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Processed Foods May Contribute to Weight Gain

Posted: May 17, 2019

The choices we make during mealtimes can affect various aspects of our health. Is it better to have a salad at lunch, or a lean cut of chicken with vegetables? When you’re in a hurry, should you grab an apple or a granola bar? If weight management is a concern, you may rely on premade meals to save time and to help condition your eating habits. However, it may not work for everybody.

Medical News Today reports of recent research on the connection between ultra-processed foods and weight gain. Two groups of volunteers spent two weeks eating three meals a day – one group restricted to ulta-processed foods while the other ate meals with unprocessed foods. While both diets were matched for proteins, carbohydrates, sugars and other components, researchers found the ultra-processed group took in more calories and as a result gained more weight.

More details on the study’s findings are available at Medical News Today.

About Ultra-Processed Foods

Processed foods are commonly treated with preservatives and/or fortified with specific elements, often to ensure a long shelf life and to maintain flavor. Many processed foods are prepared ready-to-eat and packaged for later consumption. Such foods are processed at different levels. For example:

  • Certain prepared vegetables like carrot sticks and bagged salads are considered processed, though minimally so, due to their packaging.
  • Fruits and vegetables sealed in cans and frozen packages go through a level of processing to maintain freshness
  • Heavily processed foods – which are ready to eat or require some cooking prep – include frozen meals, sandwich meats, and snacks like crackers (Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)

Foods prepared for convenience, like bottled smoothies and juices and protein snack packs, go through processing as well. This includes certain foods marked as “diet”, which may contain added sugars and sodium and in turn affect your progress. If processed food is part of your menu, whether for convenience or other needs, it’s important to read the labels.

At Bon Secours Surgical and Medical Weight Loss, our team works with patients to determine the best options for their weight loss and maintenance. Non-surgical, medically-supervised programs help patients determine proper nutrition and fitness regimens. If you have questions about reaching your weight loss goals, we invite you to contact us today for more information.

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