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Preventing Long-Term Weight Gain

By August 1, 2011September 23rd, 2015Weight Loss

Preventing Long-Term Weight Gain


A recent study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, investigating the causes of weight gain, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine this past June. As a Naturopathic Doctor the results are confirmatory and predictable. However, this may be just the information that folks need to make some healthy changes long term.

Up until now most studies have focused on weight loss, specifically, how do we lose the weight that we have gained? This study focuses on prevention. Simply, how do we prevent ourselves from gaining the standard pound every year? This approach is in alignment with Natural Medicine, which focuses on prevention and addressing the underlying cause.
Participants gained an average of 3.35lbs over each 4-year period totaling approximately 16.8lbs over a 20-year period.
The foods associated with the greatest weight gain were potato chips, potatoes, sugar beverages, processed and unprocessed meats.
Interesting to note were the foods that were associated with higher consumption and less weight gain; vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and nuts.
In fact, focusing on overall dietary quality of both foods and beverages was the most important factor in preventing weight gain.
Dietary quality was further broken down into the following categories:
*Quality of Carbohydrates – Cutting back on starches, refined grains, sweetened beverages, and sweets.
*Minimally processed foods – Cutting back on processed foods and focusing on single ingredient foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.

What was interesting was the recognition by the school of public health that making poor food choices impacts body metabolism and can change hunger, insulin responses, feelings of fullness, and influence eating behaviors related to portions and cravings. In essence, once we have changed the body responses chemically by choosing high carbohydrate, processed foods, it becomes challenging to re-set the metabolism. A sluggish metabolism can negatively impact hormone levels. This situation is something I routinely see in my patients who are overweight. A weight loss plan is necessary in conjunction with a hormonal balancing program as well.

Additional results showed that the amount of TV-viewed per hour, amount of daily exercise, and unbalanced sleep were contributing factors to weight gain.

As Frank Hu one of the head researchers puts it, “The findings of this study underscore the importance of making wise food choices in preventing weight gain and obesity.”

Note from Dr. P:

Well, I hate to say I told you so. This is exactly why diets and dieting DO NOT work long term! Until now there has been much speculation as to the when, why, and how we became overweight. The marketing plans of gyms across the country want us to believe that all we need to do is exercise more to achieve the body & figure that we want. According to this study, the single most important factor influencing weight gain/loss is food choices. What I can tell you is that after 10 years of clinical practice, providing nutrition and dietary advice, and assisting with weight loss, I agree, it all comes down to food. That’s why I developed Feed your Cells! A whole food, gluten free cookbook designed as a guide to healthy eating.
For more information on weight control and the programs offered at our clinic, click here!

-Be Healthy, Happy & Holistic

Dr. Andrea Purcell

A trusted and well-respected Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Purcell has been in private practice for over twenty years. Dr. Purcell is a published author and has a women’s specialty practice for hormone balancing, weight loss, mystery illness, and gastro-intestinal concerns. Dr. Purcell assists her patients by identifying the underlying cause of disease and removing obstacles that impede the body's natural ability to heal. Drugs and surgery are used as a last resort. She believes that increasing health on the inside shines through to the outside.

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