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NIH Study Suggests Highly Processed Foods Drive Weight Gain

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

(North American Meat Institute)

A new study, conducted by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in the journal Cell Metabolism, concluded that eating a diet consisting of ultra-processed foods drives people to overeat and gain weight compared to diets made up of whole or minimally processed foods. Study participants given the ultra-processed diet ate an average of 508 calories more per day and ended up gaining an average of two pounds over a two-week period. People on the unprocessed diet, meanwhile, ended up losing about two pounds on average over a two-week period. The study found that ultra-processed foods such as breakfast cereals, muffins, white bread, sugary yogurts, low-fat potato chips, canned foods, processed meats, fruit juices and diet beverages caused a rise in hunger hormones compared to the minimally-processed food diet consisting of foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, grilled chicken, fish and beef, nuts and whole grains. NIH scientists recruited the subjects and assigned them to live in a research facility for four weeks. There they were fed both diets - a whole foods diet or an ultra-processed one, along with snacks in each category - for two weeks each and carefully monitored. They were instructed to consume as much or as little as desired.

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