According to a new study from Tufts University, there are five simple rules to follow if you want to lose weight. Researchers analyzed more than 16 years of data from 120,000 men and women who were included in three long-term studies. The results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. They suggest the following rules for weight loss:
- Load up on low-glycemic foods
Diets with a high glycemic load (refined grains, starches, and sugars) were linked to more weight gain. Foods that rank high on the glycemic index can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar and a resulting surge in insulin, the hormone that helps the body use or store blood sugar. While that’s not a new finding, past research hasn’t shown how an inflated glycemic load (GL) relates to weight gain over time.
- Eat more of these protein-rich foods
Researchers found that increasing consumption of yogurt, seafood, skinless chicken and nuts best helped stave off extra weight. The more of these foods people at, the fewer pounds they gained.
- Don’t worry so much about full-fat dairy
An increase in eating full-fat cheese and whole milk did not relate to weight gain or weight loss. Actually, when people consumed more low-fat dairy products, they tended to increase their consumption of carbs, which may promote weight gain. This suggests that people compensate, over years, for the lower calories in low-fat dairy by increasing their carb intake.
- Balance your meals
Researchers also studied the relationship between protein-rich foods and glycemic load of the diet. They discovered that decreasing GL by eating red meat (commonly linked to weight gain) with vegetables (instead of refined white bread, for example) helped offset gain. And when people ate more eggs and cheese in combination with lower glycemic foods, participants lost weight (while combining them with high glycemic foods was linked to weight gain).
- Stop obsessing over calories
The previously mentioned strategies matter more than calories. The combination of foods you eat makes the most difference. The research supports the idea that counting calories is not the most effective strategy for long-term weight management and prevention.