Quitting smoking leads to more weight gain than originally thought, discovered a recent study, with an average gain of eight to eleven pounds in the first year.
Researchers analyzed data from earlier studies that were conducted between 1989 and 2023 in the United States, Europe, Australia and east Asia. They looked at weight changes of people who had successfully quit smoking.
They discovered the majority of the weight is put on during the first three months. For quitters who did not use nicotine replacement therapy they gained an average of 2 pounds the first month, 5 pounds the second month, 6 pounds during the third month, 9 pounds at six months and 10 pounds after a year.
Previous experts estimated people only gained an average of 6 pounds when quitting. This new research shows that the weight gain is more than most women are willing to tolerate when it comes to attempting to quit.
However, you shouldn’t let the fear of gaining weight discourage you from quitting. Experts continue to stress that the health benefits of quitting far outweigh the risks of weight gain.
Also, the significant weight gain were from quitters who did not use a nicotine replacement therapy. Using quitting aids and cessation classes may help reduce the amount of weight gain.
If you are not interested in either of those options, there may be a more natural option. Another study that took place at the University of Buffalo discovered that smokers who had a higher intake of fruit and vegetables smoked fewer cigarettes per day and also waited longer to smoke their first cigarette of the day. They also scored lower on a nicotine dependence test.
Further research needs to be done to distinguish if this connection between fruit and veggies and smoking is an association or a cause-and-effect link. But some possible explanations include fruits and vegetables altering the taste of cigarettes, making them taste bad; the high fiber may make people feel more full, alleviating the desire to smoke a cigarette, since smokers often confuse hunger with the need to smoke.
The researchers also wanted to stress that the actual body weight of individuals varied about 16 percent from the average and 13 percent actually gained more than 22 pounds in the first year.