What You Eat Matters - Fat Loss vs. Weight Loss
Normally I illustrate my blogs with photos that define my point with humor or visual appeal. The albeit disgusting image above is not my usual tactic. But it drives home the point that what you eat matters. So look at it and weep. Fat loss is the key component to weight loss and better health through diet.
A recent Harvard study looked at weight gain over time in a non-obese population. They wanted to find out what lifestyle changes might prevent age related weight creep.
Participants ate three different types of diets over four years and consumed excess calories for research purposes. The participants on the low protein diet gained about half as much weight as those on the normal and high protein diets, but the amount of body fat for the participants in all three groups increased by approximately the same amount.
The body converts excess calories, whether from "good" foods or bad into fat. Eating more or less of any one food or beverage may change the total amount of energy consumed, but the magnitude of associated weight gain varied for specific foods and beverages.
It seems redundant to list high calorie foods that you should not eat. Indeed the study suggests that it is how much you eat rather than what you eat that is the culprit to fat creation. But reiterating here that the consumption of french fries leads to a a 3.4lb weight gain in four years may stop you from eating them. Potato chips, sugar drinks, red/processed meats, potatoes, desserts, refined grains, fried foods, 100% fruit juice and butter are all on the list of usual suspects. People increase their caloric intake of these foods because they are less satisfying when consumed.
Counter intuitively, the study states that dairy products (non-fat or regular) have a neutral effect on weight and that people who ate more yogurt and nuts had the greatest weight loss over the four year period. The conclusion: substituting more satisfying calories, even in greater quantities, reduces the intake of other higher calorie foods.
Another study result relates to the BMI index. BMI calculations are based solely on height and weight and may mislead doctors about obesity risk. When looking at health, fat reduction is more important than weight loss.
The conclusion was that changes of 50 - 100 calories per day will result in weight gains over time that modest changes in lifestyle can reverse. Our findings suggest that both individual and population-based strategies to help people consume fewer calories may be most effective when particular foods and beverages are targeted for decreased (or increased) consumption.
What you eat matters.