A new report from Harvard researchers has found the top foods that are making us fat, and the findings are not at all surprising.
The extensive study used data for over 120,000 healthy men and women from previous studies to track their diet every four years from 1986 to 2006 to see how their lifestyle and what they ate affected their weight. The researchers found that within each period the average weight gain was a little over three pounds — which added up to a 17-pound total weight gain over the 20-year period.
What caused that weight gain? Topping the list of culprits are meat, sweetened drinks, fried foods, and any form of potatoes. The biggest cause of weight gain was eating french fries; every extra serving of fries eaten in a day was linked to a gain of more than three pounds, while eating an extra serving of potato chips led to 1.69 pounds. Other diet busters included refined grains (like white rice and white bread) and butter.
But the news wasn't all bad; the study also identified the foods that helped prevent weight gain. Read on for the list of foods that cause and prevent weight gain.
Worst food offenders (pounds gained for every additional serving per day over four years):
- French fries (over three pounds)
- Potato chips (1.69 pounds)
- Potatoes (1.28 pounds)
- Sugar-sweetened drinks (one pound)
- Red meat (0.95 pounds)
- Processed meats (0.93 pounds)
Best foods for your waistline (amount of weight gain prevented for every additional serving):
- Yogurt (-0.82 pounds)
- Nuts (-0.57 pounds)
- Fruits (-0.49 pounds)
- Whole grains (-0.37 pounds)
- Vegetables (-0.22 pounds)
The results show us what everyone knows — eating junk food and starchy foods can be bad news for your waistline — but the data are useful for quantifying just how much that extra bag of chips can hurt you, as well as how making the switch to whole healthy foods can help. Ready to make those changes? Here are whole grains that'll fight belly bloat and keep you feeling full, and everything you need to know about nuts.