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The Two Worst Foods That Make You Gain Weight

For people trying to lose weight, here's the good news: Nutrition researchers have scoped out the enemy. And these two foods are the top waistline assassins: potato chips and soda.

Everyone knows to cut back on junk food. But in a recent, large study examining what foods were most associated with weight gain, potato chips and sweetened drinks stood out as the ultimate arch villains.

Not All Snacks Created Equal
The basic blueprint of healthy living is simple: Eat less junk food, stay active, get a good night's sleep, drink alcohol only in moderation, and don't smoke. But scientists have now started to suspect that when it comes to junk food, some snacks are worse than others. So in a recent study, they tracked more than 100,000 Americans over two decades to see who gained the most weight and what foods they ate. And they found that regularly having potatoes -- especially chips -- and sugar-sweetened drinks was most associated with an expanding waistline. (Related: Learn three more secrets to a slimmer body.)

Switch Chips for This
Of course, because of the way the study was run, the researchers can't say for certain that chips and sweet drinks necessarily caused the weight gain. It could be that people who enjoy these two junk treats have other pack-on-the-pounds habits not captured in the study. But it's clear these two items probably weren't doing them any favors. And it's encouraging to think that just by cutting two things out of your life you might seriously reduce your chances of packing on pounds over time. (Related: A better snack choice: yogurt. Find out how eating yogurt helps make blood vessels happy.)

Of course, the researchers tracked lifestyle choices, too. And, no surprise here -- watching too much TV and not working out were other surefire ways to balloon out over time. (Related: Need a push to get moving? Here's how to keep life from getting in the way of that power walk.)

RealAge Benefits

Maintaining your weight and body mass index at a desirable level can make your RealAge as much as 6 years younger. Take the RealAge Test!

August, 2011