A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health followed more than 120,000 people over the course of as many as 20 years, to see what they ate and how it affected their weight. Some of the findings are surprising, including these: Nuts and yogurt were most closely correlated with weight loss. And potatoes of any kind caused the most weight gain.
We’re happy to see that Harvard has finally caught up with Cenegenics! It’s not a surprise that potatoes cause weight gain, as they’re a high glycemic (sugary) food and nuts are not. Nuts have “good” fats that fill us up and are healthy in moderation. Look for the low or no sodium options, roasted or raw nuts—almonds, walnuts, pistachios, as long as they’re not covered in salt or sugar, they’re good for you.
We’ve also recommended yogurt as part of a healthy diet to our patients for years, but take it one step further and recommend Greek yogurt, which has higher amounts of healthy bacteria and protein (and calcium). The types of bacteria in our colon affect our bodies’ state of inflammation and therefore weight gain, so healthy bacteria can work to our advantage.
Potatoes, or any other refined carbohydrates—like white bread, refined flour, rice, and so on—lead to weight gain because they are rapidly broken down in our bodies into sugar, quickly absorbed into the blood, and removed rapidly by the action of insulin. They are the very definition of high glycemic index foods, or foods that are quickly broken down into sugars by the body. We recommend a low glycemic eating program, including nuts and yogurt, whole grains, vegetables, and high fiber, high protein food.
If you’re trying to stick to a low glycemic eating program, whether your goal is to lose weight or just feel healthier, you don’t have to feel deprived. If you’re used to a “meat and potatoes” kind of meal and feel resistant to the idea of losing the potatoes, there are some great “starch substitutes” that taste good and will keep you feeling full longer. Try boiling and mashing cauliflower as you would white potatoes (use olive oil instead of butter and leave out the milk or cream). Sweet potatoes are chock full of beta carotene and are a “healthy” starch; slice and bake in the oven with olive oil and sea salt. You can also venture into the world of whole grains easily, as they now have healthy boxed easy-to-make grains like quinoa, bulgur, barley, and brown rice that can be just as tasty as the potatoes you’re used to with a bit of olive oil, garlic, or other healthy seasonings.
Low glycemic foods have multiple benefits, one of which is weight loss or weight maintenance, but they also keep your blood glucose at steady levels throughout the day, which keeps your energy level up, help maintain hormonal balance, and prevent cravings for unhealthy foods.
Cenegenics Carolinas is a first class medical institute based in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina, that helps patients manage the aging process through a personalized plan of fitness, nutraceutical supplementation, a low glycemic diet and bioidentical hormone optimization. Read more about Cenegenics Carolinas Men’s Health and Women’s Health programs..