Eating processed foods can lead to weight gain and is linked to higher rates of cancer and early death.
But it can be difficult to avoid these items when we’re busy or looking for something cheap to eat.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health recently developed unprocessed menus to feed patients at their diet research center. People who ate these meals lost weight and consumed less.
Those unprocessed-food menus included scrambled eggs with potatoes made from scratch, chicken, fish, bulgur, Greek yogurt, nuts, and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
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Here’s an experiment: Sit alone in a hospital room for two weeks and eat nothing but ultra-processed foods like hot dogs, muffins, canned ravioli, and chicken salad.
You probably wouldn’t love the results.
But that’s exactly what 20 men and women did in a recent, rigorously controlled study from the National Institutes of Health. Those participants ended up gaining an average of 2 pounds in those two weeks on this ultra-processed diet. They also consumed about 500 additional calories every day, compared to a different two-week period in which the same people followed an unprocessed meal plan.
The scientists behind the study — which was published Thursday — found that this discrepancy arose because patients who were fed processed meals tended to overeat, even though researchers controlled for how much salt, fat, sugar, protein, fiber, and carbohydrates each meal contained (regardless of whether it consisted of processed versus unprocessed items).
“This is the first time that we can actually say that there’s a causal relationship between something that’s independent of the nutrients … that is driving these differences in calorie intake and weight gain,” …read more
Source:: Business Insider