Thursday, 23 June 2011

Study Says Food Quality Not Quantity Maintains Weight

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, has found that when it comes to keeping slim, it’s not the quantity of food we eat, it’s the quality and that calories should not be the main focus when trying to maintain your weight.

Three large-scale studies of US health workers, conducted by Professor Frank Hu, a nutrition expert at the Harvard School of Public Health, found that making small lifestyle changes including diet, sleep, exercise and alcohol intake, all had an effect on weight gain.

Weight watchers were advised to avoid all processed foods, including low-fibre breakfast cereals, white rice and white bread, potatoes and sweetened drinks, while eating only natural and unprocessed foods. This included wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and yogurt.

The study found that diet had a greater impact weight than either exercise or sleep duration. Researchers also found that people getting between 6-8 hours sleep each night gained less weight than those sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 8 hours.

Professor Hu said: “These findings underscore the importance of making wise food choices in preventing weight fain and obesity.”

The idea that there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods is a myth that needs to be debunked.

This is a shame as dieters have often been told that ‘a little bit of what you fancy’, or ‘everything in moderation’ is good for you. It also means that all those low calorie and reduced fat ‘bad foods’ such as biscuits and crisps, won’t help you lose weight!

Of course, most of us are well aware that cutting out processed and junk foods is good for health and losing weight. However, ‘healthy’ food can become boring after a while, so it’s always nice to have the option of ‘treating’ ourselves to something that’s considered not so healthy, but won’t harm our diet because it’s low in calories.

The fact is, if someone is inclined to eat more than their fill, then unless they’re stuffing in lettuce leaves, overeating on most foods will eventually cause weight gain. Obviously, the fresher and more natural the produce you’re eating, the better it will be for your health. But dieters are perfectly capable of losing weight while including a few low calorie treats here and there, as long as it's part of a calorie-controlled diet.


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