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Research Updates | Obesity / Overweight

Food groups and risk of weight gain

24 / 04 / 19

Finding: Intake of wholegrains, fruits, nuts, legumes and fish were inversely association with overweight/obesity while positive associations were found for refined grains, red meat and sugar sweetened beverages (SSB).


This meta-analysis summarised the evidence of a prospective association between intake of 12 different food groups and risk of general overweight/obesity (OO), abdominal obesity (AO) and weight gain (WG). Evidence quality was rated using the NutrGrade tool. In the dose response meta-analysis inverse associations (relative risk) were found for intake of whole grain (OO RR 0.92), fruit (OO RR 0.93; WG RR 0.91), nut (AO RR 0.42), legume (OO RR 0.88) and fish (AO RR 0.83). Positive associations were found for refined grains (OO RR 1.05), red meat (AO RR 1.10; WG RR 1.14) and SSB (OO RR 1.05). The findings were judged to be very low to low quality evidence and to improve this better-designed observational studies, inclusion of intervention trials and use of novel statistical methods were recommended.


Schlesinger S, Neuenschwander M, Schwedhelm et al. Food Groups and Risk of Overweight, Obesity, and Weight Gain: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. Adv Nutr 2019;10 (2):205-218 (full text free)