“Making small, consistent changes to the types of protein-and carbohydrate-rich foods we eat may have a big impact on long-term weight gain, according to a study led by researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University in the USA. They found that people who increased intake of red meat or increased the glycemic load (GL) 1 of their diet gained more weight over 4 years than those who increased their intake of nuts, dairy foods, and legumes or decreased their GL. The study suggests there is more to weight gain than calorie intake, diet composition matters too. The results published in the The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” (Tufts University News Release, 2015)
Jessica Smith, Ph.D. corresponding author and fellow researcher said, “There is mounting scientific evidence that diets including less low-quality carbohydrates, such as white breads, potatoes, and sweets, and higher in protein-rich foods may be more efficient for weight loss. We wanted to know how that might apply to preventing weight gain in the first place.” (Tufts University News Release, 2015)
The research was based on more than 16 years of follow-up among 120,000 men and women from the results of three long-term studies. Smith et al. looked at the relationship between protein-rich foods and long-term weight gain every four years of follow-up. Their results found:
- Increasing intakes of red meat and processed meat were most strongly associated with weight gain.
- Increasing intakes of yogurt, seafood, skinless chicken, and nuts were most strongly associated with weight loss – the more people ate, the less weight they gained.
- Increasing other dairy products, including whole milk and low-fat milk, did not enough significantly relate to either weight gain or weight loss.
“The fat content of dairy products did not seem to be important for weight gain,” Smith said. “In fact, when people consumed more low-fat dairy products, they actually increased their consumption of carbs, which may promote weight gain. This suggests that people compensate, over years, for the lower calories in low-fat dairy by increasing their carb intake.” (Tufts University News Release, 2015)
The researchers noted interacting relationships between changes in protein-rich foods and changes in glycemic load1 of the diet. As an example, increasing the amount of food associated with weight gain, like red meat, and white bread raised the glycemic load. Decreasing in glycemic load1 by eating red meat with vegetables decreased the amount of weight gain as well.
For fish, nuts, and poultry like chicken there was an association with weight-loss. If the glycemic load were, also decreased weight-loss would be enhanced. Foods like eggs and cheese were not linked to weight change on average, but an increased intake in combination with an increased glycemic load1 are seen to cause weight gain. However, when eggs and cheese or increased in glycemic load1 decreased participants lost weight.
“Our study adds to growing new research that counting calories is not the most effective strategy for long-term weight management and prevention,” said senior author Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H. dean of the Friedman School. “Some foods help prevent weight gain, others make it worse. Most interestingly, the combination of foods seems to make a big difference. 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.” (Tufts University News Release, 2015)
This research relied on validated self-reported food questionnaires from three studies that enrolled doctors, and nurses and other healthcare professionals from across the U.S.
Excerpt is from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Go to hyperlink for full text.
The glycemic load (GL) of food is a number that estimates how much the food will raise a person’s blood glucose level after eating it. One unit of glycemic load approximates the effect of consuming one gram of glucose. Glycemic load accounts for how much carbohydrate is in the food and how much each gram of carbohydrate in the food raises blood glucose levels. Glycemic load is based on the glycemic index (GI), and is defined as the grams of available carbohydrate in the food times the food’s GI.
Glycemic load estimates the impact of carbohydrate consumption using the glycemic index while taking into account the amount of carbohydrate that is consumed. GL is a GI-weighted measure of carbohydrate content. For instance, watermelon has a high GI, but a typical serving of watermelon does not contain much carbohydrate, so the glycemic load of eating it is low. Whereas glycemic index is defined for each type of food, glycemic load can be calculated for any size serving of a food, an entire meal, or an entire day’s meals.
Glycemic load of a serving of food can be calculated as its carbohydrate content measured in grams (g), multiplied by the food’s GI, and divided by 100. For example, watermelon has a GI of 72. A 100-g serving of watermelon has 5 g of available carbohydrates (it contains a lot of water), making the calculation 5 x 72/100=3.6, so the GL is 3.6. A food with a GI of 100 and 10 g of available carbohydrates has a GL of 10 (10 x 100/100=10), while a food with 100 g of carbohydrate and a GI of just 10 also has a GL of 10 (100 x 10/100=10).
For one serving of a food, a GL greater than 20 is considered high, a GL of 11-19 is considered medium, and a GL of 10 or less is considered low. Foods that have a low GL in a typical serving size almost always have a low GI. Foods with an intermediate or high GL in a typical serving size range from a very low to very high GI.
Hoskins, I. (2015, April 10). Diet composition can affect long term weight gain. Retrieved June 8, 2015, from Nutrition and Food Sciences: http://www.cabi.org/nutrition/news/24369
Smith JD, Hou T, Ludwig DS, Rimm EB, Willett W, Hu FB and Mozaffarian D. “Changes in intake of protein foods, carbohydrate amount and quality, and long-term weight change: results from 3 prospective cohorts.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015; 101:1-9. Published online ahead of print April 8, 2015. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2015/04/08/ajcn.114.100867.abstract
Tufts University News Release. (2015, April 9). Choice of Protein- and Carbohydrate-Rich Foods May Have Big Effects on Long-Term Weight Gain – See more at http://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/choice-protein-and-carbohydrate-rich-foods-may-have-big-effects-long-term-weight-gain#sthash.mBCvjzF9.dpuf. Retrieved June 8, 2015, from TuftsNow: http://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/choice-protein-and-carbohydrate-rich-foods-may-have-big-effects-long-term-weight-gain
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