The answer, according to researchers at Imperial College London, is to eat more whole foods, which contain more nutrients than processed foods.
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers found that, despite the presence of refined sugars, whole foods were more nutritious than processed food.
“This is not a new finding.
We have found it in previous studies,” said Dr. Joanna Condon, a clinical nutritionist and professor of medicine at the Imperial College, in a press release.
“The question we are asking is whether this finding applies to the whole food diet.”
The study used a food diary to track more than 40,000 people for seven years, and compared the diets of participants who consumed whole foods with those who ate less whole foods.
“We found that people who consumed more whole food had lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and higher HDL levels, compared to people who did not consume more whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains,” said Condon.
“Our findings also suggest that a diet with fewer processed foods could be beneficial to reduce weight and cardiovascular risk factors.”
While the study doesn’t rule out the possibility that whole foods are the key to weight loss, Condon said the findings do suggest that the whole foods approach may be more effective than the “high fat” or “high carbohydrate” approach that people have come to take.
“A high fat diet can be detrimental to blood sugar control and is associated with a greater risk of type 2 diabetes,” she added.
According to Condon’s research, one of the main reasons why people lose weight when they eat a diet high in refined sugars is because refined sugars are more likely to cause insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetics developing type 2 heart disease.
The study also found that while whole foods have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, there’s evidence that it’s not as powerful as other nutrients.
“Our findings suggest that whole food consumption is more effective for weight loss than processed or refined foods,” said the researchers.
“We hope that this study will prompt the development of new whole foods and refined carbohydrates for weight management.”