Processed foods have long been blamed for a number of lifestyle diseases, including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, irregular sleep, anxiety and stress. Processed foods are those that are low in nutrition and high in empty calories, unhealthy fats, salt and sugar. Most of the junk foods served in restaurants and restaurant chains are made from processed foods and past research have linked these with obesity and weight gain. Now a new study has indicated that all our worries about the impacts of processed foods are true.The study looked at 'ultra-processed' foods and their impact on the human body and concluded that they make you eat more and consuming them is a formula for weight gain.
The study titled, "Ultra-Processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomized Controlled Trial of Ad Libitum Food Intake", was published in the journal Cell Metabolism. For the study, the researchers looked at 20 'weight-stable adults' with average age of 32 years and with a Body Mass Index of 27. These subjects were admitted at the NIH Clinical Center for a period of one month, and were divided into two groups- one was fed an ultra-processed diet, while the other group ate an unprocessed diet for a period of two weeks. The groups were then switched over to the other diet for the next two weeks to analyse the impacts of these on them. The participants were asked to eat as much or as little as they wanted to.
The meals were designed to be matched for presented calories, energy density, amount of sugar, sodium and fibre, as well as all essential macronutrients. While on the ultra-processed diet, it was observed that the participants ate a total of a whopping 508 calories per day and gained as much as 2lb or 1 Kg. The study concluded by saying, "...our data suggest that eliminating ultra-processed foods from the diet decreases energy intake and results in weight loss, whereas a diet with a large proportion of ultra-processed food increases energy intake and leads to weight gain. Whether reformulation of ultra-processed foods could eliminate their deleterious effects while retaining their palatability and convenience, is unclear."
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