November 30, 2020

5 Veggies That Don’t Deserve the Hype

All vegetables are good, but some are simply overrated

Leaves of Kale

First, let’s set the record straight — you really can’t go wrong with vegetables. They’re a highly nutritious food group that offer a huge variety of flavors and benefits. That’s why dietitians, doctors and nutritionists recommend them as a key part of every healthy diet.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

That said, it’s also fair to say some veggies pack a bigger nutritional punch than others.

If you’re wondering which ones might not be at the top of our list, check out the following vegetables many dietitians would probably downplay in favor of other more nourishing options.

1. Sweet corn is simply too starchy

“It may be colorful and sweet and we look forward to it when it’s in season, but unfortunately sweet corn is also one of the starchiest veggies out there,” says clinical dietitian Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD.

“Corn has some nutritional value like fiber, folate, vitamin C and potassium. But your body sees and reacts to sweet corn similarly to the way it reacts to bread, which is not great from a metabolic standpoint.”

When you’re looking to add more veggies to your diet there’s a whole spectrum of better options out there than corn.

If you’re not ready to give up corn just yet, at least try to be mindful of what you’re putting on top of it. “Try to limit your portion of butter and salt.There are healthy toppings with higher nutritional value instead of the butter and salt duo we often turn to,” she says.

2. Take the spotlight off of kale

Kale is good for you, but somewhere down the line kale received a superstar status that overtook all the other great veggies like broccoli, beets, Brussels sprouts and Swiss chard,” Patton says.

While kale is great, variety is even better, she adds. Kale can also be an acquired taste and can be hard to incorporate into meals. And for many people, digesting kale is a struggle.


There are lots of dark, leafy greens you can turn to instead that contain nutrients similar to kale. Swapping those into your diet gives you the same nutritional value, plus so much more to choose from. Patton suggests adding in leafy greens and lettuces like:

  • Spinach.
  • Collard greens.
  • Mustard greens.
  • Arugula.
  • Swiss chard.
  • Rapini (broccoli rabe).
  • Red and green leaf lettuce.
  • Romaine.

3. Put the squeeze on vegetable juices

Store-bought vegetable juices may give you a good amount of vitamins and minerals. But in a lot of cases you’re missing all the benefits of the fiber and extra nutrients found in their skins.

You may also be getting extra additives and sugar or salt you don’t need.

Instead, try making your own homemade smoothies that incorporate fresh vegetables from your fridge. Use cruciferous vegetables like shredded cabbage or broccolibok choy that really pack that nutritional punch.

Cruciferous vegetables are nutrient-rich and contain glucosinolates, an anti-inflammatory phytonutrient linked to reduced risk of cancer,” Patton says.

4. Add on to your iceberg lettuce

“This pale lettuce falls short of the reputation of its darker-hued cousins and contains fewer vitamins and phytonutrients,” Patton says.

“But some lettuce is better than no lettuce at all, provided you don’t slather it with high-saturated fat ranch, Caesar or bleu cheese dressings.”

Love iceberg lettuce salads? That’s fine. Just pump up the nutrition, she suggests. Add in a variety of other chopped veggies like:

  • Darker leafy greens like spinach or mixed spring greens.
  • Red bell peppers.
  • Grated carrots.
  • Cucumbers.
  • Grape tomatoes.

“Then dress your new mixture instead with red wine vinegar and one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. You’ll feel much better about making your iceberg lettuce intake a little more on the nutritional side.”

5. Pass on those potatoes

“From a nutritional perspective these starchy vegetables have potential be unhealthy depending on how they are prepared. For example, fried French fries, fried hash browns, scalloped and mashed potatoes are loaded with extra fat calories which diminish their nutritional value,” Patton says.

“You have to be careful when they are eaten without all the extras, too. While potatoes contain fiber and potassium, they also cause a much faster spike in blood sugar levels than non-starchy vegetables like kale or broccoli,” she emphasizes.

A recent study suggests that replacing one serving of potatoes (boiled, baked, mashed or French fries) with one serving of non-starchy vegetables (spinach, peppers or onions, for example) can lower your risk of hypertension.

Variety is the vibe to go for

Dietitians agree that veggie variety is key. So don’t be afraid to try new vegetables instead of the ones you’re used to. The hype may outweigh the benefits. Switch things up and you’ll be consuming a wider variety of nutrients, and your diet will be a whole lot more colorful!

Related Articles

variety of food groups containing manganese and magnesium
November 30, 2023
Manganese vs. Magnesium: Two Important Minerals With Key Differences

They’re both essential minerals but do different jobs in your body

holy basil leaves, known as tulsi, on wooden spoon
November 30, 2023
The Benefits of Holy Basil (Tulsi)

This herb offers different potential benefits from the basil you find in pesto

cool tropical smoothie with straw
November 30, 2023
Recipe: Cool Tropical Smoothie

A zesty thirst-quencher that’s dairy-free and vegan

salmon and broccoli over rice
November 29, 2023
6 Foods To Eat for Healthy Joints

Fish, cruciferous veggies, turmeric, yogurt, ginger and green tea all reduce inflammation

skillet of ground turkey stroganoff
November 28, 2023
Recipe: Healthy Turkey Stroganoff

A hearty dish that’s easy to put together

Top view of a bowl of chili topped with sour cream and jalapeños with tortilla chips for dipping.
November 24, 2023
Recipe Adventure: How To Build a Better Bowl of Chili

From meat to beans, we’ve got some ideas to help you create the perfect-for-you chili recipe

Spearmint tea in a glass see through cup with spearmint leaves scattered on the saucer and background.
November 22, 2023
3 Health Benefits of Spearmint Tea

This subtly minty beverage can help balance hormones and loosen stiff joints

Overhead closeup of cauliflower pseudo mashed potatoes in a bowl on a wooden table.
November 21, 2023
Recipe: Cauliflower Mashed Pseudo Potatoes

A creamy mashed cauliflower that’s sure to please

Trending Topics

group of hands holding different beverages
November 14, 2023
10 Myths About Drinking Alcohol You Should Stop Repeating

Coffee won’t cure a hangover and you definitely shouldn’t mix your cocktail with an energy drink

Person applies moisturizer as part of their skin care routine after a shower.
November 10, 2023
Korean Skin Care Routines: What You Need To Know

Focus on the philosophy — replenishing and respecting your skin — not necessarily the steps

glass of cherry juice with cherries on table
November 8, 2023
Sleepy Girl Mocktail: What’s in It and Does It Really Make You Sleep Better?

This social media sleep hack with tart cherry juice and magnesium could be worth a try