New Research Shows Processed Food Main Driver of Obesity Crisis
A new study published in the journal Nutrients reveals that ultra-processed foods are the primary cause behind rising obesity levels worldwide. Researchers found that cutting back on processed foods high in sugar, salt and fat led to more weight loss compared to an equal reduction in unprocessed foods.
Lead author Dr. Chris Jenkinson, a nutrition scientist at Johns Hopkins University, analyzed multiple diet trials comparing processed and unprocessed food diets. Volunteers eating processed food lost an average of 0.8kg over two weeks while those reducing unprocessed foods lost only 0.3kg over the same period.
“Our findings contradict the popular idea that all calories are equal,” said Dr. Jenkinson. “Calories from hot dogs, soda and chips appear to promote more weight gain than equivalent calories from fruits, vegetables and grains.” He advised limiting ultra-processed foods whenever possible.
Self-Talk and Mindset Key for Achieving Diet Goals
Along with changes in food choices, psychology experts emphasize the importance of mindset in successfully losing weight.
Dr. Sandra Lewis, a certified health psychologist in Michigan, notes that positive self-talk is critical for sticking to diet and fitness regimens:
“Telling yourself ‘I can do this’ or ‘I’m worth it’ can motivate you to pass on second helpings and hit the gym even when you don’t feel like it,” she said. “Work on building up your confidence and self-belief.”
Similarly, a recent article in POPSUGAR Fitness discusses four mindset shifts for maintaining weight goals:
- Stop negative self-talk and criticism
- Focus on consistency rather than perfection
- Celebrate small wins and give yourself credit
- Be patient – change happens slowly
“The mental battle is harder than the physical one,” the article states. “Speak to yourself with compassion.”
Surge in New Year’s Resolutions Drives Record Interest in Diets
The New Year typically spurs introspection and good intentions. But as January rolls on, many find their resolutions hard to sustain.
A new report shows Google searches for “diet” hit an all-time high during the first week of 2024, up 42% compared to 2023. Queries for vegetarian, Mediterranean, intermittent fasting and high protein diets saw especially large increases.
“This data matches what we see every year – the surge in interest right after New Year’s,” said dietician Amanda Cook. “Actually sticking to a diet long-term is the hard part.”
Cook reminds resolution-makers that lasting change requires an understanding of emotional eating patterns. “Diets often fail when life gets stressful or celebratory. You have to address the mental piece too.”
Looking Ahead: Developing a Positive Relationship with Food
Sustaining weight goals requires more than short-term dieting. As research now shows, both food choices and mindset play pivotal roles.
Here are three key strategies recommended by experts:
1. Limit processed food intake – Reducing consumption of sugary drinks, chips, cookies and fast food while increasing fruits, vegetables and whole grains supports weight management.
2. Practice self-care – Boost confidence with regular exercise, adequate sleep and positive self-talk. Don’t dwell on temporary setbacks.
3. Make gradual lifestyle changes – Small steps like more home cooking, mindful eating or taking walks build self-efficacy over time.
Developing a balanced, sensible and guilt-free approach to food and health facilitates long-term wellbeing. Support your 2024 goals with compassion – you deserve it!
|Google Search Increase 2024 vs 2023
Data Source: TurnTo10.com
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.