New Study Weighs In: Fill Up with Foods That Won’t Fill You Out
I hope we’re all on board in ascribing to the idea that there is no magic pill when it comes to managing weight; a healthy diet and physical activity are king. A new study from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine validates this notion and also offers some specifics on what we should do to fill up without filling out.
The study followed more than 120,000 healthy men and women over the course of 20 years, monitoring the relationship between lifestyle habits (diet, exercise, sleep patterns, etc.) and weight change.
The results showed the biggest dietary culprits contributing to weight gain (for a 4-year period) were:
#1 Potato chips: +1.69 lbs
#2 Potatoes: +1.28 lbs
#3 Sugar-sweetened beverages: +1.00 lbs
#4 Unprocessed red meats: +0.95 lbs
#5 Processed meats: + 0.93 lbs
Surprisingly, researchers also found that some foods can help manage your weight. Foods with an inverse relationship to weight and weight change over a 4-year period include:
#1 Yogurt: - 0.82 lbs
#2 Nuts: - 0.57 lbs
#3 Fruits: - 0.49 lbs
#4 Whole grains: - 0.37 lbs
#5 Vegetables: - 0.22 lbs
The authors speculated that including more of the nutrient dense foods (i.e. nuts, yogurt, etc.) causes us to fill up less on potato chips, sugary beverages and meats leading to reduced calorie intake.
This research adds to the mounting evidence showing that nuts, like pistachios, can play a role in weight management. Pistachios are considered the “Skinny Nut.” Research from behavioral eating expert James Painter, PhD, RD, of Eastern Illinois University, shows that in-shell pistachios take longer to eat, encouraging snackers to slow down and be more conscious of what they’ve eaten, resulting in a 41 percent decrease in calorie intake compared to snacking on shelled nuts. Additionally, UCLA researchers found that snacking on pistachios versus pretzels led to better support in reaching body mass index goals.