Weight gain in midlife may be linked to the quality and source of your carbohydrate intake. According to a study published in The BMJ, a diet rich in fibre, carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits and non-starchy vegetables is linked to less weight gain in midlife.
On the other hand, increased intake of carbohydrates from refined grains, starchy vegetables and sugary drinks is associated with greater weight gain. The findings are based on a review of data from 1,36,432 men and women under 65.
All the participants were healthy at the time of enrolment. They answered questions about their diet, lifestyle and other health-related factors at the onset and every two to four years for 24 years. Participants gained an average of 1.5kg every four years, for a total of about 8.8kg over the study period.
Participants who ate more refined grains, added sugars, sugar-sweetened beverages, and starchy vegetables such as peas, corn and potatoes gained more weight, while increased intake of fibre, carbohydrate from whole grains, fruits and non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and spinach were associated with less weight gain. The association was stronger among women and those who were already overweight.
Replacing carbohydrates from refined grains, starchy vegetables and sugar-sweetened drinks with equal servings of carbohydrates from whole grains, fruit and non-starchy vegetables is a simple strategy to prevent the pounds from creeping in. It also reduces the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.