Highly processed food is linked to weight gain, a new study at the National Institutes of Health indicated.
The study focused on a group of 10 men and 10 women who lived at the NIH’s Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, for 28 days, with meals provided by the researchers.
The first two weeks, half of the participants had an ultraprocessed diet, including turkey bacon, chicken salad made with canned chicken, sweetened Greek yogurt, bagels with cream cheese and baked potato chips, while the other half ate a minimally processed diet such as meats and fish, whole fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts and oatmeal.
Participants switched diets in the second two weeks.
“We found people over-ate on average more than 500 calories a day on the ultraprocessed diet. They gained weight and gained body fat,” study author Kevin Hall said.
“This is the first study to show the nutrients on the nutrition facts labels aren’t the whole story. There’s something else about those ultraprocessed foods,” Hall told NBC news.
Blood tests also revealed that participants who were on a minimally processed diet produced more of a hormone called PYY that makes people feel full, and less of a hormone called ghrelin that triggers appetite.