Dr. Christopher Gardner, director of nutrition studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, and his colleagues conducted a study on 609 overweight and obese adults living in San Francisco’s Bay Area. Nutritionists coached the adults not to bother with counting calories. They should eat until they felt full, but eat plenty of vegetables and whole foods. The study results held a few surprises.
First, the study participants lost weight without counting calories. According to the New York Times, Gardner said that the ones who lost the most weight “changed their relationship with food.”1 They shifted from processed foods like white bread, sugar-filled snacks, and syrupy sweet drinks consumed at odd hours to whole foods eaten during more traditional meal times. The nutritionists coached them to prepare at home nutrient-packed foods with minimal processing.
The Journal of the American Medical Association published the results, which contained a second surprise.2 Although the study participants were encouraged to exercise, they generally did not—but they still lost weight. They also improved in other health measures, including blood pressure.
After one year of focusing on food quality, not quantity, the adults lost over ten pounds on average. Several shed dozens. Quality foods included brown rice instead of white rice, lean meat instead of fat meat, fresh fruit instead of fruit juice, olive oil, nuts, and plenty of vegetables.
The final surprise came when researchers tested the hypothesis that certain genotypes would respond differently to specific diets. This notion has spawned an industry focused on personalized diets. These study results showed the same kinds of improvements in people with different genotypes. All they did was eat better quality foods.
Why would so many different human bodies show the same positive response to this single diet shift? If mankind was originally designed to absorb nutritious whole foods and vegetables, then no wonder a return to that setup buoys health.
Genesis specifically names “every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed” as God’s original dietary design.3 This study adds to a long line of similar results that reveal a Genesis-friendly connection between human health and a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole foods.
- O'Connor, A. The Key to Weight Loss Is Diet Quality, Not Quantity, a New Study Finds. New York Times. Posted on nytimes.com February 20, 2018, accessed February 21, 2018.
- Gardner, C. D. et al. 2018. Effect of Low-Fat vs Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association With Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion. Journal of the American Medical Association. 319(7): 667-679.
- Genesis 1:29.
*Brian Thomas is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Texas at Dallas.