Can Eating 30 Plants A Week Help With Weight Loss?

Can Eating 30 Plants A Week Help With Weight Loss?

We all know that vegetables are good for us. But did you know that eating more of them could be the key to a healthier gut and successful weight loss? In order to maximise their benefits, research shows that eating a wide variety of plant foods is key. Here, we look at the 30 plants a week rule, and how it can help you optimise your health and lose weight.

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The 30 plants a week rule is a guideline that encourages individuals to consume a diverse range of plant foods, aiming for 30 different ones each week. The plant foods can include fruits, vegetables, unprocessed nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and legumes. Eating 30 different plant foods a week has been shown to hold numerous health benefits, which we will explore more in this auricle.


The ‘30 plants’ rule comes from a study by the American Gut Study. The American Gut Project conducted a study focusing on plant consumption, comparing individuals who consumed fewer than 10 types of plants a week to those who consumed more than 30. Results showed that those eating over 30 plant types had more diverse gut microbiomes, potentially reducing bowel cancer risk. You can read my guide to gut health here.

5-A-DAY OR 10-A-DAY?

You’re likely familiar with the concept of getting your five-a-day, though more recently we’ve been told that we should be aiming for 10 portions of fruit and veg per day. Imperial College London findings showed that eating 800g of fruit and vegetables per day (equivalent to 10 x 80g portions) ‘may prevent millions of premature deaths’ each year by reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease. The study was significant in size. Researchers analysed all available research (95 studies involving 2 million people) from across the world looking at fruit and veg intake to identify how much you we should eat to gain the maximum protection against disease and premature death. Increasing evidence suggests that eating more plants can help you to live a longer and healthier life.


Consuming 30 different plant foods offers numerous health benefits. These foods provide essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are crucial for overall health and well-being. The phytochemicals present in various plant foods have powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-supportive properties.

Most of us could benefit from eating more plant foods. As a nation a significant proportion of our diet is made up of ultra processed foods which do support our health. Swapping these for a diverse range of whole plant foods (not to be confused with processed ‘plant based’ products) would provide a variety of health benefits. Consuming a diverse range of plant foods offers a number of health benefits. They provide a broad spectrum of essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants crucial for many aspects of health and well-being. The phytochemicals present in certain plant foods have powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-supportive properties.

A variety of vegetables also supports digestive health by providing fibre and other compounds that promote a healthy gut microbiome. Vegetable intake has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. 

Vegetables can also help you to maintain a healthy weight. Here’s how…



Nobody wants to feel constantly hungry when they are losing weight. Eating more vegetables helps you here because most are rich in fibre which promotes satiety, the feeling of fullness. This means you’re more likely to be satisfied by your meal and less likely to find yourself tempted by unhealthy snacks. Try starting your meal with a bowl of home made vegetable soup or adding in a side salad.


Basing meals around large potions of refined, starchy carbohydrates like bread, pasta, noodles and rice isn’t beneficial for health or weight loss. Quite the opposite. Instead, fill your plate with plenty of vegetables. Dishes like stews, curries and ratatouille can easily provide a good three or four portions per meal.  Cauliflower rice makes a great alternative to rice or cous cous and try swapping pasta for courgetti topped with substantial, protein-containing sauce.


Calories aren’t the be-all and end-all of weight loss, but they are an important consideration for both weight loss and health. Most vegetables (especially green ones) are low in calories so you can eat plenty of them and not worry about over doing it.


30 plant foods may sound like a lot but once you start focusing on how you can get more plants into your diet, they add up surprisingly fast. If your local food shops are limited in terms of what’s available, look online. There are many online health food shops and you could consider signing up for a weekly vegetable delivery box. If you have a garden, consider growing your own vegetables, salad and / or herbs.  Even if you just have a small outside space available there are plenty of practical ways to make the most of your space and enjoy the benefits of home grown produce. 


In most cases, the pros of eating a wide variety of vegetables outweighs the cons. However, consuming excessive amounts of vegetables may have some downsides. One potential issue is related to certain types of vegetables containing compounds known as antinutrients, such as oxalates or phytates, which can interfere with the absorption of minerals like calcium and iron. However, cooking vegetables can often reduce the levels of these compounds.

For individuals with digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), certain vegetables high in fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) may exacerbate symptoms like bloating and gas. If you’re prone to gut issues, we recommend undertaking a comprehensive test to establish and address the root cause.

Consuming a diet that focuses solely on vegetables can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Vegetables alone won’t provide all essential nutrients in optimal amounts. While vegetables are a key part of a balanced diet for most people, it’s important to understand how to structure a balanced meal. 


While adding more veg to your diet is generally considered to be a no-brainer, there can be mixed messaging when it comes to fruit, which can be quite high in sugar. However, fruit is not bad for weight loss, as long as it is eaten in moderation. Multiple studies have shown that increased fruit consumption is associated with weight loss or maintenance, not weight gain, on the whole. A meta-analysis of 17 prospective studies found an inverse association between fruit intake and weight gain. Fruit can add valuable vitamins and nutrients, but opting for highly nutritious, low-sugar fruits like a handful of blueberries, over a mango (which has the highest sugar per kg).


One of the best ways to stay consistent with eating more vegetables is to make them taste good. Try flavour-rich Mediterranean dishes like ratatouille and caponata. Stews and curries with plenty of vegetables in work well. Try eating a small salad or vegetable soup as a starter at the beginning of your dinner. You can even add neutral tasting vegetables like cauliflower or courgette to a smoothie. It might sound strange but you can’t taste them. 

Remember that nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and legumes – as well as the more obvious fruit and vegetables – all count towards your 30 plants a week. Grab a pack of mixed raw (unroasted) nuts containing almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts and Brazils and you’ve already hit five. Sprinkle some mixed seeds onto your breakfast – pumpkin, sunflower and flax – and that’s another three. Throw a tin of mixed beans – cannellini, flageolet and adzuki – into your soup or stew and that’s three more. Vegetable crudités – celery, cucumber, carrots and pepper – with a homemade guacamole is an easy snack and five more ‘plant points’.

If you’re aware you could benefit from getting more vegetables into your diet, here’s a challenge. Each day for the next week, at every lunch and dinnertime, ask yourself this: how can I get one more plant food into this meal? If you’re eating out, order a vegetable side dish. If you’re packing lunch to take to work, add in some cherry tomatoes or chop up vegetable crudités. Heating up soup? Top it with some fresh herbs. Aim to do this for just a week and see how you get on. You may well come up with some ideas that stick for good.

Are you keen to try the 30 plants a week challenge? Here is a link to a practical worksheet you can use as a guide.


How To Eat 30 Plants A Week is a book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall that encourages readers to diversify their diets by consuming at least 30 different plant-based foods weekly. The book highlights the importance of gut health and its connection to overall well-being. It provides meal plans, recipes, and tips to help readers incorporate a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds into their meals, promoting a diverse gut microbiome and improved health outcomes. “With all the other changes I’ve made, I’m probably healthier than I was 20 years ago,” Fearnley-Whittingstall told The Independent. “Eating plants obviously helps with that and 30 different types a week is optimum. No one is saying don’t eat more than that, but beyond 30 the benefits begin to plateau.”


We are a team of qualified nutritionists who specialise in weight loss. If you’re ready to overcome your weight challenges, achieve your goal weight and maintain it long term, we can help. You can use this link to book in for a complimentary call. This is an opportunity to talk through your challenges with a member of our team and decide together whether one of our Intelligent Weight Loss programmes is right for you. Or contact us to request a copy of our brochure and we will get back to you soon.

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Sarah has worked with hundreds of clients over the past decade to help them live in a healthy body that they feel confident in.

Sarah spent a large part of her teens and 20’s as a professional dancer battling with orthorexia and an unhealthy relationship with food and her body. This created a desire to understand the human body more so she could finally cut through the confusion and end the cycle of yoyo dieting. This fuelled her passion to help other women do the same.


Sarah specialises in supporting women who are struggling to lose weight due to underlying health issues. She’s helped many women manage their weight during and after the menopause, as well as clients with thyroid disease and immune system dysfunction. Sarah loves food and sharing healthy recipes with her clients. Her aim is to ensure that clients don’t feel deprived and instead, achieve their weight loss and health goals in a positive and sustainable way.


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Ailsa is one of our most experienced practitioners. She specialises in helping clients to lose weight, develop a healthy relationship with food and finally feel comfortable in their skin. Ailsa’s mission is for everyone she works with to enjoy the journey and that working with a nutritionist should not be a punishment, but your access to a new possibility.


Ailsa is not only an experienced weight loss nutritionist, she is also a skilled coach. She helps our clients overcome emotional eating, destructive habits and self-sabotaging behaviours that have prevented successful weight loss in the past. Ailsa has spent years in clinic working with clients who have experienced yo-yo dieting and have discovered that long term weight loss is not just about eating less until you can stand it no longer.


Working with Ailsa you will be comprehensively supported, not only in improving your nutrition and lifestyle, but also your eating habits and your relationship with food. When you work on all these elements together, the results can be truly astonishing.


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Test Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of the business. Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning. A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.



Nikki is our Practice Manager, managing our team of practitioners and heading up the day-to-day running of th clinic.


Nikki is involved in the strategic development of our practice, coming from a strong business background in town planning.


A Florida girl, Nikki relocated to the UK in 2014 with her husband and two children.


Stéphanie is a skilled nutritional therapist and functional medicine practitioner with additional training in eating disorders, disordered eating and obesity. She believes that working towards both physiological and mental health is key in achieving optimum wellbeing.


Stéphanie’s personal experience of emotional eating and the ongoing struggle to find the right support led her to combine the science of nutrition with behavioural coaching to motivate and empower her clients. She specialises in helping people who struggle with their weight and their relationship with food. She helps them develop a healthier and more peaceful relationship with food and their bodies.


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Inna is passionate about supporting women on their journey to improved health and wellbeing. She believes that the solution to effective weight loss does not lie in ever more restrictive diets, but a more sophisticated approach that optimises health and vitality, as well as promoting effective weight loss.


Working with Inna you will benefit from her in-depth knowledge of female health and hormones. She will support you in developing a healthy diet, lifestyle and mindset that ensures you reach your ideal weight and maintain it in the years to come.


Inna is passionate about food with a wide repertoire of delicious healthy recipes and meal ideas to ensure your weight loss journey is as enjoyable as possible!


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Ania is a firm believer that improving your health and losing weight should be a positive, empowering journey, not one centred around deprivation.


After being diagnosed with two autoimmune conditions in her twenties, Ania spent several years educating herself on the power of food and nutrition. She put it all into practise and changed her diet and lifestyle, reversing her endometriosis and thyroid disease. After experiencing such a significant improvement in her health, Ania had a big desire to help others. She embarked on a four year journey to study nutrition, graduating from the Institute for Optimum Nutrition with distinction.


Ania specialises in autoimmunity and works with clients who have underlying health issues preventing successful weight loss. Her expertise enables her to successfully support our clients with conditions such as hypothyroidsm (underactive thyroid), PCOS and diabetes. 


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