Processed foods have long been linked to shorter life spans and increased cancer cases.
Groundbreaking research from the US National Institutes of Health suggests for the first time that the relationship is causal: no matter how nutritious they are, processed foods lead people to eat more and gain weight.
Scientists still aren’t sure why this is the case, but they think there may be something unique about the way our hormones interact with processed foods. Plus, we typically eat them faster than unprocessed meals, which means the body has less time to stop and register when it’s full.
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Too much sugar, too much salt, and too much fat.
We’ve all been told for years that these are the culprits responsible for soaring obesity rates and expanding waistlines.
But new groundbreaking research performed at a state-of-the-art nutrition lab in Maryland reveals the nutritional value of what we eat may not matter nearly as much as how fresh our food is in the first place.
Nutrition experts at the National Institutes of Health have some of the first evidence (published Thursday in the journal Cell Metabolism) that there is something inherently bad about the way our bodies take in processed, ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat foods, and it makes us eat substantially more food every day and get fatter over time than we would if we were eating fresh, home-cooked meals more regularly.
“I was surprised that we actually saw a very large effect,” lead researcher Kevin Hall from the National Institutes of Health told Business Insider.
Researchers turned people into lab rats to better study their eating behaviors
For the study, Hall did something unusual: he put human participants into a hyper-controlled laboratory setting, where they ate all their meals in isolation for 28 days under strict medical observation. All the while, scientists measured changes in the participants’ insulin sensitivity, appetite, glucose, and a host of other metabolic and physical measurements.
Researchers at the Bethesda Metabolic Clinical Research Unit enrolled just 10 men and 10 women into the study, feeding the participants both ultra-processed and fresh diets in two week increments.
Some participants used their lab time to study for board exams, while others simply played video games, Hall said.
“People often think of this as a way to kind of take time away from the day-to-day stresses of everyday life, and focus on something, and have all their meals prepared for them,” he said.
The patients’ diets were precisely matched, so that regardless of whether people were offered processed or unprocessed meals, they were given exactly the same amount of protein, fat, carbs, salt, and sugar to eat. Participants were instructed to eat as much food as they liked within allotted 60-minute meal windows. They spent two weeks eating a processed diet, and then switched and did two …read more
Source:: Business Insider