According to a series of three recent studies by the Harvard School of Public Health, potato chips are at the top of the list of foods associated with weight gain.

The results of the studies appear in the June 23, 2011 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The Harvard researchers found that modest changes in specific foods and beverages, physical activity, TV-watching, and sleep duration were strongly linked with long-term weight gain.  Changes in diet, in particular, had the strongest associations with differences in weight gain.  So lay off of the chips.

Probably not surprisingly, several foods associated with less weight gain when their consumption was actually increased included vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts and yogurt.

So for your picnics during the 107 days of summer this year, make some wise choices.  Focus on less liquid sugars (soda) and other sweets, fewer starches (potatoes) and refined grains (white bread) and eat more minimally processed foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, yogurt).

A more healthful dietary pattern plus a little physical activity (dancing to the best country on WGNA-FM) will go a long way to weigh gain prevention.