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Factors that are most likely to contribute to obesity ?

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Islamabad (Republic policy) – The rate of obesity worldwide has almost tripled Trusted Source since 1975. Between 2017 and 2022, obesity affected 41.9%Trusted Source of the United States population.
The main cause Trusted Source of obesity is long-term energy imbalance — consuming more calories than the body gets a chance to burn. Research into dietary practices for weight loss is thus key for treating obesity.
Studies have shown that eating quickly and higher energy density foods — foods that have more calories per gram — is linkedTrusted Source to greater food intake. Other dataTrusted Source have shown that highly palatable foods may be artificially rewarding to consume.
Meanwhile, higher protein intake has been linked to increased satiety and lower energy intake. Understanding more about key dietary characteristics could aid the design of diets to treat obesity.
Recently, researchers investigated how meal characteristics affect caloric intake in four different dietary patterns.
During the studies, they were exposed to either minimally processed diets, which varied widely in carbohydrate and fat content, or diets with moderate levels Trusted Source of carbohydrate and fat that varied in ultra-processed and minimally processed foods.
Participants were exposed to two different diets with 7-day rotating menus for two weeks each. They were asked to eat as much as they wanted from each dietary condition.
All in all, the researchers had complete data for 2,733 meals, including their energy density, protein content, speed of eating, and percentage of hyper-palatable foods consumed- defined as those high in fat, sodium, fat, and sugar, or high in carbohydrate or salt.
In the end, the researchers found that energy density, percentage of highly palatable foods consumed, and eating rate all correlated with increased energy intake across all diets: low-fat, low-carbohydrate, a diet based on unprocessed foods, and a diet based on ultra-processed foods.
They found, however, that higher protein intake correlated with increased energy intake only in unprocessed and ultra-processed diets with moderate levels of carbohydrates and fat.
They further found that previous meal protein consumption was linked to greater energy intake in subsequent meals in the low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets, but reduced intake during the ultra-processed diet.
The researchers wrote that their findings suggest that energy density, eating rate, and percentage of protein and highly palatable foods consumed are important predictors of energy intake.
Increasing caloric intake
“Energy density means how many calories are [in] a certain amount of food,” she explained. “The higher the energy density of something, the less of it you need to take in to have [a] higher calorie intake. For example, one tablespoon of peanut butter has roughly 100 calories in it versus one tablespoon of cooked oats has 15 calories.”
Kimberly Spatola, a registered dietitian at Novant Health Heart and Vascular Institute in Charlotte, NC, not involved in the study, also told MNT:
“Hyper-palatable foods also tend to be energy dense and higher in refined carbohydrates, which make it easier to eat a large amount of these foods without being truly satisfied. Speed of eating can also make a big difference in how much you eat. It typically takes about 20 minutes for the fullness signals from our stomach to reach our brain. Therefore, if you are eating a large meal in only 10 minutes, it will take some time before you actually register your fullness cues.”

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