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Study: 'Cafeteria-style' foods worse than diets high in fat

Posted On Wed, June 29, 2011

A new study is indicating "cafeteria-style" diet habits - snack foods that are energy dense - causes more weight gain than high fat diets.

According to a report which was recently published in the medical journal Obesity, snack foods like chips, cookies and processed meats caused more weight gain in rats than when other rats were given lard-based foods to eat.

"Although we can’t pinpoint what component of these snacks is causing these pre-diabetes conditions, we show that the cafeteria diet provides a more severe animal model of metabolic syndrome than lard-based high-fat diets," said Liza Makowski assistant professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Global Public Health. Makowski is the study's senior author.

Researchers said rats fed foods commonly served in cafeterias ate 30 percent more calories than the rats that were given high-fat or high-sugar diets.

In an interview with ABC News, Barry Popkin, who also took part in the research, said he believes more people are drinking their calories in addition to eating more.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, health insurance costs for obesity-related diseases totals $147 billion.

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