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Study: Processed Foods Can Cause Protein Hunger; Fueling Weight Gain And Overeating

Recent research shows that processed foods are low in protein, which may contribute to weight gain. The body may overeat to balance nutrients due to a lack of protein. Eating more protein early in the day may be beneficial to reduce your overall calorie intake.

Today’s typical diet is dominated by highly processed foods such as pizza, deli sandwiches, nutrition bars, and chips. In the latest issue of Obesity, an Australian study of dietary habits found that convenience foods are a major contributing factor to Western obesity rates.

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The lead author, Amanda Grech, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow, said in a press release, “Junk foods or processed, refined foods dilute dietary protein and increase the risk of being overweight or obese, both of which can lead to chronic diseases.”

Processed Foods Provide Half Of Our Daily Calories

Foods that are unprocessed or minimally processed are found in the grocery store’s perimeter – fruits, vegetables, raw meats, and dairy items. High-processed foods like cookies, crackers, chips, and frozen pizza typically contain added sugar, fat, salt, and little vitamin or fiber.

Eat A Protein-Rich Breakfast To Lose Weight

The study, published in the journal Obesity on November 2, shows that the amount of protein we eat can affect calorie intake and weight loss. Protein intake per pound of body weight is 0.36 to 0.9 grams. Giles Yeo, an obesity expert who wasn’t involved in the study, says we need a certain amount of protein to function.

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Whole Foods Help But Add Protein And Fiber

We eat processed foods everywhere. They’re cheap, convenient, and tasty, so eliminating them can be challenging. Processed foods may even be addictive due to their refined carbohydrates and fats. Eating a variety of whole foods in your diet, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, is essential. Thus, it’s important to consider the overall context of what you eat, not just specific nutrients.