At the start of his latest clinical trial in 2018, National Institutes of Health researcher Kevin Hall was sure he wouldn’t see a difference.
His study, intended to monitor caloric intake and weight gain, offered its participants one of two nearly identical menus. Both contained the same number of calories, and comparable amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Even the diets’ fiber, sugar, and sodium contents were matched. Nutrient-wise, they were about as similar as two meal plans could get.
But as the days ticked by, Hall quickly began to see how wrong his initial hunch had been. Despite the superficial similarities, one group was eating much more of the food they were offered. And by the end of two weeks, the members of that same group had gained an average of two pounds, while their counterparts had lost two pounds.
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