Replacing peas and corn with carrots and broccoli would be associated with less weight gain in the long term, reveals a study carried out by American researchers. The latter explain more broadly that increased consumption of carbohydrates from certain foods, such as vegetables rich in starch, can lead to greater weight gain around age 50.
Diet plays an important role in health, and on the development – or not – of many diseases. An association that is all the more important at a time when overweight and obesity are constantly increasing in certain regions, including Europe, where almost two thirds of adults and a third of children suffer from it, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The world health authority specifies that “Obesity is among the main determinants of mortality and disability in the Region. It is the cause of thirteen different types of cancer, and must be treated and managed by multidisciplinary teams.“. The phenomenon is such that scientists are becoming more and more interested in the properties of foods, whatever they may be, in order to favor those whose benefits take precedence over health.
This is the subject of a large American study which looked specifically at the role of carbohydrates in weight gain and obesity, over the very long term. The researchers used data from 136,432 men and women aged 65 or younger who participated in various studies, over a 24-year follow-up period. Who were in good health at the time of registration, and were invited to complete several questionnaires on different criteria, such as medical history or lifestyle, at the start of the research and then every two to four years. The researchers observed an average weight gain of 1.5 kilos every four years, or nearly nine kilos over the period studied.
Favor non-starchy vegetables
Among the main conclusions of this work, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), the researchers indicate that the increase in the glycemic index and load, in other words the effects of a particular food on blood sugar, was associated to long-term weight gain. That’s not all, since they also suggest that an increased consumption of carbohydrates from refined cereals, vegetables rich in starch (potatoes, corn, peas), and sugary drinks, leads to a greater intake of weight around fifty than an increased consumption of fiber and carbohydrates from whole grains and non-starchy fruits and vegetables.
In detail, they observed that an increase of 100 grams of starch or added sugar per day led to a greater weight gain of 1.5 kilos and 900 grams on average, respectively, over four years, while an increase of 10 grams per day of fiber was linked to 800 grams less weight gain. If we look more specifically at vegetables, weight gain was less with increased consumption of carbohydrates from broccoli, carrots, and spinach, rather than carbohydrates from potatoes, peas, or even corn.
“Most of these associations were stronger in people with excess body weight, highlighting the potential importance of carbohydrate quality and source for long-term weight management.“, specify the researchers in a press release. They also indicate that these associations were greater in women than in their male counterparts.
Despite the limitations of this observational study, which is based in particular on self-assessment, the researchers believe that it is “from a large study that uses repeated dietary assessments and validated questionnaires over a long follow-up period, covering the important period of weight gain in mid-life“Which, again according to the authors of the study, implies giving more importance to “the quality and source of carbohydrates in long-term weight management“.