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episode #305

What are processed foods doing to your waistline?

November 20, 2023 in Podcast


This week I discuss a 1 month study that compares the effects of ultra processed foods vs. unprocessed foods on calorie consumption, weight loss/gain, fat mass...etc.

Each subject followed an ultra-processed diet for 2 weeks & a non-processed diet for 2 weeks. Menus rotated on a 7-day schedule, and the meals were designed to be well matched across diets for total calories, energy density, macronutrients, fiber, sugars, and sodium, but widely differing in the percentage of calories derived from ultra-processed versus unprocessed foods. One main question was would the subjects eat more food during their meals & more snacks if their foods were highly processed. The answer was YES!

On the processed diet, the subjects ate ~500 calories more/day compared to the unprocessed diet. They gained ~2 pounds on the highly processed food diet, & lost ~2 pounds on the non-processed food diet. Body fat mass increased by 1lb during the ultra-processed diet and decreased by 1lb during the unprocessed diet.

The takeaway message from the study is that if you eat highly processed foods, you’ll likely ingest more total calories & gain weight. So focus on whole based single ingredient foods and you won't need to eat as much while also getting quality nutrients as well!

Episode Reesources:

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2019.05.008

Brian (1s):

Hello and welcome to the GETLEAN and Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. I'm a certified health coach, trainer and author, and this podcast is for middle aged men and women looking to optimize their health and get their bodies back to what it once was 10 to 15 years ago. I will give you simple, actionable items to get long term sustainable results. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show. All, right Welcome to the Get Lean Eat Clean podcast. My name is Brian Gryn. I hope you had a great weekend and hopefully had a li chance to listen to my interview with Dustin McFarland.

Brian (42s):

He's a functional diagnostic practitioner, tons of great knowledge. We explained his journey going from a vegan to an omnivore, his experience as a natural bodybuilder, the importance of managing blood sugar, ways to improve gut health, the problems with modern wheat. We got into his daily routine, which I love to and much, much more. So if you haven't already, check on my interview with Dustin McFarland. Now on today's micro podcast, we are gonna touch on a study that was done in 2019 and I'm gonna share this with you real quick. Dr. Bill Campbell, who I've been on my podcast, maybe I'll have him back on. He was great. He, he likes to touch on different studies and he recently brought this one up so I thought it'd be beneficial for you guys to take a look.

Brian (1m 27s):

And the, the title of the study is called Ultrapro Diets Cause Excess Calorie Intake in Weight Gain Done by Dr. Kevin Hall and Associates. And we're gonna touch on this today, I'll leave a link in the show notes. It was pretty much what, what kind of outcomes would happen from an ultra processed versus a sort of a whole PR foods unprocessed diet. and we're gonna touch on that today. So I'm sure you can guess exactly what the outcomes were. To some degree, these healthy females and males were put into a clinic for a month and So, they lived in this building. Each subject followed a ultra processed diet for two weeks and then a non-processed diet for two weeks.

Brian (2m 12s):

So sort of whole foods versus ultra processed. And they wanted to see what the outcomes were of this. Now Menus were rotated on a seven day schedule. The meals were designed to be well matched across diets for total calories. So same amount of calories were presented to the individuals and this was meals and snacks. Actually one interesting thing that I, that I read about was it actually cost. They talked about how much it costs to get the ingredients to prepare sort of a, this everyday calorie content. And the ultra processed meals were estimated to be about $106 versus $151 for the unprocessed whole foods.

Brian (2m 54s):

And the cost ingredients were obtained from a local branch of a large supermarket chain. I thought that was interesting. I mean, no surprise there, right? It's less expensive to eat processed foods and unfortunately that's sometimes that's part of the reason why people eat that it can be fairly expensive to eat healthy, which is, you know, and lies a whole nother issue. But I thought that was interesting that they brought that up. So the participants were presented these meals every day and also snacks and they could eat as much or as little as they wanted. So the big question was was would the subjects eat more food during the meals and the snacks if they were highly processed?

Brian (3m 40s):

And The answer was YES. So that was the big one of the big conclusions of the study on a processed diet. the subjects ate 500 calories more a day compared to the unprocessed diets. So from there they ended up gaining about two pounds on the, on, on the highly processed diet versus losing two pounds on the non-processed diet. So obviously if you're eating highly processed foods, you're not gonna be as satisfied and those individuals felt the need to eat more. So the study, the takeaway message from one of the takeaway message was the study that if you eat highly processed food, you're likely to ingest more calories and gain weight.

Brian (4m 20s):

Now this was done, there was definitely some limitations to the study. It was obviously these individuals only ate this for two weeks. Two weeks at a time and as a month total. So, you know, take it for what it is, the body can sort of change and adapt over time. Also, fat for Fat body fat mass increased for the people that about a pound for during the ultra process diet. And it decreased the pound during the unprocessed diet, which I think is really a big key as well. I mean obviously having muscle and less body fat mass is one key contributor to health health 'cause we all know how important muscle is as far as just sort of a glucose tank.

Brian (5m 4s):

And so these individuals eating the ultra processed foods obviously put on up. And this was over, you know, they did this for two weeks, a pound of body fat mass just in those two weeks. So, you know, I guess the pros and cons of this was it was sort of short with a small amount of people and there were definitely some restrictions. But, it sort of gives you the idea, but also the fact that if you're careful and control your calories, you can, you know, you could, will you consume, if you consume ultra processed foods all the time, you might not necessarily gain weight. That doesn't mean it's healthy. 'cause I'm not a big fan of just counting calories.

Brian (5m 46s):

And that's it. If you're eating ultra processed foods, you're, you're, you're gonna have deficiencies in a lot of areas. Maybe B vitamins, maybe in mi, certain minerals. So for the long haul, it's not a great way to go about things. But understanding that calories do play a role is something that this sort of showed, and it showed that processed foods will cause you to overeat. And, you know, these highly processed foods want us to eat more. So, you know, these companies that are marketing these foods, obviously they try to, you know, they create a formulation so that you keep coming back. And so anyways, that was one of the big conclusions from the study.

Brian (6m 26s):

They looked a little bit more in depth in some other areas, but I'll leave a link in the show notes if you really wanna dive into that. So I guess the big advice here was was to, and I talked about this on my in the last micro podcast, prioritize protein, right? Create more s satiation and try to consist of non-processed foods. But also you can enjoy some foods from time to time. It's not about being perfect. If you can go 80% process unprocessed and maybe 15, 20% of things that are a little bit outside the box that aren't necessarily healthy, I think you'll be just fine. Because if you try to be perfect, it's tough to keep that for the long haul.

Brian (7m 10s):

So anyways, those are the conclusions of this study. Thought it'd be interesting to share this with you. And yeah, if you have any questions, feel free to email me, Brian at Brian Gryn dot com. And I look forward to talking to you on Friday with another great interview. Have a great rest of the week. Thanks for listening to the Get Lean Eat Clean Podcast. I understand there are millions of other Podcasts out there and you've chosen to listen to mine and I appreciate that. Check out the show notes at Brian Gryn dot com for everything that was mentioned in this episode. Feel free to subscribe to the podcast and share it with a friend or family member that's looking to get their body back to what it once was.

Brian (7m 52s):

Thanks again and have a great day.

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