The Latest Research

The Latest Research

I’ll occasionally show you information about interesting research results that can help keep us all focused on how we should be living our lives to obtain and maintain a healthy weight. This one is from today’s New York Times: Click here for article

While the results may not be a big surprise, it’s always nice to have these concepts reinforced. The Nurses’ Health Study and The Health Professionals Follow-up Study have been going on for years. A group at Harvard Medical School (Walter Willett of The Mediterranean Diet is the best known) have studied thousands of men and women over time to find out what they eat, how they live, etc. and what health problems they have developed. Some pieces of this have been ongoing since 1976.

So what’s the big news?

As people reported changes in eating habits over time, the following results were seen:

Increasing the amounts of fruits, veggies, nuts, low-fat yogurt, whole grains, and diet soda in their diet was associated with decreases in weight over time.
For people who increased whole-fat dairy, potatoes* in any form, refined grains, sugar-sweetened beverages, 100% fruit juice, sweets, desserts, processed meats, unprocessed red meats, trans fats, and fried foods, the scale went up over time.
You can say: Duh! if you want. But for me, this is a reminder that there’s no short-term game here. This is permanent lifestyle change. In general, it does not speak of absolutes. Also the data don’t suggest that everyone must entirely give up some of the delicious refined grains, sweets, etc. (However, for some individuals, there may be reasons to swear off certain foods. More about that later. . .)

*By the way, in the original research article, the authors don’t specify white versus sweet potatoes. From what I know about this field, I suspect that the effect is due to white potatoes. Sweet potatoes have so much fiber that they act more like a whole grain than like a potato.