A new study which was published in Cell Metabolism revealed that cost in money and time are the real reasons people gain weight when eating processed foods.
The study showed that when people ate processed foods it made them eat even more processed foods which led to weight gain.
The reason researchers found was that in eating processed foods it ended up taking less time and costing less in the long run for people.
The study was a month long. Researchers took 20 people and divided them into two groups and for two weeks they either ate processed foods or unprocessed foods provided for them for three meals per day. Participants were told they could eat as much or as little as they wanted of what was given to them to eat.
The study made sure that calories and nutrients like carbohydrates, sugar, fat and sodium were equally matched for all meals in each diet.
One group ate processed foods at each meal. As an example, take breakfast for instance: Honey Nut Cheerios, whole milk, packaged blueberry muffin and margarine.
The other group ate unprocessed foods at every meal and as an example for breakfast they had: a Greek yogurt with strawberries and bananas, walnuts with salt and olive oil, and apple slices with fresh-squeezed lemon.
After two weeks the participants switched diets and ate the opposite diet for another two weeks. Participants said they enjoyed both diets, eliminating taste as a factor of influencing people to eat more on a processed food diet.
At the end of the study researchers found that people ate at least 500 calories more per day of the ultra-processed foods than when they they were eating the unprocessed food diet.
Also, there was a weight gain of two rounds average when participants were on the processed food diet but when they were on the unprocessed food diet they lost about two pounds after a two week period. There also was a difference in mass body fat increase while patients were on the processed food diet by at least one pound. And while on the processed food diet, they consumed 54 times more in sugar and 1.8 times more in saturate total fat.
The cost for the processed food diet came to $106 while the unprocessed food diet was $151 per week, which backs-up the reason most people give as far as choosing to eating processed foods rather than unprocessed foods.
In the study participants were given the food and all they had to do was eat it. In their real world they would have to prepare the unprocessed food diet which takes longer and which is why most people opt for the quick fix processed foods.