Which Foods Will Give You Most Weight Gain – and Loss?

June 29, 2011 by  
Filed under featured, Food & Nutrition, Health

This is one of those studies from the US that will either cheer you enormously, or cause you to rethink your shopping trolley. It seems that the humble potato crisp may be the most dangerous food for your hips.

The man responsible for this – and other news – is Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Schools of Medicine and Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. He has laid out weight-associated foods by the pound and has calculated that roughly half of the average 3.35 pounds a healthy, non-obese American gains over four years could be chalked up to eating more potato crisps – though he doesn’t say exactly hw many so does one small bag of Smith’s non-salted really count?!

His results were reported in the June 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and the foods most strongly associated with weight gain are these:

• Potatoes
• Sugar-sweetened drinks
• Unprocessed red meats
• Processed meats
• Alcohol

What is interesting to me is that there is little difference in his analysis between processed and unprocessed meats, but if you are looking to lose some pounds then over a four-year period the most weight loss was associated with these foods:

• Yogurt
• Nuts
• Fruits
• Whole grains
• Vegetables

This pretty much follows the well-known data that a vegetarian/vegan diet will generally help you lose weight and be healthier all round. In fact as we age, and tend to put on weight, such a diet may have only a slight creeping gain of 0.8 lb on average per year.

Two non-food items that will put on the weight are giving up smoking and too much television watching. If either of these is a factor for you then not surprisingly, physical activity will help you lost some of that extra weight effectively and healthily.

A Healthy Alternative:
If you want a savoury snack, then instead of crisps what about a brand new concept? Savoury Veatable bars are eaten fresh from the fridge and are soft and chewy. They only have 99 calories per bar and although I have to say I was not keen on the idea, once I tried one my favourite was the Tomato Pizza version which contains tomatoes blended with onions, cheese olive oil and mixed herbs and really was very tasty.

You might prefer the other two varieties: Roasted vegetable or Thai Sweetcorn. They are made from diced and roasted vegetables, 100% natural, gluten and wheat free, high in fibre and count as one of your five a day.

You should find them in health stores, or direct from www.veatable.co.uk.

And if you are serious about weight loss, make sure you get a good night’s sleep as a lack of it can slow the rate at which you burn calories, increase blood sugar levels and make you feel hungrier. Researchers at the University of Chicago recently studied a group of dieting men and women, some of whom had 8.5 hours sleep a night, the others just 5.5 hours, they found that those that got adequate sleep lost over 50% more weight than their sleep-deprived counterparts.

Time for a snooze, then?