Think it’s ok to grab a few potato chips in between meals to keep from feeling hungry?
You might want to think again: Potatoes and potato chips are the number one food that is associated with weight gain in a groundbreaking, 20 year long study just released by the New England Journal of Medicine. Many people understand that sugary beverages like soda can cause weight gain, but some of the other foods that do so might surprise you.
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Starches, processed foods, top the list of diet breakers
The list of diet breakers include foods that were associated with steady weight gain over several 4 year periods. Potato chips caused an average of 1.69 lbs gain over each 4 year period period. Potatoes caused a gain of 1.28 pound. Sugary drinks, mostly soda, packed on an average of 1 lb. Unprocessed red meats caused a .95 lbs gain, and processed meats like bologna were close behind at .93 lbs. The study examined a total of five, four year periods, potatoes were singled out, but any starchy food was associated with weight gain. Further down the list of diet sabotaging foods is alcohol, with a .41 lbs weight gain.
Lifestyle factors that affect your weight
Alcohol use was responsible for an average of a .41 lb weight gain over each 4 year period in the study. Smoking didn’t seem to cause weight gain, but people who quit lost an average of a whopping 5.17 pounds. Too much sleep, more than 8 hours per day, and too little sleep, less than six hours per day, was associated with a gain of .31 pounds over each 4 year period.
Foods that caused weight loss
Diets high in some foods resulted in long term weight loss over the 20 year period the study was conducted: Diets rich in vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and yogurt resulted in weight loss:
For each 4 year period, people who ate these foods lost an average of:
- Vegetables – .22 lbs
- Whole grains – .37 lbs
- Fruits – .49 lbs
- Nuts – .57 lbs
- Yogurt – .82 lbs
Yogurt is obviously the big winner in this category, which supports the common wisdom that yogurt is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Clearly, the evidence shows that eating healthy is likely to put you on a path of long-term, healthy weight management.
20 Year totals: How weight gain foods affected weight
You can compare the foods that resulted in weight gain to the foods that resulted in weight loss by multiplying all of the results presented above by five, since there were four, 5 year periods where weight was tracked in this study:
If you ate all of the foods that caused weight gain for 20 years:
- Potato chips – +8.45 lbs
- Potatoes – +6.4 lbs
- Sugary drinks – 5 lbs
- Unprocessed red meat – +4.75 lbs
- Processed meats – +4.65 lbs
- Total average weight gain over 20 years = 29.25 lbs
If you drank alcohol over that period, add 2.05 lbs, and if you smoke, add a whopping 25.85 lbs. Both of these would bring your total average weight gain over 20 years to 57.15 lbs. Add your TV time on top of that, and you would have gained an additional 1.55 lbs for a total of 58.7 lbs.
As you can see, each of these foods or lifestyle factors individually was only responsible for a small amount of weight gain, but add them all together and it really adds up. So if you are wondering “where did all the weight come from?” The prime suspects in your weight gain are listed above.
How much you would have lost with a healthy diet and lifestyle
Over the same 20 year period, if you ate a diet rich in the foods that resulted in weight loss, you would have weighed an average of:
- Vegetables: -1.1 lbs
- Whole grains: -1.85 lbs
- Fruits: -2.45 lbs
- Nuts: -2.85 lbs
- Yogurt: -4.1 lbs
- Total potential weight loss = -12.35 lbs
If you stayed active, you would have lost an additional 8.8 lbs over the 20 year period., your total weight loss would be 21.15 lbs.
It’s easier to gain weight than lose it
As you can see from the totals above, it’s easier to gain weight than lose it. If you lead the least healthy lifestyle, with all the fattening foods, smoking, and lack of exercise, you would gain an average of 58.7 lbs. If you followed the healthy lifestyle, you would have lost an average of 21.15 lbs. The difference between the two is 37.55 lbs. This means it takes one and a half times longer for you to lose the weight with a healthy lifestyle, than it took for you to gain the weight with an unhealthy lifestyle. But all’s not lost, there is one more healthy thing you could do which may help you lose the weight.
Alkaline water: 12 pounds weight loss in two months
Research done on new, middle aged drinkers of alkaline water who were obese at the start of the study showed that they lost an average of 12 pounds over two months! There’s many possible reasons that alkaline water may help weight loss:
- Drinking water at the right time reduces appetite
- Improving hydration can boost your metabolism
- Antioxidant water may help favor the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria that are associated with healthy weight management
- Alkaline water helped the study subjects detox from heavy metals
Everyone’s body is different, so weight loss could happen for any of the above factors, or even for reasons science hasn’t discovered yet. The main things you should take away from the two studies presented in this article is:
- A healthy diet, lifestyle, and alkaline water together may give you your best chance for reaching a healthy weight.
- It’s easier to gain weight than it is to lose it, so don’t be so hard on yourself!
The best time to start your healthy new lifestyle? Now.
Put alkaline water to work in your diet. Call us at 877-959-7977, the new you is waiting!
Mozaffarian, Dariush. “Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in
Women and Men — NEJM.” New England Journal of Medicine. New England Journal of Medicine, 2011. Web. 10 Nov. 2015. <http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1014296#t=articleBackground>
Abraham, Guy, and Jorge Flebas. “The effect of daily consumption of 2 liters of
electrolyzed water for 2 months on body composition and several physiological parameters in four obese subjects: a preliminary report.” Highbeam Research. Original Internist, 01 Sep 2011. Web. 2 Jul 2013. <http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-269433201.html>.