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All pasta is made from dough which is processed, no matter what. That makes it a simple carb, one of the most important things to stay away from if you are trying to lean out. (Lauri Patterson/Getty Images)
Here are 9 foods tied to obesity
First Published Jan 06 2014 11:20 am • Last Updated Jan 07 2014 09:12 pm

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that the quality of the foods that you eat has more to do with losing weight than the quantity of food you eat. Here is a list of 9 foods that are keeping you fat, compiled from various studies as well as recent articles and research.

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1. Potato chips

A New England Journal of Medicine study stated that the food most strongly associated with weight gain is potato chips. Bummer, I know! Over time, potatoes in general were attributed with causing the most weight gain, though it was potato chips that were the worst. French fries came in a very close second. My suggestion is that if you’re going to eat potato chips or French fries, make them from scratch. The mindless behavior of opening up a bag of salty potato chips is where the problem begins. If you make them from scratch, you can control ingredients and portion size as well, and you’ll only end up eating them on very special occasions.

2. Diet soda

How could this be? Diet soda is free of calories. Not so fast, according to Organic Authority, which says that the nation’s most obese people prefer diet soda. According to a recent study from Purdue University, Diet Coke actually contributes to likelihood heart disease, diabetes and strokes. Worst of all, it could be making you fat! Apparently, the artificial sweeteners in diet soda screw with your body’s normal response to sugar, throwing off your body’s ability to know how many calories you have eaten, resulting in…a craving for more caloric sweets. That could explain your sweet tooth or constant candy cravings. Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center also recently presented strong data proving that diet soda makes us fat. They found that the more diet sodas a person drank, the more weight they gained.

3. Foods made with high-fructose corn syrup and corn syrup

Commercials may claim that high-fructose corn syrup is fine in moderation, but remember, marketing is also a part of the "food" industry. The truth is that moderation is seemingly impossible when it comes to corn syrup. The syrup interferes with the body’s metabolism so that a person can’t stop eating. It’s truly hard to control cravings, because high-fructose corn syrup slows down the secretion of leptin in the body. Leptin is a crucial hormone that tells you that you’re full and to stop eating. That’s why it’s so closely associated with obesity in this country. It’s like an addictive drug.

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4. Red and processed meats

The food quality study from The New England Journal of Medicine found that both red and processed meat caused weight gain down the line. Over the course of four years, weight gain was closely linked to both meat varieties and was also inversely related to the amount of vegetables participants ate. My advice is to cut out processed meats entirely. These days, there are non-processed versions of almost everything readily available. Keep red meat as a once-a-week treat or for special occasions.

5. Low-fat junk foods

Junk food in itself is a problem, but oftentimes when that processed junk becomes low-fat, it’s even worse, believe it or not. It’s the mind game we play with ourselves, where we justify overindulgence because we are eating something low-fat. Additionally, when foods are low-fat, manufacturers have to fill in the taste somewhere, so they add way too much sugar, which is seriously worse than fat! Carbohydrates and sugar are the ingredients to beware of, not fat, if you are looking to lose weight.

6. Diet microwave meals

In the weight-loss game, the beauty of the microwave meal is that it’s portioned out for you, and it is super convenient. But that’s really the extent of the benefits. Diet microwave meals have had much of the nutrient density pulled out of them in processing, and what’s more, manufacturers often add tons of salt where the fat should be. This bloats us up and causes us to retain water. Yes, I know they are convenient and easy, but many convenience foods are now being blamed for obesity and worse: thyroid dysfunction, heart disease and increased risk for cancer and strokes. Instead, make yourself a real meal. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but in the end, whole fresh foods are what keep us thin.

7. Pasta

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