Study Shows Their Impact on Middle-Aged Weight Gain

When it comes to maintaining body weight, carbs are often maligned. But a new study suggests you may not need to slash them from your diet if this is your goal — you may just need to reach for high-quality sources.

For the study, which was published September 27, 2023, in BMJ, scientists examined more than two decades’ worth of data consisting of weight changes and eating habits from about 137,000 adults starting when they were 50 years old, on average. Over time, people gained more weight when they ate more refined grains like white bread, starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas, and corn, and sugary drinks including soda. Conversely, participants gained less weight over time when they consumed more whole grains, fruit, and nonstarchy veggies.

“Where we’re getting our calories from matters, in terms of our ability to avoid middle-age weight gain,” says Brooke Aggarwal, EdD, an assistant professor of cardiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

“Replacing sugars and refined carbs with carbs such as whole grains, fruits, and nonstarchy vegetables might help to avoid middle-age weight gain, because these foods are good sources of fiber,” Dr. Aggarwal adds.

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