Why Obese Adults Should Eat Differently

The way one’s body looks isn’t the only issue at play for overweight adults. Far more important are the chronic diseases that overweight and obese people face. For that reason, an important piece of health news has identified the best way to eat: the disease-prevention diet filled with healing foods.

The study found that a diet rich in slowly digested carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes, and other high- fiber foods, significantly reduces inflammation associated with chronic disease. This is known as a “low-glycemic-load” diet, which does not cause blood glucose levels to spike. It also increases a hormone that helps regulate how you break down fat and sugar.

The controlled study involved 80 healthy adults, half of normal weight and half overweight or obese. It found that among those with excess pounds, the low-glycemic diet reduced “C-reactive protein” by 22%. This is a major marker that indicates inflammation in the body.

C-reactive protein has long been tied to a higher risk for cancers and heart disease. So, in a way, choosing high-fiber foods is a cancer prevention diet. Lowering inflammation is vital for reducing a broad range of health risks. This low-glycemic diet can improve health for the tens of millions of Americans who are overweight or obese.

They also discovered that this type of diet increased the blood levels of a hormone called “adiponectin” by about five percent. This plays a key role in protecting against several cancers, including breast cancer, as well as metabolic disorders such as type-2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, and hardening of the arteries.

“Glycemic load” refers to how the intake of carbohydrates, adjusted for total grams of carbohydrate, affects blood-sugar levels. Lentils or pinto beans have a glycemic load that is approximately three times lower than instant mashed potatoes, for example, and therefore won’t cause blood-sugar levels to rise as quickly.

The bottom line: when you are protecting against chronic disease, not all carbohydrates are equal. You want quality carbs, including whole grains, legumes such as kidney beans, soy beans, pinto beans and lentils, milk, and fruits such as apples, oranges, grapefruit and pears. Steer clear of white sugar, white flour, and sugar-sweetened foods.

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