What Are the Worst Fattening Foods: Candy or Chips?

Over 20 years, researchers have accompanied more than 120,000 people on the search for the worst fattening foods.

The ranking holds a surprise.

It does not sound so dramatic: about 380 grams gained the participants of a large U.S. study on average per year. But as time adds up, so does the weight. After the 20 years of research, participants had gained substantially in weight. Men and women carried an average of 7.6 kg more weight around with them than at the beginning of the overweight study.

Using data from 98320 men and 22557 women scientists around Dariush Mozaffarian of the Harvard Medical School detected which foods more strongly associate with weight gain.

According to the ‘New England Journal of Medicine‘ report, the data came from three major studies. These studies included the first and second Nurses’ Health Study, in which nurses across the U.S. participated. And it also included the ‘Health Professionals Follow-up Study,’ which examined men working in health care. At the beginning of the study, participants were of average weight.

Obesity is a global problem. Current data suggest that a half billion people are considered overweight, 500 million even as obese because they have a body mass index over 30.

Potatoes turned out to be fattening

French Fries are fattening

The study participants declared their current weight every four years and also explained what foods they had eaten. Participants also mentioned whether they practiced sport, smoked, and how much time they spent watching TV. The researchers then calculated how changed eating and lifestyle habits impacted weight gain, respectively loss. So they traced, what foods participants ate more or less and in what frequency in four years compared to the prior four years.

On snack, little surprising proved as particularly devastating for gain weight: potato chips are the worst fattening foods. Any extra serving (30 grams of chips) manifested itself after four years in the form of 770 grams of gained weight. Per serving of potatoes, participants gained 580 grams. And French fries (1.5 pounds) had a significantly higher effect than boiled potatoes or mashed potatoes (260 grams). The drinking of sugary soft drinks caused 450 grams of weight gain, red meat, and sausages accounted for about 430 grams each.

Surprisingly, however, was the result of sweets: the daily serving of dessert or sweets was associated with an increase of about 180 grams only.

Who, on the other hand, ate more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, or yogurt compared to the previous 4-year-period, diminished their weight.  Weight reduction was about 100 grams per serving of vegetables, 220 grams per serving of fruit, 170 grams for whole food products, 260 for nuts, and even 370 grams for yogurt. However, the study did not distinguish between full-and low-fat dairy products.

Are you eating nuts in addition to chips to reduce weight?

Well, that is not the formula against obesity. ‘These foods contain calories and can not violate any physical laws,’ the scientists write. That the participants lose weight if they eat more vegetables, nuts, or yogurt, can only be explained by the fact that they substituted lower quality food and thus received fewer calories.

The total influence of eating habits on weight is more than other lifestyle habits. Even if every hour in front of the TV counted as 140 grams more weight, this holds.

The researchers point out that only 50 to 100 kilocalories too many per day could lead to gradual weight gain. This weight gain happened to many participants in the study.

To prevent obesity, they recommend consuming less of the worst fattening foods. So consume fewer chips and sugary soft drinks. Increase, in turn, your intake of vegetables.

These findings are consistent with many well-known dietary recommendations.