Eat, Move, Sleep?
Last week, unless you were in a cave in France, or at the very least, inaccessible to the television, the internet, radio or newspapers, you learned what 5 foods can make you gain weight, and what 5 foods can help you loose it.
The study was done at Harvard university and published in the New England Journal of Medicine,so no pun intended, it holds some weight in the world of fact versus sensationalism.
For those who missed it, the 5 foods they found that contribute to the most weight gain were potato chips, other forms of potatoes, sugar sweetened drinks, unprocessed red meat, and processed meats (think lunch meat, chicken nuggets, frozen entrees with meat to name a few).
Potatoes surprised me a little-the obvious potato chip and french fry connection is not hard to believe, but this study showed cooking style had little effect-just plain potatoes seemed to cause a gain in comparison to other starches. Taking a drink and adding sugar to your taste almost always ends in using less sugar than added to a processed drink. Some bottle drinks have over 12 teaspoons of sugar in one serving! As for processed meats many ingredients are added (sugar, sodium) for preservation and to extend shelf life, and fillers, colors, and other fun stuff that add calories too! Thanks but no thanks! A much healthier option is to cook a chicken, pork roast, whatever you want, and divvy it up for meals during the week-tacos, add to rice, make a soup or add to an omelette or casserole.
The five foods that seemed to promote weight loss were not surprising-fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and yogurts. Little difference was seen in the varying amounts of fat in certain foods-for instance, whole versus low fat milk. Also important, was the amount of television watching, and the amount of sleep. Six to eight hours seems to to be the optimal amount for keeping a healthy weight, while too much sleep and too little don’t help. May seem simple, right? The more you sleep, the less time you are moving around, possibly exercising, less sleep changes your metabolism also, and through a long complex process, change the way you metabolize what you do eat. Same goes for television. Unless you exercise while you watch t.v. which in theory sounds good, but I don’t know many who do.
Yogurt for the past 30 years has been touted as a health food (remember the monks in Swiss Alps eating it?), but only in the past 10-15 or so have we had so many brands,flavors, and styles (Greek, fruit on bottom, blended).
Nuts keep creeping up the healthy food list-they have “healthy” fat, fill you up, are a good protein source, and have a bundle of other nutrients.
Take away from this study? Less processed foods is best, adequate sleep and exercise, and don’t worry so much about if something is 3 grams of fat more than another. Don’t feel guilty having a potato chip, they are yummy! But you may have to work a little harder to enjoy them.
Laura Zurita is a Montgomery County mom of a 6 (and a half-don’t forget the half) year old, and wife of a picky eater. Her and her family love the Phillies, hiking, geocaching, and reading.