New thought-provoking study finds that not all calories are created equal…
I am one to always promote the quality of your calorie choices to help people lose weight and keep it off, but now a new study from the National Institutes of Health backs this up by finding that eating ultra-processed foods can lead to weight gain.
In a carefully controlled study published in Cell Metabolism, the researchers randomized people to consume either whole, unprocessed foods or ultra-processed foods that were matched for calories, sugar, carbs, fat, protein and sodium. Essentially, the only difference between the two diets came down to the amount of processing.
Results? People eating the ultra-processed foods gained weight over the two-week study while those eating whole, unprocessed foods lost weight.
This is great news. For years, we’ve had only speculation about an
association between ultra-processed food and obesity. But now we have
rigorous experimental evidence to explain it in a small and very well
What caused the weight gain? People eat more of ultra-processed foods. It’s theorized that they may not trigger satiety as much as unprocessed foods and there are many studies that suggest just that. In fact, one study looked at the satiety of an apple versus apple sauce versus apple juice. As you can imagine the apple was the most filling while the sauce was in between and the juice was the least satisfying. That’s the net effect of processing.
In Brazil, the county’s dietary guidelines specifically recommend limiting ultra-processed foods. While we aren’t there yet, here’s some wise advice: 1. Enjoy meals and snacks that consist predominately of minimally-processed plant-based foods. 2. Enjoy ultra-processed foods on occasion (a few times a month). 3. Eat out no more than a few times per week, as much of the food served away-from-home is ultra-processed.