Dietary Impact on Long-Term Weight Gain

You already know that several factors contribute to weight gain. Physical activity, TV-watching, sleep duration, and changes in specific foods and beverages can all have an effect. However, thanks to a series of three separate studies, Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers discovered that diet changes in particular, had the strongest associations with differences in weight gain.

Previous research focused on methods for weight loss after obesity has developed, but less is known about factors that cause long-term weight gain. An average adult gains about one pound per year, making it difficult to determine the specific factors involved.

Researchers involved in three separate studies evaluated changes in lifestyle and weight gain every four years over 12 to 20 years of follow-up. The studies showed that participants gained an average of 3.35 lbs during each four-year period, corresponding to a weight gain of 16.8lbs over the 20 year period.

Findings in all three studies revealed that foods associated with the greatest weight gain included:

  • Potato chips
  • Other potatoes
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Unprocessed meats
  • Processed meats

Foods associated with less weight gain when their consumption increased include:

  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Yogurt

In order to prevent long-term weight gain, the study suggests focusing on improving carbohydrate quality by eating less liquid sugars and refined grains, and focusing on eating more minimally processed foods and fewer highly processed foods. The study confirmed that an overall healthy diet, instead of just counting calories, is one of the most important factors in weight maintenance.

At 1513 Anti-Aging & Weight Loss, our weight loss plans for men and women focus helping you make the dietary changes that allow you to achieve, and then maintain your weight loss goals. You’ll benefit from the guidance of our weight loss experts, who provide the support you need to make long-term lifestyle changes. Call (706) 801-4132 to schedule your free consultation today.