Study Finds an Evident Link Between Eating Ultra-Processed Food, Overeating, and Obesity

Scientists from the National Institute of Health have made a groundbreaking discovery. People who eat highly-processed food gain more weight than that of a slightly processed diet. The result persisted even when the meals had the same amount of nutritional values like carbohydrates, proteins, and nutrients. Results of the study are published on Thursday in the journal Cell Metabolism. It is the first-ever study that has discovered ultra-processed foods, including instant foods, pizza, make people overeat. While consuming such type of food, people eat fast. As a result, they rapidly gain weight. Surprisingly, this ultra-processed food influence a massive part of the U.S. diet. But the study reveals the truth behind those less expensive and convenient food products which may impose health risks.

The small-scale study, carried out by scientists at the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK), included 20 healthy adults. Scientists divided the candidates into two groups. They offered an ultra-processed diet to the first group and served another with minimally processed food for two weeks.  After that, they switched the diet between both groups. Scientists found that a group eating unprocessed food like green leafy vegetables, fruits, salad with chicken resulted in weight loss. The scientists closely monitored candidates’ food intake and health along with their meals, drinks, and snacks. Kevin Hall, leading author of the study, said the results amazed him. He noted both diets had similar nutritional components like sugars, fat, protein, etc.

Kevin surmises there must be some secret in the ultra-processed food that people love to overeat it. Before this, many studies have revealed a connection between processed food and obesity. But the new research shows a direct link between obesity and junk food. When people consumed an ultra-processed diet for two weeks, they often consumed more calories and thus gained weight. Kevin says, probably if people are eating more quickly, they are not giving enough time to their stomach for signalling brain. Therefore, the brain thinks you are not full and continues to command for eating. Besides, it’s too late when the mind comes to know the stomach is full because the person has already overeaten food. The study offers the latest evidence that those ready-made highly processed food may arrive with additional price and efforts.

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Jason Amato

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