Processed vs Unprocessed Foods and Weight

In my May 2, 2019 post about metabolism, I shared an article by registered dietitian Samantha Cassety. Among the many points she made about how our foods are used as energy, was an explanation about the difference between a diet made up of more processed foods versus more unprocessed. Bottom line: your body has to expend more energy (calories) to absorb unprocessed food, ie, to “process” it; processed foods are much more easily absorbed and burn less calories.

An article out a few weeks ago on http://www.cell.com, reiterated this point and brought a recent study to prove it. Here is the link: https://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/fulltext/S1550-4131(19)30248-7 . Not only does Cassety’s explanation hold up, this article goes further to say that generally speaking those who eat processed foods are more likely to overeat than those who eat unprocessed foods. The methodology of the exam is very interesting; one group had no choice but to eat either highly processed foods and the other to eat unprocessed foods. The results were unmistakable. Eating highly processed foods contributes to weight gain.

What do we learn? There is a price to pay for the convenience of prepared foods. The deeper question: is that price worth it?

Thanks to my colleagues at the Mandel JCC, Brandon Colon and Jeff Yannarell, for sharing this article.

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