Produce Promotes Long Term Weight Loss Success
Mary MacVean Los Angeles Times
New research has been tried to figure out what might help
postmenopausal women achieve long-term weight loss. And it turns out
that adding produce to their diet didn't show up as especially
helpful in the short term, but it mattered in the long term.
Researchers didn't find that eating fried chicken was just fine
as long as it came with a side of broccoli. What they found was that
some behaviors are hard to maintain forever, and adding produce
might be easier than avoiding all fried foods for the long haul.
"People are so motivated when they start a weight-loss program.
You can say, 'I'm never going to eat another piece of pie,' and you
see the pounds coming off," Bethany Barone Gibbs, the lead
investigator, said in a statement. "Eating fruits and vegetables may
not make as big a difference in your caloric intake. But that small
change can build up and give you a better long-term result, because
it's not as hard to do as giving up french fries forever."
The study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition
and Dietetics, looked at overweight postmenopausal women.
Barone Gibbs, an assistant professor at the University of
Pittsburgh department of health and physical activity, said several
factors work against long-term weight loss.
"Not only does motivation decrease after you start losing weight,
there are physiological changes, including a decreased resting
metabolic rate. Appetite-related hormones increase. Researchers
studying the brain are now finding that you have enhanced rewards
and increased motivation to eat when you've lost weight," she says.
A group of 508 women from the Pittsburgh area were divided into
two groups, one of which met regularly with nutritionists, exercise
physiologists and psychologists to reduce fat and caloric intake,
eat more produce and grains and exercise regularly. The second group
was offered some general health seminars.
The researchers looked at what happened after six months and
after four years. At four years, most of the intervention group had
lost some weight, compared with about a third of the other group.
Barone Gibbs noted that the women all had wanted to lose weight and
For the six-month mark, the researchers found that weight loss
was associated with eating fewer desserts and fried foods, drinking
fewer sugar-sweetened beverages, eating more fish and eating out
At the four-year mark, some of those things still mattered. But
eating more produce and less meat and cheese emerged as important
predictors of long-term weight loss.
"If the goal is to decrease the burden of obesity, the focus must
be on long-term strategies because changes in eating behaviors only
associated with short-term weight loss are likely ineffective and/
or not sustainable," the researchers wrote.
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