- Weight gain can be influenced by an imbalance between healthy and unhealthy dietary choices and lifestyle habits.
- Poor nutrition habits such as frequent fast-food consumption, snacking from vending machines, and eating while distracted are strongly linked to a low-quality diet and weight gain.
- Specific unhealthy habits associated with significant weight gain over time include lack of meal pre-planning, reliance on pre-prepared or canned food, excessive snacking, eating at fast-food chains, ignoring low-calorie food options, not removing meat fat or chicken skin, and eating in front of the TV.
- There is a notable correlation between the number of unhealthy habits and the likelihood of weight gain, with the top three culprits being lack of meal planning, frequent fast-food consumption, and eating while watching TV.
- Breaking these three habits, in particular, can lead to significant improvements in weight management.
Despite the common notion that weight gain is solely due to consuming excessive calories, the core issue is the uneven balance between good and bad habits.
The Balancing Act of Nutrition
On one hand, we have wholesome foods, inclusive of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and plant-derived fats that constitute the healthier part of our diet. However, on the contrary, there are unhealthy alternatives such as sugar-laden food items, things high in saturated fats, and packaged and processed goods.
Food isn’t the only concern when it comes to weight problems. Unhealthy lifestyle choices tend to increase your calorie intake, often without you even noticing.
The Role of Criteria that Encourage a Low-Quality Diet
A group of researchers hailing from Spain discovered primary habits encouraging people towards a low-quality diet. These included repeated visits to fast-food chains, snacking from vending machines, and eating while being engrossed in television.
Intriguingly, the research team also derived that substantial weight gain typically doesn’t attribute to a single poor habit but is linked to the cumulative effect of multiple bad practices.
Digging deeper into their research, they assessed the effects of seven specific, unhealthy habits on a diverse group of 1,600 individuals over four years:
- Lack of pre-planning for meals.
- Consuming pre-prepared or canned food.
- Purchasing and consuming snacks.
- Eating out at fast-food chains.
- Preference for non-low-calorie foods.
- Not removing visible fat from meat or skin from chicken.
- Eating while watching TV or lounging on the sofa.
The Consequences of an Unhealthy Lifestyle on Weight
The researchers discovered a strong correlation between the number of bad habits one has and the likelihood of gaining weight.
Three lifestyle choices, in particular, were most closely linked to weight gain: lack of meal planning; eating fast food; and watching TV while eating.
Breaking poor habits is certainly challenging but focusing specifically on these three primary issues could bring a positive change to your waistline and overall weight management.
For more comprehensive information on a healthy diet, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides valuable resources on healthy eating at its Choose My Plate website.