Weight loss: Study finds overeating does not cause obesity

If you’re overweight, you shouldn’t actually be eating less—you should be eating better.

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For years, we’ve been under the impression that eating more calories than you expend naturally leads to weight gain. However, researchers are now challenging this energy balance model as they believe that the whole message of eating less and exercising more is proving to be futile. They’ve found, through a new study, that weight gain has less to do with overeating and more to do with the kinds of food you’re putting into your body.

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The paper, which was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, outlines an alternate model that offers a better understanding of obesity, along with long-term strategies to combat the rising problem—the carbohydrate-insulin model.

What is the carbohydrate-insulin model?

Dr. David Ludwig, an endocrinologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, explains that when you eat highly processed carbohydrates, ‘the body increases insulin secretion and suppresses glucagon secretion.’ As a result, the process tells fat cells to store more calories than necessary. Subsequently, our muscles and other tissues do not have the sufficient amount of calories to stay active. Dr. Ludwig continues:

The brain perceives that the body isn't getting enough energy, which, in turn, leads to feelings of hunger. In addition, metabolism may slow down in the body's attempt to conserve fuel. Thus, we tend to remain hungry, even as we continue to gain excess fat.

Making changes in your diet

In order to lose weight with both ease and success, he believes that individuals should be 'reducing consumption of the rapidly digestible carbohydrates.’

These foods include white bread, white rice, pasta, sugar, sodas, and sugary breakfast cereals.

In the study, authors have recommended replacing these kinds of foods with high-fat foods instead, like nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil. They wrote:

A practical strategy is to substitute high-GL foods (refined grains, potato products, concentrated sugars) with high-fat foods (e.g., nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil), allowing for moderate intake of total carbohydrate from whole-kernel grains, whole fruits, and legumes and nonstarchy vegetables.
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