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Reducing Weight Gain for Frequent Restaurant Eaters
In the busy world we live in, it can be tough to avoid eating out because it's just so darn convenient. Unfortunately, restaurant portion sizes can be two, three or even four times standard portion sizes (or more), and you know what that means: eating too many calories, which in turn leads to weight gain. 

Fiber to Prevent Weight Gain
We know that a high fiber diet can help prevent cancers and reduces your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Those with high cholesterol levels can help improve their scores by getting more fiber in their diet, as well. All of these conditions are associated with being overweight; could getting more fiber in your diet actually help you avoid gaining weight?

Drinking Sugary Beverages Makes You Gain Weight
Drinking too many sugar-sweetened soft drinks has been linked to overweight and obesity along with such chronic illnesses as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, gout, gallstones, and kidney disease. Research attempting to directly link sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas and sweetened fruit drinks to weight gain have been questioned because other factors can affect weight other than the beverages you drink.


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Weight Gain and Muscle DNA Damage

I have written in columns before about the benefits of calorie restricted diets. Numerous research studies have explored the role of weight in a variety of factors from inflammation to cancer. In an effort to further clarify the role of weight gain on the body a group at the University of Chile evaluated muscle tissue taken from volunteers during abdominal hernia surgery (Clin Nutr 2006;25(6):968-976).

One group of subjects reported themselves as weight maintainers (WM) having gained less than 4 kg (almost 9 pounds) in the ten years prior to the study. A second group was made up of those that identified themselves as having gained more than 5 kg (11 pounds) during the same period. Biopsies were taken from a control group of elderly participants as well. Obese volunteers were excluded as well as those with major health issues such as diabetes, sleep apnea or heart disease.

The biopsies showed that the leaner subjects had fewer changes in DNA when compared to those with a Body Mass Index greater than 26. Interestingly, the subjects who were defined as weight gainers (WG) had a greater accumulation of abdominal body fat, higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This group was found to have DNA damage similar to the older age control group.

What this means for you

This is a very small study but a very sophisticated look at how gaining weight might affect the body. It wasn't designed to show what might cause the changes in muscle tissue. Such research is another small bit of evidence that indicates maintaining one's weight at lower BMI over time appears to have marked benefit on health issues.

First posted: January 30, 2007