Smoking May Actually Cause Weight GAIN!
5th April 2018
smokeMany people that smoke have carried on through their life without wanting to stop smoking on fear of gaining weight. Indeed, a long popular belief from smokers is that the moment they ditch the cigarettes, they will instantly balloon. Slim supermodels such as Kate Moss – often pictured with a cigarette in tow – also seem to give credence to the misguided theory that smoking = weight loss. However, the findings of a new US study have perhaps shattered this myth, and have actually found that smokers have poorer diets compared to their non-smoking counterparts, and are actually more at risk of piling on the pounds. The study was conducted by researchers from Fairfield University and Yale University, who assessed dietary information from 5,293 US adults who had been asked to report what they had consumed in the previous 24 hours. The researchers then worked out the average dietary energy density (kcal/g) of each person’s diet. Dietary energy density (ED) is a method for analysing diet quality, and researchers highlighted that the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends a low-ED diet to assist in maintaining a healthy weight and prevent obesity. Calorie counts were adjusted for age, sex, weight and exercise levels, and it was found that smokers consumed around 200 more calories per day than non-smokers or former smokers, despite eating significantly smaller portions of food. Even though the non-smokers ate more food, the food comprised of less calories, around 1.79 calories per gram of food. In comparison, daily smokers consumed 2.02 kcal/ and non-daily smokers consumed 1.89 kcal/g. Those that used to smoke and had given up also consumed more calories per gram of food (1.84kcal/g) compared to those who had never previously smoked, although a lot less than the current daily smokers. Moderate and heavy smokers were found to be less likely to adhere to dietary recommendations, such as the ‘five a day’ portions of fruit and vegetables, and the findings suggest that indeed any level of smoking could be linked with a poorer diet. The authors say this could mean that smokers are at an even bigger risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Dr. Jacqueline Vernarelli, one of the co-authors of the study, noted that as well as addition boosting overall health, adopting a nutrient-dense low-ED diet may actually aid in helping smokers to quit. A large number of smokers are worried about possible weight gain after quitting, causing them to carry on smoking. The findings can be found published online in the journal BMC Public Health.