They say you are what you eat and they can’t be wrong. The eating habits and foods we have directly affect our health and weight. That’s why one of the most important steps in keeping a strong health and a healthy weight is to eat as healthily as possible and at the right time. The number of overweight people and, thus, of those interested in reducing their weight, seems to increase despite all the information on nutrition and health we have at our disposal.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine identified a list of foods that are linked to weight gain or weight loss. The study is based on the analysis of data collected over 20 years from more than 120,000 U.S. men and women. The participants were not overweight and suffered from no chronic disease. The findings point to the importance of little diet tweaks to one’s health and weight. According to the author of the study, Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, associate professor in the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, “the path to eating fewer calories is not simply to count calories, but to focus on consuming a more healthy diet in general”.
Since what you eat counts a lot when it comes to the way you feel and look, we’ve gathered a list of the most important foods you should have or avoid when trying to reach a normal and healthy weight. Here are the foods the above-mentioned study found to trigger weight loss of weight gain.
It’s no news that fruits, just like vegetables, are the ones to go for no matter if you’re just interested in improving your health or reducing your weight, or both of them. Now, this doesn’t mean you should have any fruits, anytime and in any amount. Moderation is the key here. Remember that fruits contain sugar and if you increase your fruit intake or have them erratically and in big servings, you might not reach your weight loss and health goals. See your nutritionist to find out more about the fruits you should go for depending on your weight loss goals, the best time to eat them and other such information.
One thing is for sure, though. When consumed properly, (that is, the right amount at the right time and as part of a balanced diet), fruits can help you meet important nutritional needs, feel and look better.
Next, to fruits, you should also have veggies. Thanks to their high fiber and water content as well as important nutrients, vegetables will help you meet your nutritional needs and slim down. Several studies have found that eating veggies every day triggered a weight loss of approximately 0.22 pounds. Again, make sure you see your dietitian for a custom-made eating plan that includes the healthiest foods.
Nuts contain monounsaturated fats which experts say we should include more in our diets. They are part of the foods that helped people prevent weight loss during several study trials. The people who took part in the study we’ve mentioned above and ate nuts lost an average of 0.57 pounds. Now, remember, nuts are just one of the many healthy foods your diet should include. See your health care expert for more details on a balanced diet.
It seems that whole-fat dairy such as butter, cheese, and whole-fat milk is to be consumed in moderation. The people who participated in the study that focused on best and worst foods for weight loss gained 0.10 pounds when having such foods on a regular basis. Try low-fat dairy instead. The participants who had yogurt on a regular basis lost an average of 0.82 pounds. Ask your doctor’s advice on this one.
Well, if reducing your weight and boosting your health are the main characters on your goal list, you might want to avoid potato chips. Yes, they taste good but they won’t help you reach your health and weight loss goals. The participants who had them regularly gained 1.69 pounds. 1 oz. flat-cut of potato chips is the equivalent of 150 calories and studies have shown that potatoes, whether fried, boiled, baked or mashed, triggered weight gain.
If you want to boost your health and lose weight, then the first option is the one to go for. Whole grains have various health benefits. They will help your digestive system to function better, keep your cholesterol under control and help you lose weight as well. People who ate them regularly lost 0.37 pounds.
On the other side, we have refined grains like pasta, white bread and white rice which lack fiber and key nutrients. Consumed on a regular basis, they triggered a 0.39-pound weight gain in the people participating in the study.
Refined sugar is one of the biggest health and weight loss enemies. Therefore, if you want to improve your health and lose weight, it is better to cut back on sweets and sugar-based foods. Sugar-sweetened beverages are included. The participants who had sodas gained an average of one pound.
It seems that 100% fruit juice is not a great option either and it won’t help you as eating whole fruits does. People who had 100% fruit juice gained an average of 0.31-pound.
It’s quite obvious where sweets belong: bad food category. Cutting back on sweets is a smart step to take no matter if you want to lose weight or you just want to lead a healthier lifestyle. Participants who had sweets on a regular basis gained an average of 0.41-pound.
There are various reasons why processed foods such as bacon, hot dogs, and deli meat should be avoided or rarely consumed. The people who took part in this study gained an average of 0.93-pound when having such foods on a regular basis.
Always remember that a custom diet is the most successful diet. What works for some people might prove ineffective in the case of others. See your nutritionist for a personalized eating plan.