(NaturalNews) It is commonly thought, even in some medical circles, that the caloric content of foods is the key factor to consider in the quest for weight loss. Although caloric count is important, new research suggests that the quality of food should be the preeminent consideration. The study's authors contend that conventional wisdom to "eat less and exercise more" is too simplistic. Revelations from the investigation show long-term weight management could be better fostered by focusing on eating right, instead of less: Time Healthland reports.
In a study published in a recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health collected and analyzed data over 20 years from 120,000 US adults in their 30s, 40s and 50s. It found remarkable differences in how eating various foods and drinks, as well as engaging in certain lifestyle practices, determines whether or not people gain weight. According to The Washington Post, the findings provide enlightenment on why some people gradually put on weight over the years without realizing it.
Based on the results, researchers issued a list of the worst foods for weight loss. Topping the list of offenders was potato chips, which caused more weight gain than any other food. Next in line were potatoes prepared in any way, although French fries were especially weight producing. The other three most fattening foods consisted of sugar-sweetened drinks, red meat and processed red meat.
Data also showed that eating certain nutritious foods was associated with less long-term weight gain. The best foods for weight loss proved to be fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and yogurt. A direct correlation was found between the quantity of these foods consumed and weight, with the most servings associated with the least amount of weight gain. Lead author, Dr. Dariush Mazaffarian states that the yogurt finding was unexpected and deserving of further exploration.
While diet proved to be the strongest determining factor, certain lifestyle practices were found to play a role as well. Exercise was an important factor, as those who exercised the most showed less weight gain. Like earlier studies, the Harvard investigation found watching television had a stronger association with weight gain than other sedentary activities. Sleep was also an influence: those whose sleep quantity was less than six hours or greater than eight hours per night had a higher tendency to gain weight. Additionally, alcohol seemed to be effective in promoting weight gain.
The average weight gain for adults per year is one pound. This does not sound like much, but over the years, it adds up. Researchers conclude that long-term weight management can be achieved with a comprehensive approach, consisting of a healthy diet together with healthy lifestyle practices.
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