Study: Weight Depends on the Quality of Your Diet More than Quantity

by Sara Novak, Columbia, SC on 06.26.11

fruits photo
Photo: kimsdinner

A fascinating new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine says that the quality of the foods that you eat has more to do with weight than the quantity of food. And you’ll never guess what food causes the most weight gain.

A new extensive study outlined the best and worst foods for a healthy body weight. Potato chips, it turns out are the worst food for weight gain causing more gain per serving than any other food. Yogurt led to the least weight gain. The authors of the study dispute the advice that staying lean is really just a matter of eating less and exercising more, stating that this notion alone could be naïve.

“For diet, conventional wisdom often recommends ‘everything in moderation,’ with a focus only on total calories consumed,” says Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and lead author of the study. “Our results demonstrate that the quality of the diet — the types of food and beverages that one consumes — is strongly linked to weight gain.”

According to Time’s Healthland:

For each extra serving of potato chips eaten in a day, for instance, people gained 1.69 lbs. every four years, the study showed. Among the other extra-fattening foods it highlighted: potatoes of any kind — baked, boiled, mashed or French fried, each extra serving was associated with an average 1.28-lb. weight gain (looked at separately, however, French fries were particularly unhealthy, linked with more than 3 lbs. of gain alone). Rounding out the top five most fattening foods were sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat and processed red meat, each associated with about 1 lb. of weight gain every four years.

Refined sugars and white flours had a similar impact on weight overtime. The findings were based on three different studies following over 400,000 people.

High quality vegetarian foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains led to the least weight gain. Other factors including watching too much television, sleep, inactivity, and alcohol consumption not surprisingly also impacted weight gain over the years.

Science is proving not surprisingly that eating a diet loaded with unprocessed foodsovertime impacts weight gain in a positive light not just calorie control. The less processed, the less impact on the planet as well. And if you want to enjoy a diet rich in fruits, veggies, and high quality dairy, choose one that’s sourced close to home. You’ll find your local bounty tastes SO much better and fewer fossil fuels were wasted in transport.

(Jan’s advice – stay AWAY from ALL dairy, breads/cereals, processed sugar!!  Use almond, rice or coconut milk, sprouted grain breads from Ezekial and honey or Stevia for sweeteners.)