"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

How your eating regimen is linked to midlife weight gain

September 28, 2023 – The message about midlife weight gain might be familiar: Avoid excessive sugar, starchy vegetables, and refined carbohydrates. At the identical time, eat more fruits, whole grains, and fiber-rich green leafy vegetables.

A brand new large study confirms these recommendations, however the researchers also calculated how much And The quality of your food can affect weight gain over time.

For example, consuming 100 grams of starch per day from vegetables resembling corn, green peas or potatoes over a 4-year period resulted in a weight gain of 1.5 kilograms. In contrast, consuming 10 grams of fiber per day resulted in a weight gain of 700 grams. (For comparison, a medium-sized potato weighs about 170 grams, a cup of green peas weighs 150 grams and an ear of corn weighs about 100 grams.)

The researchers found that obese women gained more weight than men.

Not all vegetables are the identical

The results are generally consistent with previous research, said study writer Yi Wan, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow on the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston. But unlike many previous studies, Wan and his colleagues differentiate between unfavorable, starchy vegetables and favorable, non-starchy ones. There has also not been much reporting on a bigger effect in obese people, he said.

The study was published online on Wednesday within the magazine BMJ.

Researchers also checked out added sugar consumption, including sugary drinks. Adding 100 grams of sugar per day (about 24 teaspoons or about three 12-ounce cans of soda per day) resulted in a weight gain of nearly 2 kilos over a 4-year period.

“The quality and source of carbohydrates is critical for long-term weight control, especially for people who are already overweight,” Wan said. “Switching from low-carbohydrate food sources to high-quality sources can support efforts to control body weight.”

In particular, it could be helpful to avoid added sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains and starchy vegetables and as an alternative eat whole grains, fruits and non-starchy vegetables, he said.

The advantages could transcend reduced weight gain in midlife, Wan said: “Other studies have shown that this change would also reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.”

Wan and his colleagues followed 136,432 men and girls who were healthy and younger than 65 years old after they took part in one among three long-term studies in 1986 or 1991. The researchers checked their health, eating regimen and well-being every two to 4 years for twenty-four years.

General weight gain was common. On average, participants gained 1.5 kilograms every 4 years, or 8.9 kilograms over the 24 years.

The Council just isn’t against potatoes

“People can take away from this study that a diet rich in non-starchy vegetables and whole grains can lead to a healthier weight,” said registered dietitian Kristen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who was not involved within the study. “This study supports my current practice with clients trying to maintain a healthier weight.”

The researchers usually are not recommending that folks avoid peas, corn and potatoes altogether, says registered dietitian Dr. Jessica Alvarez, “but rather that they should make sure to include other vegetables in their diet.”

This research reinforces the messages that health experts are telling us, said Alvarez, a spokesman for the Obesity Society, “and they show this in a very large, well-designed study.”

Some messages about eating regimen and weight control might be oversimplified or misleading, she said. But this study reinforces the “tried and tested” advice to eat whole grains and leafy greens. “I think that needs to be emphasized more often than it is.”

Smith offered a number of caveats. The research focused on stopping weight gain, not weight reduction. Additionally, the study was observational, meaning the associations between food quantity and quality and weight gain weren’t cause-and-effect relationships. Wan and colleagues also noted that participants self-reported their diets, which is one other potential limitation.

Alvarez said research like this may help individuals who want to realize less weight in midlife adjust their eating regimen. For example, someone can have already reduced excess sugar consumption of their eating regimen but continues to eat quite a lot of starchy vegetables. This gives them the chance to “see what they're eating more or less of and try to optimize it.”