Thursday, June 23, 2011

Potato Chips Pile on More Pounds than Desserts, Watching TV and Alcohol

Potato chips are a staple in the Western Diet. Their crunch is unmistakable and they now come in hundreds of creative and sometimes eyebrow-raising flavours. The thing is, everyone knows that potato chips aren't the healthiest snack; they're usually a guilty pleasure. As a result, we've got all kinds of lower-calorie and fat potato chip copycats out there made from rice to corn name it! That's a good thing, because according to a new study, potato chips might just be the worst snack out there when it comes to gaining weight.

In a study tracking the dietary habits of 120,877 people using data from 3 other long-running studies, doctors found that the study participants gained an average of 17 pounds in 20 years. It was found that dietary choices contributed to weight gains of nearly 4 pounds every 4 years, but the biggest dietary offender was found to be potato chips; they contributed to 1.69 pounds every four years, compared to the 0.41 pounds in 4 years that sweets and desserts added. It was also reported that consuming one alcoholic drink a day added 0.41-pounds every four years, while watching an hour of TV each day added only 0.31-pounds per four years.

As far as other potato-containing foods went, french fries were another big offender, while baked or boiled potatoes weren't nearly as bad. That's because one serving of french fries clocks in at nearly 500-600 calories per serving, which is about double that of a large baked potato.

The report also found that people who ate more fruits and veggies gained less weight overall, but those who were chronically sleep deprived gained even more.

According to one researcher, this report can help people better pinpoint what is contributing to the steady but slow 1 pound weight gain creep every year. Since a pound doesn't seem like much, especially in a year, it can easily go unnoticed . But then 10 or 20 years go by and people find themselves needing to lose 10 or 20 pounds, which is definitely not an easy task! It is much easier to avoid the initial weight gain to start with by managing calories in and calories out through a healthy, balanced diet coupled with regular physical activity.

Not to sound terribly redundant, but you can start by eating your fruits and veggies - they'll keep you fuller for longer and help satisfy that sweet tooth. With one healthy change at a time, the rest will follow!