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Sometimes, the best clues are right in front of you. Over the years of my clinical work, I’ve asked patients and friends to look at old pictures of their family, from 50, 70 and 80 years ago, and tell me what they see that is different.
Do you know what they typically say?
They notice how much thinner their family members from a few generations ago were, compared with how they themselves (most of us) look today.
These photos are striking for showing what positive difference nutrition can make for people’s typical weight. And I am not trying to gloss over other issues from the past, romanticize it or cast a warm, fuzzy gaze towards it.
Family members from 50, 70, 80 years or more ago did not eat anywhere near the number of processed foods that most of us eat today. This might be a critical lifestyle difference in keeping weight in a healthier range, in losing weight and in avoiding gaining unwanted weight in the first place.
This study, discussed on NPR radio on 05.16.19, highlights a research study demonstrating the power of eating fresh foods as a base for daily nutrition. To summarize, the people in the study who ate fresh foods lost about 2 pounds a week; the people who ate processed foods gained about 2 pounds a week and felt pulled to overeat as well. Then the researchers had the people switch what they were eating. The results were the same for each group of people.
Click this link to hear the highlights of the study, the segment is less than 3 minutes long. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/05/16/723693839/its-not-just-salt-sugar-fat-study-finds-ultra-processed-foods-drive-weight-gain
Eating processed foods is probably part of why so many people in today’s world struggle with their weight.
And the whole thing doesn’t feel fair.
Yet if you really want to take control of your weight, your blood sugar and your health, you have to focus on eating fresh, wholesome, nutrient-dense foods. Eating anything else is risky, and can make it more likely you’ll experience problems with weight, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Nutrition is a foundational key for taking care of your health.
Take a moment to look at what you are eating every day, and see if you can find ways to eat more fresh foods and eliminate processed foods. It might make all the difference for your health and your waistline.
Eat fresh foods, from local sources, and organic as much as possible.
Reference: here’s the original research study, published in the Cell journal. The study is small and highly controlled. https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(19)30248-7