Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pound for Pound, Worst Foods for Weight Gain

In a little more than three months, 36-year-old Francisco Lovera managed to do what he never thought he could: He lost more than 30 pounds off his formerly 210-pound frame.

While enrolled in a weight loss program at the Alpert Medical School at Brown University in Providence, R.I. , he learned how to make gradual lifestyle changes that led him to weight loss success.

"I learned all the benefits of having a balanced diet and more physical activity," he said. "I didn't starve myself or spend three hours a day at the gym."

In addition to exercising, he cut down on a number of foods, including meat, tortilla chips and sugary beverages, and started eating more fruits and vegetables.

The foods Lovera cut out of his diet are among those that have made the biggest change in his weight for years to come, according to a new study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.

The researchers looked at three separate studies over a 20-year period that included more than 120,000 people to see how their lifestyle affected their weight change over every four years. Researchers identified the amount of weight gained based on the specific type of food the participants said they ate regularly.

"We know that when people gain weight, they've got a problem with energy balance -- they're eating too much or they're using too few calories in exercise," said Dr. Rena Wing, a professor of psychiatry at Brown's Alpert Medical School who was not involved in the study. "But this article went beyond the general statement to pinpoint specific eating behaviors that might be the culprits."

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