"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

How your weight loss program is linked to weight gain in midlife

September 28, 2023 – The message about midlife weight gain might be familiar: Avoid excessive sugar, starchy vegetables, and refined carbohydrates. At the identical time, eat more fruits, whole grains, and fiber-rich green leafy vegetables.

A brand new large study confirms these recommendations, but researchers have also calculated how the quantity increases on average And The quality of your weight loss program can affect weight gain over time.

For example, consuming an extra 100 grams of starch per day from vegetables akin to corn, green peas or potatoes resulted in 3.3 kilos more weight gain over a four-year period. In contrast, adding 10 grams more fiber per day was related to a simultaneous weight gain of 1.75 kilos. (For comparison, a medium russet potato weighs about 170 grams, a cup of green peas weighs 150 grams, and an ear of corn weighs about 100 grams.)

The researchers found that obese women gained more weight in comparison with men.

Not all vegetables are the identical

The results are generally consistent with previous research, said study creator Yi Wan, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow on the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston. But unlike many previous studies, Wan and colleagues distinguish between unfavorable, starchy vegetables and favorable, non-starchy ones. It also hasn't been widely reported that a bigger effect is present in people who find themselves obese, he said.

The study was published online within the magazine on Wednesday BMJ.

Researchers also checked out added sugar consumption, including sugary drinks. Adding 100 grams of sugar per day (about 24 teaspoons or about three 12-ounce cans of soda per day) resulted in a weight gain of nearly 2 kilos over a 4-year period.

“The quality and source of carbohydrates is critical for long-term weight control, especially for people who are already overweight,” Wan said. “Switching from low-carbohydrate food sources to high-quality sources can support efforts to control body weight.”

In particular, moving away from added sugars, sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains and starchy vegetables and toward adding whole grains, fruits and non-starchy vegetables might help, he said.

The advantages could transcend less weight gain in midlife, Wan said: “Other studies have shown that this switch would also reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.”

Wan and his colleagues followed 136,432 men and ladies who were healthy and younger than 65 years old after they took part in certainly one of three long-term studies in 1986 or 1991. The researchers checked their health, weight loss program and well-being every two to 4 years for twenty-four years.

Overall weight gain was common. On average, people gained 3.3 kilos every 4 years, or 19.4 kilos over 24 years.

The council just isn't against potatoes

“People can take away from this study that a diet rich in non-starchy vegetables and whole grains can lead to a healthier weight,” said registered dietitian Kristen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who was not involved within the study. “This study supports my current practice with clients trying to maintain a healthier weight.”

The researchers aren't recommending that individuals hand over all peas, corn and potatoes, said registered dietitian Jessica Alvarez, PhD, “but rather be sure to include other vegetables.”

This research reinforces the messages that health experts are telling us, said Alvarez, a spokesman for the Obesity Society, “and they show it in a very large, well-designed study.”

Some messages about nutrition and weight management may be oversimplified or misleading, she said. But this study supports the “tried and tested” advice of eating whole grains and leafy greens. “I think that needs to be emphasized more often than it is.”

Smith had just a few reservations. The research focused on stopping weight gain, not weight reduction. Additionally, the study was an observational design, meaning that the associations between food quantity and quality and weight gain weren't cause-and-effect relationships. Wan and colleagues also noted that participants self-reported their weight loss program, which can also be a possible limitation.

Alvarez said research like this might help individuals who want to achieve less weight in midlife to regulate their weight loss program. For example, someone can have already reduced the surplus sugar of their weight loss program but continues to eat a whole lot of starchy vegetables. This gives them a probability to “see what you're eating more or less of and try to optimize it.”