A new long term study was published in the June issue of the New England Journal of Medicine that looked at how the health behaviors of 120,877 men and women over a 12 – 20 year period affected weight gain.  Everybody started out healthy and not obese at the start of the study but the results indicate there is a drift toward being overweight over time.  According to the study, the main food culprits for weight gain were (drum roll please)….

Potatoes (particularly French fries and potato chips)

Sugar-sweetened drinks

Red meats and processed meats

Sweets and desserts

Refined grains

Fried Food

100 percent fruit juice


The foods that were related to weight loss or no gain were:


Vegetables (People who lost weight consumed 3.1 more servings of vegetable each day than those who gained)

Whole Grains

Yogurt (this was most strongly linked to weight loss)

Nuts (including peanut butter)

Other influences:

TV (the more TV watched, the more weight people gained)

Sleep (getting less than 6 or more than 8 was associated with weight gain)

Alcohol (one glass of wine was fine but any other alcohol use was associated with weight gain)

For more from the study’s authors, read the New York Times article at

Or go to the New England Journal of Medicine and read “Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men” (N Engl J Med 2011; 364:2392-2404; June 23, 2011)