badly either and if I make a column for just berries… that would be very similar to the fibrous vegetable column.
3. What about protein now? These things should come with some protein too right?
Hells yeah! Once again… fibrous vegetables top the charts with an average of ~ 17 grams of protein/200 calorie! Compare this to the 6 grams from grains and 0 grams from sugar (obviously!) Now let’s compare the amount of carbs to the amount of protein these foods offer.
Well… of course sugars have no protein and grains have a meager 4 grams of protein for every 40 grams of net carbs. But our awesome fibrous vegetables have 17 grams of protein for every 16 grams of carbs! Did you read that? Yes? Now read that again! Fibrous vegetables provide you with more protein than carbs.
4. Last but not least… satiety.
200 calories = 1 cup of grains/beans Or 6.5 cups of fibrous vegetables Or 3.5 cups of fruits Or 1/5th a cup of sugar. You can get all your calories from just one chocolate bar and stay hungry for the rest of the day or you can throw in a bunch of vegetables and fruits… eat till your full and realize you’ve eaten only 1/4th of your calories for the day.
Calorie for calorie…
- Fibrous vegetables provide more fiber and protein than sugar, grains, starchy vegetables and even beans.
- Much higher quantities of fibrous vegetables can be eaten without piling on the calories (as opposed to sugar and grains). This helps in satiety when on a diet especially.
- Fruits (especially berries) provide crazy amounts of fiber and vitamin C compared to grains and sugars.
- Starchy vegetables offer a high carb load with minimal fiber and moderate vitamins which make it an awesome candidate for post-workout meals.
- Fibrous vegetables offer insane amount of vitamins compared to any other food source that exists.
- Sugars have zero nutrition. Period. Honey is no better than sugar.
- I haven’t even discussed the gluten issue. You can read here about the havoc they wreck.
- If this is not enough information and analysis for you to base the bulk of your diet around vegetables and fruits… then you’re just an idiot (and will be a fat idiot soon and will most probably be a fat diabetic idiot soon after.)
Once again… you don’t have to change your diet to eating just fruit and vegetables and nuts and lean meats all the time. Base the bulk of your diet on these things and have the occasional dessert or grain based meal.