Weight Creep and Chips

That’s the sound of the worst culprit behind that pound-a-year weight creep that plagues many of us. A major diet study finds potato chips are a bigger problem than soda, candy and ice cream.

The research our of Harvard University says that what we eat and how much we eat has far more impact than exercise and most other habits do on long-term weight gain, It’s the most comprehensive look yet at the effect of individual foods and lifestyle choices like sleep time and quitting smoking.

Doctors analyzed changes in diet and lifestyle habits of more than 120,000 over two decades. On average, participants gained nearly 17 pounds over the period. For each four-year period, food choices contributed nearly 4 pounds. Exercise, for those who did it, cut less than 2 pounds.

Each daily 1 ounce serving of potato chips led to a 1.69-pound uptick over four years. That’s compared to sweets and desserts, which added 0.41 pound.

For other kinds of potatoes, the gain was 1.28 pounds. Soda added a pound over four years. An alcoholic drink a day, 0.41-pound increase.

• Watching an hour of TV a day, 0.31-pound increase.

• Recently quitting smoking, 5-pound increase.

People who slept more or less than six to eight hours a night gained more weight.

And not surprisingly, eating more fruits and vegetables and other unprocessed foods led to less weight gain,

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