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You've probably heard the saying that "all calories are created equal," right? Well, while a calorie is a calorie, when it comes to how those calories affect weight, all foods are not created equal. A recent study published in the 23 June online issue of the New England Journal of Medicine found that potato chips, sugary drinks, and processed and unprocessed meat were the foods that were the most strongly linked with weight gain.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston looked at an analysis of studies that followed more than 120,000 adults for 20 years to learn how and why people tend to gain weight each year. It is this incremental  — and slow yet consistent — weight gain over decades that scientists are trying to understand and give public health professionals the tools to combat. The average adult gains about one pound per year.

So what does this research on foods that cause weight gain mean to you? Well, knowledge is power, so before reaching for those potato chips or that soda, think about how these foods are tied to weight gain. Then choose something a little healthier like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes or low-fat dairy. You don't have to remove these foods from your diet completely, but they should definitely be a treat rather than a regular part of your eating plan!

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