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A New England Journal of Medicine study (June 23, 2011, pp 2392-2404) found the following foods most conducive to weight gain:

FOOD, WEIGHT GAIN IN A 4- YEAR PERIOD:

-Potato chips: 1.69 lb
-Potatoes: 1.28 lb
-Sugar-sweetened beverages: 1.00 lb
-Unprocessed red meats: 0.95 lb
-Processed meats: 0.93 lb

These foods led to weight loss:

FOOD, WEIGHT LOSS IN A 4-YEAR PERIOD:

-Yogurt: 0.82 lb
-Nuts: 0.57 lb
-Fruits: 0.49 lb
-Whole grains: 0.37 lb
-Vegetables (not potatoes): 0.22 lb

Other lifestyle factors affected weight, as follows:

Over a 4-year period:

-Exercise- most active 20% versus least active 20%: 1.76 lb weight loss
-Alcohol use, weight gain per drink per day: 0.41 lb weight gain
-Smoking- new quitters: 5.17 lb weight gain
-Television watching – weight gain per hour per day: 0.31 lb weight gain
-Sleep – more weight gain occurs with less than 6 or more than 8 hours daily.

Points of interest:

  1. A large baked potato contains 278 calories, compared with 500-600 calories in a large serving of French fries.
  2. In a 33 year period, average dietary intake of calories increased 22% in women and 10% in men.
  3. Sleep deprivation increases weight by changing the sensation of hunger, increasing desire for calorie-dense, high carbohydrate foods, and altering expression of the hunger and satiety hormones leptin and ghrelin.
  4. Between 1965 and 2002, U.S. beverage consumption increased from 11.8 to 21% of all calories, 222 more calories per person per day. Sugar-sweetened beverages accounted for 60% and alcohol for 32% of the increase.

My own recommendations: Drink only water and green tea, which contain no calories, and one cup of coffee a day, if you need it, without sugar and without cream. Exercise, of your choice, 30 minutes a day or more, every day.

Allan Sosin MD

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