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A simple diet may help reduce weight gain in middle age

A simple diet may help reduce weight gain in middle age

A simple diet may help reduce weight gain in middle age

A new study has found that making simple dietary swaps may help to control weight gain in middle age.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, suggests that people in middle age should swap potatoes and bread for carrots and spinach to help maintain a healthy weight as they age.

The study also found that eating more refined carbohydrates, such as sugary drinks, white bread, and potatoes, was linked to an increased risk of weight gain in middle age.

In contrast, eating whole grains, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables was associated with a lower risk of weight gain.

To investigate these findings, the study team looked at changes in body weight in a group of 136,432 people aged 65 years old over a 24-year period.

The data was collected from participants in three studies: the Nurses' Health Study, which ran from 1986 to 2010; the Nurses' Health Study II, which ran from 1991 to 2015; and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, which ran from 1986 to 2014.

At the time of enrollment, participants were free of cancer, diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, heart disease, respiratory problems, neurological disorders, or chronic kidney disease. They completed questionnaires about their lifestyle, medical history, and other health-related factors every two to four years.

The study authors found that participants gained an average of 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) every four years, for a total of 8.8 kilograms (19 pounds) over 24 years.

However, they also found that increasing daily intake of added starch by 100 grams was associated with a 1.5-kilogram increase in weight over four years, while adding added sugar was associated with a 0.9-kilogram increase.

The researchers also found that people who ate 10 grams more fiber per day gained less weight (0.8 kilograms), as did those who got their carbohydrates from whole grains (0.4 kilograms), fruits (1.6 kilograms), and non-starchy vegetables (3 kilograms).

In contrast, people who increased their intake of refined grains such as white bread gained 0.8 kilograms, as did those who ate more starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes (2.6 kilograms).

The associations were stronger in women and in those with overweight or obesity.

The study authors said the findings "highlight the potential importance of the quality and source of carbohydrates for long-term weight management."

They concluded that limiting added sugar, sugary drinks, refined grains, and starchy vegetables, in favor of whole grains, fruits, and non-starchy vegetables, may support efforts to control weight in middle age.

Here are some specific dietary tips for middle-aged adults who are looking to maintain a healthy weight:

  • Choose whole grains over refined grains. Whole grains provide more fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied.

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in nutrients.

  • Limit your intake of added sugar. Added sugar is found in many processed foods, including sugary drinks, candy, and baked goods.

  • Drink plenty of water. Water helps you feel full and can help you burn calories.

  • By following these tips, you can help reduce your risk of weight gain and improve your overall health.


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