Does a Cup of Spinach Every Day Help Weight Loss?

Because your overall calorie intake and expenditure predicts whether or not you'll lose weight, eating a cup of spinach daily can help with -- but doesn't guarantee -- successful weight loss. A study published in 2012 in "Nutrition and Diabetes" found that people who focused on counting total daily calories lost more weight than study participants who focused on boosting their fruit and veggie intake. Replacing high-calorie foods with a cup of spinach can help reduce your overall calorie intake.

A cup of spinach and garlic bread. (Image: SergeyAK/iStock/Getty Images)

Calories in Spinach

Spinach is a low-calorie food, which is beneficial when you're trying to reduce your calorie intake for weight loss. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference reports that 1 cup of raw spinach contains just 7 calories. Therefore, eating a cup of spinach in place of higher-calorie alternatives, such as sweets and added sugars, helps lower you calorie intake. Reducing your energy intake by just 500 calories daily helps shed about 1 pound weekly, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fiber Perks

Spinach is an excellent source of dietary fiber, which helps boost satiety when eaten in place of lower-fiber alternatives. Furthermore, fiber isn't fully absorbed or digested by your body. While it helps fill you up, it contributes little to your total calorie intake. Therefore, eating 1 cup of spinach in place of lower-fiber sweets, sugary drinks, added sugars and refined grains aids in your weight-loss efforts.

Weight-Loss Calorie Needs

Eating a cup of spinach as part of a reduced-calorie meal plan will help you shed pounds. Plans containing 1,200 to 1,600 calories daily are often effective weight-loss diets for adults, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Men often require more calories than women, and active adults trying to lose weight generally need more calories than those who are sedentary.

Daily Veggie Requirements

The amount of spinach, or other vegetables, you should eat daily depends on your weight-loss calorie needs. For example, if your weight-loss requirement is 1,200 calories daily, aim for 1.5 cups of veggies per day -- and if your weight-loss energy requirement is 1,600 calories, shoot for 2 cups from the vegetable group daily, suggests the publication "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010." ChooseMyPlate.gov reports that although 1 cup of cooked spinach equals 1 cup from the veggie group, 2 cups of raw spinach leaves is classified as a 1-cup equivalent from the vegetable group.

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