A dramatic new study has our team here at Stonyfield pretty excited. And no one more so than nutritionist Mary Kennedy! Mary works with us on improving nutrition in schools and healthcare settings. She helps us provide education about—and access to—healthy, sustainably produced food so we checked in with her to get the skinny on the new findings.
It seems there is more to the story of long-term weight management than simply eating less and moving more. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that specific foods may play an important role in helping to keep those pesky pounds from adding up over the years. Harvard researchers examined data from three large studies involving nurses and health professionals. In total, the dietary and lifestyle habits of over 120,000 people were examined at 4-year intervals for up to 20 years. Their results offer new insight on how specific food choices impact long-term weight gain.
The losers (foods that were associated with weight gain over time): potato chips, potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, unprocessed red meats, and processed meats.
The winners (foods that helped keep weight-gain in check over time): vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and…yogurt!
Hear more about the study from Dr. Roshini Raj, medical editor of Health magazine, and TODAY’s diet and nutrition editor, Madelyn Fernstrom.
Or, click here for more in-depth details.
This study is jam-packed with thought-provoking information. So much so, I wanted to share my “Top 5” reasons why I think this study is great news. (And why you should too!)
1. Starts to look at specifics. This study is a step forward in our long journey toward overcoming the obesity epidemic. It offers valuable insight into how we might continue to expand beyond the generic “eat less, move more” message.
2. Sends the message of quality over quantity. As a nutrition professional, I’ve long felt that quality ingredients are an important part of successful weight management; this study confirms my suspicion. The study suggests that maintaining a healthful weight is not simply about eating less junk food; it is about choosing healthful, quality, real foods that naturally contain the nutrients your body needs.
3. Sheds a new light on bacteria. We don’t generally associate bacteria with health, but it seems that we should! A growing body of evidence suggests that changes in colonic bacteria may impact on weight gain. The fact that yogurt was one of the foods associated with successful weight management adds even more credibility to this theory. Stay tuned!
4. Suggests that good choices are contagious. While the foods on the “winner” list do have inherent qualities that make them healthful, they still contain calories, and if eaten in excess, will lead to weight gain. However, it seems that eating more of these foods is associated with other good choices, such as eating fewer junk foods. This suggests that one good choice may lead to another… and another—driving home the message that every good choice truly can impact your journey toward long-term good health.
5. Makes a case for looking at organic. This study did not decipher between conventional and organic foods, but I think it is a step in the right direction. It moves away from the idea that healthful eating is all about calories and brings up the importance of the quality of those calories. Hopefully this will encourage people to also consider the quality of how those calories (i.e. foods) were produced.
HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE YOGURT INTO YOUR HEALTHY LIFESTYLE?
Family breakfasts? Everyday post-workout? In your favorite recipes? Tell us how you incorporate yogurt into your lifestyle by posting your answer in the comments below. Answer between now and Wednesday, July 6th at 12:00 p.m. EST and you’ll be entered to win a Stonyfield Cookbook! (We’ll randomly select three winners to receive a cookbook.)
Reference: Mozaffarian D, Hao T, Rimm EB, Willett WC, Hu FB. Changes in diet and lifestyle and long-term weight gain in women and men. N Engl J Med. 2011 June 23; 364(25):2392-404.