Which diet is the best diet for you?

Confused person, picture courtesy of GDJ on Pixabay

How many of you have been confused about which diet is best for you: low carb, high protein, paleo, vegan….? A recent study published 05/16/19 in Cell Metabolism titled Ultra-processed Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake and Weight Gain: An Inpatient Randomised Controlled Trial
Ad Libitum Food Intake by Dr. Kevin D Hall et al shows research that I think we have all known is common sense, however finally we have a study confirming this. In the study, they had a group of 10 men and 10 women with a mean BMI of 27. They were housed as inpatients to the Metabolic Clinical Research Unit (MCRU) at the NIH for 28 days and meals were provided for them.

A study was conducted with volunteers in an inpatient setting

In the study, they were randomly assigned to the ultra-processed diet for 2 weeks and then followed by the unprocessed diet for 2 weeks. The subjects were given 3 meals a day and allowed to eat as much as they desired and allowing them 60 minutes to consume each meal. The menus were rotated and designed to be well matched in total calories, energy density, macronutrients, fiber, sugar, and sodium.

The subjects did low-intensity cycling exercise in three 20 minute sessions per day. In addition snacks and bottled water were available to the participants. The cost per week for the food was about $100 dollars for the highly processed food vs $150 per week for the unprocessed diet. Ultra-processed food is cheaper and more readily available.

The group eating junk food gained weight

The results show the group eating the ultra-processed food gained about 2 lb of weight, while the unprocessed group lost 2 lbs. The ultra-processed food group ate food faster and ended up consuming at least 500 calories more than the unprocessed food group.

Hunger hormone Ghrelin and Satiety hormone PYY are affected by the types of food you eat

The gut hormone PYY (peptide tyrosine tyrosine) is a hormone that is released after a meal to signal satiety (it tells you that you are full and need to stop eating). This hormone was high in the unprocessed food group indicating that the subjects felt full and stopped eating before the ultra-processed group. The hormone Ghrelin (it is released and tells you that you are hungry) was low in the unprocessed food group, indicating that they did not have the hormonal drive telling them they were hungry and the desire to crave food.

The Cholesterol panel improved with the unprocessed food group

In addition, the cholesterol markers and the high sensitivity CRP inflammatory marker were lower in the unprocessed group and the uric acid levels came down after switching from the ultra-processed to unprocessed group.

Avoid ultra-processed food!

So what is the take-home of the article? Avoid ultra-processed food! The ultra-processed food is inexpensive, it is very convenient with it being ready to eat or heat up, it has a long shelf life and is primarily made up of corn, soy, and wheat. Ultra-processed food now constitutes the majority of the calories consumed by Americans. Think hamburgers, french fries, fried foods, snack bars, processed breakfast cereals, and ready-made meals. I would like to put it simply as anything that comes in a box or a packet from the store

The ultra-processed food parallels the rise in obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

The rise in obesity and Type 2 Diabetes has occurred in parallel to the rise of eating ultra-processed food. The ultra-processed foods are high in calories, salt, sugar, and fat. It appears to facilitate overeating and to be engineered to have supernormal appetitive properties that increase pathological eating. Finally,  we have a randomized control study that gives objective evidence that eating a home cooked meal with protein, rich in vegetables and fruit, high in fiber and that is not processed is healthy for you!

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