When David suggested I read an article in The New York Times yesterday about weight-loss plans, I thought I’d scream. How many more articles, books, brochures and DVDs can possibly be published about what we should eat and how we should eat it? If the US is so jampacked with nutrition geniuses, how is it that we’re still so darn fat?
Alas, the article wasn’t about a specific diet, but about new, long-term research from Harvard University on the factors affecting weight gain. More than 120,000 men and women were followed in the study, for 12 to 20 years.
Among the revelations:
1. Say adios to the conventional wisdom that it’s ok to eat everything in moderation, eat fewer calories and stay away from fatty foods.
2. There really are bad foods and good foods and we need to eat less of the former and more of the latter.
3. Physical activity is important but eating the good foods is more important for weight control than physical activity. If you’re pretty active but eat the wrong foods, you’ll gain weight.
4. We all know the A foods by now: Veggies, fruits and whole grains. And the F foods: Fried foods, drinks loaded with sugar, red meats, sweets and desserts, refined grains, carbs and butter. Refined grains and carbs slow metabolism.
5. Increasing your intake of dairy products, including full-fat milk and cheese, doesn’t actually cause weight gain. And yogurt, peanut butter and nut lovers can actually lose weight, because these foods help ward off hunger longer. But overdoing any of these isn’t wise, either.
6. Lolling around and watching TV, sleeping less than six hours or more than eight a night, and drinking hard liquor also contribute to loss of weight control.
All quite logical, I think. But we’re not always logical, are we? And I don’t think Lay’s is going to lay off the production of potato chips or Coke its soda, just so we can be healthier, do you?