4 months ago
Fat isn’t fate, although it can sometimes feel like it’s your destiny to pile on the pounds as you get older. You may have come to believe that ageing makes weight gain inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s true that our bodies change as we get older, but by learning from the advice in a new study, which includes eating five foods in particular, you can hold back both the hands of time and the dial on the scale.
Anew Harvard study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine found that five foods are linked with lower weight gain and even weight loss. They are:
That seems simple enough, right? But before you rush off to the supermarket to fill your fridge with these five foods (and then your face!) we need to explain that it isn’t quite as simple as that.
No, we’re not going to tell you to do loads of exercise, because exercise isn’t as efficient at keeping weight off as you might think. It is definitely good for your health, and it is worthwhile, but the study reveals that it was only part of the equation. The other key points are reducing your intake of certain foods, getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night and not sitting in front of a screen quite so much.
The research also pointed to five foods that are strongly linked with weight gain, and according to Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, ”The message here is that the type and quality of food and beverage one eats are incredibly important.” He says that the new research, “…shows how multiple lifestyle factors, including diet, were related to long-term weight gain.”
How to Keep it Off
To get their results, researchers followed 120,000 participants, and every four years, they looked at who was gaining or losing weight and what they were eating and doing. The people in the study averaged a little over 3 pounds of weight gain in each four-year period, which added up to almost 17 pounds over 20 years.
5 Foods That Make You Fat
So, what were these people doing to gain weight? Most of them were eating these five foods:
Understanding the Findings
It didn’t seem to matter how much fat these people were eating. For instance, there wasn’t much difference between people drinking skimmed milk and full-fat milk, and it wasn’t just about calories, grams of fat, or carbs either. Weight gain seemed to have more to do with the quality of the food. Look at the foods in the weight loss list and you’ll see that they’re all good quality.
But the researchers weren’t sure why yoghurt was on the list, although they think it might have something to do with changes in gut bacteria. Or It might just be that people who like to eat yoghurt also have other healthy habits.
The research also showed that people who got six to eight hours of sleep every night didn’t gain as much weight as those who slept less than six or more than eight, and people who watched more TV tended to pack on more weight too.
”Small differences add up over time,” said Mozaffarian. If you eat the right foods every day then over 20 years you’ll reap the right results. Eat the wrong foods and you’ll slowly pick up that 17-pound weight gain, or maybe even more. But don’t worry too much about cutting out so-called bad foods entirely. If you like to eat processed meats and potato chips then do, but just not all the time.
Keeping the Weight off as You Age
It’s almost disappointing to realise that there isn’t anything magical about these five foods, but it’s almost magical to see what they can do for your weight over the long-term. In the study, the lower the amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and yoghurt people consumed, the more weight they gained.
Chances are that all the processed and sugary foods that our taste buds love have a habit of creeping up on us. Maybe as we get older we include a few more of them than we should, and over 20 years all of those extra portions can add up to make a difference. And let’s not forget that fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have a bulking effect that tends to make us feel fuller, and therefore less likely to snack on the sugary and processed stuff.
But, whatever the reason for their success in keeping weight off, or you need to remember is that they could be working to keep your weight down too over the next two decades.
Brian E. Murphy
Brian E. Murphy