Healthy Foods and Weight Gain


Several factors contribute to weight gain in people who follow healthy eating plans. The quantity as well as the quality of the foods we eat influences how they are utilized and stored in the body. 

Even healthy food will cause weight gain if not eaten in moderation

Just because foods are healthy doesn’t mean we should be eating unhealthy amounts of them. Healthy foods still contain calories and therefore we must watch our portion sizes as well as what we’re eating a lot of if weight gain is an issue.

Juices are not as healthy as we think, even if we juice them ourselves.

When we juice fruits and vegetables, we remove the fiber that slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream which means they have more of an impact on our blood sugar than whole fruits and vegetables.

Also, we would not eat the amount of fruit or vegetables in one sitting that are needed to make a glass of juice. Smoothies can be similar, although we are at least getting the whole fruit in a smoothie, we can still have a much larger portion of ingredients than we would if we were to eat them whole.

The body metabolises liquid calories more easily which could lead to weight gain, especially when combined with other foods as well. Sugars usually get stored in the body as fat so fruit consumption should be monitored. Conditions such as non-alcoholic fatty liver syndrome can be caused by excessive consumption of fruits and fruit sugars.

Proteins in high quantities can be inflammatory. A high-protein diet can reduce kidney function in certain people because the body might not be able to eliminate the waste products created by the proteins. The ideal portion of animal protein per meal should not exceed 150g and snacks should be around 30g.

Healthy fats include nuts, nut butters, eggs, coconut oil, avocado’s, cheeses, butter, and olive oil, but if we eat large quantities of these we can potentially gain weight, especially if we don’t reduce our carbohydrate intake sufficiently.

Using sweeteners can also lead to weight gain because sweeteners trigger the parts of the brain that keep you craving sugar. Artificial sweeteners are chemically engineered and since they contain no calories they can be attractive substitutes for people wanting to reduce their sugar intake. However, researchers have shown that artificial sweeteners encourage weight gain because they stimulate appetite, increase carbohydrate cravings, and promote fat storage in the body.

Anything sweet, whether calorie-dense or not, enhances our appetite. The difference is that if we consume real sugar our bodies signal us to say that we have consumed enough calories, whereas with a sweetener our bodies are left craving the calories they have not received.

Food timing is also critical to maintaining a healthy weight. Intermittent fasting is quite popular, but it’s not a style of eating that suits everyone. There are studies that show that people are more likely to struggle with weight management if they skip breakfast.

The key, as always, is to find the balance. Eat a variety of healthy foods in moderation and it should be easier to maintain a healthier body composition.

Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 3 November 2022 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am