Heavily processed foods cause overeating and weight gain, study finds
Leisure Opportunities
Job search
Job Search
see all jobs
Latest job opportunities
Wood Hall Hotel and Spa
Competitive salary plus benefits
Wood Hall Hotel & Spa, Wetherby
Oundle School
£17.79 per hour
Oundle, Peterborough, UK
The K Club
Competitive
Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
Norton House Hotel and Spa
Competitive salary plus benefits
Norton House Hotel & Spa
Water Babies
Competitive Salary + benefits
Devon, UK

Heavily processed foods cause overeating and weight gain, study finds

Job opportunities
Grand Jersey Hotel and Spa
Competitive salary plus benefits
location: Grand Jersey
The K Club
Competitive
location: Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
Strip Wax Bar & Boutique
Competitive Salary and Benefits
location: London, UK
more jobs

People eating ultra-processed foods ate more calories and gained more weight than when they ate a minimally processed diet, according to results from a National Institutes of Health study.

The difference occurred even though meals provided to the volunteers in both the ultra-processed and minimally processed diets had the same number of calories and macronutrients. The results were published in Cell Metabolism.

This small-scale study of 20 adult volunteers, conducted by researchers at the NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), is the first randomized controlled trial examining the effects of ultra-processed foods as defined by the NOVA classification system. This system considers foods "ultra-processed" if they have ingredients predominantly found in industrial food manufacturing, such as hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, flavoring agents, and emulsifiers.

Previous observational studies looking at large groups of people had shown associations between diets high in processed foods and health problems. But, because none of the past studies randomly assigned people to eat specific foods and then measured the results, scientists could not say for sure whether the processed foods were a problem on their own, or whether people eating them had health problems for other reasons, such as a lack of access to fresh foods.

"Though we examined a small group, results from this tightly controlled experiment showed a clear and consistent difference between the two diets," said Kevin D. Hall, Ph.D., an NIDDK senior investigator and the study's lead author. "This is the first study to demonstrate causality – that ultra-processed foods cause people to eat too many calories and gain weight."

For the study, researchers admitted 20 healthy adult volunteers, 10 male and 10 female, to the NIH Clinical Center for one continuous month and, in random order for two weeks on each diet, provided them with meals made up of ultra-processed foods or meals of minimally processed foods. For example, an ultra-processed breakfast might consist of a bagel with cream cheese and turkey bacon, while the unprocessed breakfast was oatmeal with bananas, walnuts, and skim milk.

The ultra-processed and unprocessed meals had the same amount of calories, sugars, fiber, fat, and carbohydrates, and participants could eat as much or as little as they wanted.

On the ultra-processed diet, people ate about 500 calories more per day than they did on the unprocessed diet. They also ate faster on the ultra-processed diet and gained weight, whereas they lost weight on the unprocessed diet. Participants, on average, gained 0.9 kilograms, or 2 pounds, while they were on the ultra-processed diet and lost an equivalent amount on the unprocessed diet.

"We need to figure out what specific aspect of the ultra-processed foods affected people's eating behaviour and led them to gain weight," Hall said. "The next step is to design similar studies with a reformulated ultra-processed diet to see if the changes can make the diet effect on calorie intake and body weight disappear."

For example, slight differences in protein levels between the ultra-processed and unprocessed diets in this study could potentially explain as much as half the difference in calorie intake.

"Over time, extra calories add up, and that extra weight can lead to serious health conditions," said NIDDK Director Griffin P. Rodgers, M.D. "Research like this is an important part of understanding the role of nutrition in health and may also help people identify foods that are both nutritious and accessible – helping people stay healthy for the long term."

While the study reinforces the benefits of unprocessed foods, researchers note that ultra-processed foods can be difficult to restrict. "We have to be mindful that it takes more time and more money to prepare less-processed foods," Hall said. "Just telling people to eat healthier may not be effective for some people without improved access to healthy foods."

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
People eating ultra-processed foods ate more calories and gained more weight than when they ate a minimally processed diet, according to results from a National Institutes of Health study.
HAF,SAB,CPW,CAS,RES
imagesX/THUMB341886_180457_585573.jpg

More News

1 - 15 of 38,718
24 May 2019
Female-friendly fitness operator Sweat! has closed its doors, just nine months after it revealed ambitious plans to roll out a network of in-store gyms at ... More
24 May 2019
Chinese studio Towodesign have completed work on Dr. Bravura – a health-centric eatery in Shanghai that specialises in a unique delicacy: bird's nests. The 119 ... More
23 May 2019
Online travel marketplace Airbnb has teamed up with genetic testing company 23andMe to make the finding of heritage travel experiences based on DNA tests simpler. ... More
23 May 2019
Connacht Rugby has been granted full planning permission for the €30m redevelopment of its Sportsground stadium in Galway, Ireland. The project will include a full ... More
23 May 2019
Spa Voyage, a UK-based distributor of natural beauty products, has partnered with cancer charity The Amethyst Trust to launch the Specialist Cancer Massage Course. Set ... More
23 May 2019
Gwynedd Council in north Wales has set up a new company to operate leisure facilities in the region. Byw’n Iach – a company limited by ... More
STA
STA
22 May 2019
Balance training is increasing in popularity among fitness operators and users. The emergence of balance training as a growing trend was identified by HCM in ... More
22 May 2019
There will be more guaranteed play at this year's Wimbledon Tennis Championships – thanks to the completion of a three-year project to cover the famous ... More
21 May 2019
High-end boxing gym brand BXR is looking to roll out an expansion of its Sweat by BXR group exercise concept in the UK, with founder ... More
21 May 2019
Sports psychologist Jeremy Snape and Olympic gold medallist Amy Williams are among the keynote speakers at this year's Active Uprising. Snape will draw on insights ... More
21 May 2019
The Co-operative Group (Co-op) will invest a "multi-million-pound" sum to help create a network of street gyms in areas impacted by knife crime. Working in ... More
21 May 2019
There is nothing new in facility operators reconfiguring underused sports courts as gyms and exercise studios in order to cater to changing demands. Monmouthshire County ... More
Focus Training
Focus Training
20 May 2019
A new collaboration between Sport England, think tank Demos and care and housing provider Anchor Hanover looks to get the over 55s in the UK ... More
20 May 2019
UK-based The Massage Company (TMC) has signed a deal with FranGlobal, Asia’s largest franchise reseller, to open 50 massage centres across India, potentially delivering up ... More
20 May 2019
Exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on people's mental health, but is the health club sector doing the most it can, both ... More
Alliance Leisure
Alliance Leisure
1 - 15 of 38,718
Christie + Co
Christie + Co