The Right Combination of Foods Best for Preventing Weight Gain

A new study adds to the idea that calorie counting is not the most effective strategy against weight gain - but that eating the right types of foods is perhaps more important.

Researchers from Tufts University found that diets with a high glycemic load - including foods like refined grains, sugars and starches - were linked to more weight gain.

While this finding isn't exactly novel, the researchers then went on to see how changes in protein and dairy consumption might prevent weight gain in the first place.

What to emphasize vs. what to void

The study found that increased red meat consumption was closely associated with weight gain, while consumption of foods like yogurt, seafood, skinless chicken and nuts was associated with weight loss.

Full-fat cheese, whole milk and other dairy products weren't associated with either weight gain or weight loss, suggesting that fat content in food may not be an important factor when it comes to long-term weight gain.

"In fact, when people consumed more low-fat dairy products, they actually increased their consumption of carbs, which may promote weight gain," said first author Jessica Smith, Ph.D. "This suggests that people compensate, over years, for the lower calories in low-fat dairy by increasing their carb intake."

Perhaps most importantly, researchers found that decreasing consumption of high-glycemic foods while increasing foods like red meat or full-fat dairy was linked to weight loss.

Senior author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian elaborated:

Our findings suggest we should not only emphasize specific protein-rich foods like fish, nuts, and yogurt to prevent weight gain, but also focus on avoiding refined grains, starches, and sugars in order to maximize the benefits of these healthful protein-rich foods, create new benefits for other foods like eggs and cheese, and reduce the weight gain associated with meats.

The study is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Source: Tufts University

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