by Aaron Tabor
, MD Diet & Anti-Aging Expert
We all understand that healthy eating is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and has benefits for weight loss, weight control, and our overall health. However, healthy eating is a difficult habit for many of us to develop. Nonetheless, it is never to late to start developing healthy eating habits. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the relationships between specific eating habits and other lifestyle factors on weight gain in over 120,000 men and women. The results of this study can help us to develop healthy eating habits.
For this new research study, investigators followed 3 groups of healthy, non-obese study subjects for 12-20 years. Weight change every 4 years was analyzed in relation to dietary and other lifestyle factors. Factors linked to weight gain and weight loss are outlined below with the average amount of weight gained or lost per 4-year study interval in parentheses.
Diet & Lifestyle Factors Linked to Weight Gain
Diet & Lifestyle Factors Linked to Weight Loss
- Potato chips consumption (+1.69 lbs per 4 years)
- Potato consumption (+1.28 lbs)
- Sugar-sweetened beverages (+1.00 lb)
- Unprocessed red meats (+0.95 lb)
- Processed meats (+0.93 lb)
- Alcohol use (+0.41 lb per drink per day)
- Quitting smoking (+5.17 lbs)
- Sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 8 hours per night
- Watching television (+0.31 lb per hour per day)
- Eating yogurt (-0.82 lb per 4 years)
- Eating nuts (-0.57 lb)
- Fruit consumption (-0.49 lb)
- Whole grain consumption (-0.37 lb)
- Eating vegetables (-0.22 lb)
- Physical activity (-1.76 lbs)
While most of these changes are small, when combined these factors resulted in an average weight gain of just over 3 lbs every 4 years. This is certainly a gradual change and one that we might not notice right away. However, these factors result in many of us waking up one day and realizing that we somehow are now 20 lbs or 30 lbs (or more) heavier than we remember. Developing healthy eating habits and adopting other healthy lifestyle habits can help us to avoid that silent creeping weight gain.
Based on these results, healthy eating habits we could each adapt to help us maintain a healthy body weight through life include cutting back on foods like potato chips, potatoes, sugary drinks, red meat, and processed meats. One of the problems with these foods is that we often eat more than a single serving. Instead of eating a handful of chips, we eat half of a bag. Instead of eating a 3 to 4-ounce steak, we eat a 12- or 16-ounce steak. Developing healthy eating habits not only means cutting back on these items, it means choosing healthier options. Instead of choosing regular potato chips, try my Crispy Lace Non-Naughty Nibbles
that have less fat and boost your protein intake.
Other healthy eating
habits we can adopt to fight weight gain is to eat more yogurt, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. These are nutrient-dense foods that better help us meet our nutritional needs without loading us up with excess calories. In addition to these healthy eating options, this study confirms the importance of getting adequate amounts of exercise and the right amount of sleep. If you are looking to adopt healthy eating habits and an overall healthier lifestyle, consider adopting some of the tips outlined above.
Aaron Tabor, MD
Diet, Anti-Aging, and Nutritional Cosmetic Expert
Author of Dr. Tabor's Diet
and FIGHT NOW
Learn more about Dr. Tabor's diet and anti-aging research at www.DrTabor.com
Learn more about Dr. Tabor's breast cancer prevention book at www.fightBCnow.com
- Mozaffarian D, et al. Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. New England Journal of Medicine 2011; 364:2392-2404.