Researchers tracked 136,432 health professionals for 24 to 28 years. The average person gained 3 pounds every 4 years, which led to a 19-pound gain after 24 years.

Compared to that average, over 4 years, every 100-gram increase in carbs per day from:

  • refined grains or added sugar was linked to roughly 2 pounds of extra weight gain
  • starchy vegetables (mostly potatoes) was linked to nearly 6 pounds of extra weight gain
  • non-starchy vegetables was linked to 6½ fewer pounds of weight gain
  • fruit was linked to 3½ fewer pounds of weight gain
  • fiber (every 10-gram bump per day over four years) was linked to nearly 2 fewer pounds of weight gain. 

What to do

Eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and cut back on refined grains, added sugar, and starchy vegetables (like french fries and chips). This study can’t prove that certain carbs lead to weight gain or loss, because something else about the people who eat those foods may explain their weight changes. Still, there’s plenty more reason to load up on fruits and veggies.

tangerines in front of a fruit bowl

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