Keeping the Weight Off

What habits are associated with a lower likelihood of weight gain over time?

It is clear that certain dietary and exercise habits contribute to our likelihood of weight gain. In a prospective study following hundreds of thousands of non-obese, healthy nurses’ diet and exercise patterns over 12-20 years, several statistically significant associations arose.

Dietary habits particularly associated with long-term weight gain:

  • consumption of potatoes (largest magnitude of effect)
  • sugar sweetened beverages
  • red meat consumption

Dietary factors associated with long-term weight loss:

  • eating various nuts
  • incorporating whole wheat
  • yogurt consumption
  • consumption of fruits and veggies

Other lifestyle factors:

  • people who exercised had much less weight gain
  • those that slept less than 6 h per night or more than 8 h per night had more weight gain
  • excess television time was associated with greater weight gain

Findings from the Look AHEAD trial agree with these points. Specifically, people who maintained their weight loss tend to:

  1. continue to exercise even after a goal weight was achieved
  2. continue to attend sessions with health care providers
  3. And finally, not surprisingly, tended to eat less calories.

References:

  1. Mozaffarian D, Hao T, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB. “Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Men and Women.” NEJM. June 2011. 364:2392-404.
  2. Wadden, T et al. Four Year Weight Losses in the Look AHEAD Study: Factors Associated with Longterm Success. Obesity. 2011 October ; 19(10): 1987–1998.

 

 

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