Heavily processed foods promote weight gain, real foods reverse it, trustworthy study concludes
Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you a nutrition study, that is designed in such a way, that we can trust it! Yes, it is randomized and controlled. This is not what we are used to. This study is published in Cell Metabolism, and was hosted by National Institutes of Health, Maryland.
It is based on 1 month intervention. 20 participants moved in, where the researchers did their observations. Whatever those 20 were asked to eat, it was registered, and this was exactly what made this study extraordinary: it was randomized AND controlled by the researchers. In 2 groups, one of them was offered heavily processed foods for 14 days. There were no limits, the participants could eat ad libitum. The second group was offered real, natural foods. After the 2 weeks the groups swapped. Various measures were registered, and one was about weight. The results were clear, as shown in the graph in the published study: 2 kg extra after two weeks with processed foods, and 2 kg less after the period with real food.
A note on the design of the study
When I praise the design of the study and the fact that it was controlled, it is because this is of huge importance, when you wish to figure out, whether you can trust results or not. Although this study had only 20 participants, it is pretty much more reliable than hundreds of studies on nutrition, that have been based on questionnaires, where the participants are free to invent their answers and make them look nicer than they were in reality – or make them right down faulty.
I am one of the chosen 50.000 participants in an ongoing study by the Danish Anti Cancer Organisation, called “Cancer in Generations”. In a huge questionnaire, we have to agree with ourselves and our dubious memory, what we believe, we swallowed 12, 9, 6 months ago. I don´t even remember what I ate yesterday. And if I did, I can´t recall the exact amounts. On top of that, some of the food, I do remember, I ate a lot (honey fermented fish, Gravlax) I couldn´t tell about, as this food was not an option. As Omega 3 in fatty fish like lax (salmon) is pretty important for maintaining good health, this is not just something to overlook. Just this single fact makes my data untrustworthy.
If the individual participant´s data are not important in relation to collecting tendencies, then what counts in those types of studies? A former nutrition researcher, who always collected data from questionnaires, claims that my individual answers are not important. “We look at tendencies”, she sais. Well – if 50.000 people give answers based on free fantasy, these tendencies are based on unreliable data. If someone can explain how questionnaire-based nutrition studies can be taken as seriously, as they have been for decades, please enlighten me.
The authors don´t know about the GAPS Diet
Coming back to the randomized, controlled study on processed food: The authors obviously havn´t heard about the GAPS Diet. In their article, they claim, that one of the problems with trendy diets (such as vegan, vegetarian, only fruit, LCHF, Low FODMAP, Paleo, Keto, Banting and so on.) is, that none of them address processed foods. But then they don´t know the recommendations of the GAPS protocol.
Avoiding processed foods is precisely one of the key recommendations of the GAPS Diet
The GAPS Diet clearly recommends avoiding sugar, starch and processed foods. Especially cheap, polyunsaturated plant oils are on “The what to avoid–list”, as this as well as sugar is to be found in a plethorra of processed “foods”. But also hundreds of sorts of additives plus other foods, that has been battered in a cell-changing, nutrition-killing process, and which are heavily used in processed food, are to be avoided.
The GAPS Diet´s recommendations are documented one by one
A minus about the GAPS Diet is, that it is not tested in a randomized, controlled study, for instance it is not compared with other diets in relation to various diagnoses. We still “only” have a long list of cases and clinical experience to stick to. However, more and more studies are published, that confirm the diet´s recommendations one by one. This time is it documented, that it is a really bad idea to rely on Oreos, frozen pizzas, factory made stock cubes and ready made Sauce Bernaise – or how about “plant butter”. Avoiding these kinds of processed foods is a basic direction of the GAPS Diet, and if you don´t follow it, you may be on a diet, but it is not the GAPS Diet.
The GAPS Protocol and weight regulation
Many GAPS case stories tell, how the weight is automatically regulated (up or down), when one starts focusing on the quality of the food, the blood sugar level, detoxing, healing the gut lining, balancing the gut flora, etc.
This is why one of the key words in this diet is HOMEMADE
The main author of the study is Kevin D. Hall, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD, USA