Though it’s common knowledge that eating unhealthful foods can cause weight gain, researchers say people who eat a lot of highly processed food take in more calories and gain more weight than those who don’t.
As part of a study, researchers followed a control group in which half the subjects ate an “ultra-processed diet” that included what many would consider reasonable options such as chicken salad, sweetened Greek yogurt and baked potato chips.
The other half ate a minimally processed diet that included meats, fish, whole fruits and vegetables, eggs and oatmeal.
After two weeks, participants switched diets. The group eating the highly processed diet ate an average of 500 calories more a day, causing them to gain weight and body fat even though both diets had the same amount of calories, sugar, fat, fiber, carbohydrates and protein.
Source: National Institutes of Health