Weight loss: foods that make you lose weight, those to avoid

Food provides us with calories and nutrients but not only. Some foods act on important parameters in weight management: the mechanisms of satiety (fibre…), the bioavailability of nutrients (lipids in nuts…) or metabolic effects (sugars and abdominal obesity…).

A German team (Heinrich Heine University) has combined the results of around forty large-scale studies to assess the role of different food groups in weight gain or loss.

Their influence has been ranked according to three criteria:

– appearance of overweight or obesity,

– development of abdominal obesity,

– weight gain over time (around 1.5 to 2 kg/year over 4 to 12 years).

Foods that contribute to weight loss

  • Whole grains. A 7% reduction in the risk of overweight is observed for every 30 g per day. This amount is associated with a 9% decrease in the risk of weight gain over the years, but there is no additional effect beyond 50g/day.
  • The fruits. For 100 g / day, the risk of excess weight is reduced by 7%, while the risk of weight gain over time is reduced by 9% per 100 g / day as well (no additional effect at above 300 g/day).
  • Nuts. The risk of abdominal obesity is significantly reduced with 28 g/day, and a reduction in the risk of overweight is observed with 10 g/day (the effect is less clear beyond this).
  • Legumes. They are associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of overweight per 50 g / day.
  • Fish. The risk of abdominal obesity decreases linearly until it reaches a plateau from 40 g/day: the drop in risk then reaches 17%.
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Foods that promote weight gain

  • Refined cereals. They are associated with overweight and obesity, with an increased risk of 5% per 30 g/day, knowing that this increase starts from 90 g/day.
  • Red meat. Per 100g/day, it is associated with a 10% increased risk of abdominal obesity and a 14% increased risk of weight gain over time.
  • Sugary drinks. For a quantity of 25 cl / day, they are associated with the risk of overweight and obesity (+ 5%) and abdominal obesity (+ 12%). For the latter, the risk increases significantly up to 30 cl / day, then continues to increase but more weakly.

These results put into perspective the major food categories with a view to preventing overweight, obesity and abdominal obesity. They also remind us that if we can eat everything, it is better to eat a little more of this, and less of that.


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