Breaking up is hard to do..but saying goodbye to love handles is easy once you have the low-down. There are certain foods and drinks that need a swift kick to the curb to make your health and weight loss a realistic part of your life.
Here are the 10 foods to break up with now:
The average American drinks 56 gallons of soda a year. This statistic is staggering along with the detrimental health effects (such as weight gain, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, low-level inflammation) from drinking soda. There is a reason it is referred to as ‘liquid sugar’. Each soda contains an average of 10 teaspoons of sugar and it is cane sugar or the more commonly used soda sugar; high-fructose corn syrup that is responsible for the poor health and weight gain. Sugar is bad but high-fructose corn syrup is worse. Excessive use of sugar triggers the hormone insulin and one of its roles is to store fat and keep it there.
Opt instead for sodas sweetened with natural zero calorie sweeteners such as Stevia. Stevia is beneficial for your health in that it balances blood sugar or try sparkling mineral water with a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange juice.
[pullquote]Artificial sweeteners alter gut bacteria to stimulate appetite, cravings and fat storage[/pullquote]It seems like a no-brainer when a sugar soda contains 150 calories each and a diet soda has zero calories to opt for the diet soda. But the health implications are inherent in both types of sodas. The San Antonio Heart Study found that those who drank 21 diet sodas a week were twice as likely to become overweight or obese as people who did not drink diet sodas. Additionally, artificial sweeteners alter gut bacteria to stimulate appetite, cravings and fat storage.
Research suggests that diet sodas trigger hunger and cravings and may substitute lost calories through other foods preventing weight loss. Other research has shown that diet sodas are addictive. A study involving cocaine addicted rats showed the rats preferred saccharine over intravenous cocaine. I recommend stevia, swerve or xylitol. Xylitol is used just like sugar and has been shown to help with weight loss.
People who eat high levels of foods such as ham, sausages, chorizo, salami and bacon have a higher risk of heart disease and cancer, and shorter lives. These processed cured foods contain a carcinogenic ingredient known as sodium nitrite. This is used to color foods so that they appear fresh. Sodium nitrate has the potential to create the formation of cancer-causing nitrosamines. Opt instead for homemade marinated meats, leftover meats, fresh marinated pork, cooked not cured meats.
Microwave popcorn smells and tastes delicious but contains a chemical called diacetyl that is used to give microwave popcorn its buttery flavor. Unfortunately it also can create a condition call bronchiolitis or ‘popcorn workers lung’ Microwave popcorn also contains PCOA a likely carcinogen. On top of that, add in the fat, calories and sodium contained within this popcorn, and you have a health disaster in your hands. Opt instead to make healthier popcorn yourself or buy it pre-popped in a bag.
Bagels are yummy but the portion size is huge. Just one bagel provides the equivalent of the carbohydrate allotment for the entire day. Bagels are low in nutrients, even ‘whole wheat’ bagels are just partially whole wheat. In the standard white bagel, it is mostly white refined flour and that means your blood sugar will spike and then drop…with energy drops as well. Opt instead for eating half a bagel, whole grain toast, whole grain muffin or whole grain tortillas.
Yes, granola bars are portable, tasty, and you feel like you’re making a healthier choice. But beware; these seemingly innocent bars may be an over-processed nutritional mess. These granola bars can be the equivalent to a candy bar. These bars are usually full of sugar, additives and preservatives. Opt instead for dark chocolate. 2 squares of chocolate that is 70% or higher in cacao. This will immediately satisfy your snacking desire, your sweet tooth and is a super food. Fresh fruit, crunchy almonds are also easy portable and healthier alternatives.
Many people believe that highly processed margarine is the healthier butter substitute. In fact, margarine can be high in Trans fatty acids – the most toxic fat known. In time, margarine increases the bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers the good (HDL) cholesterol and decreases immune response. What is even more insidious is its ability to create low-level inflammation (that is silent until symptoms appear) – the core cause of most illness, disease, faster aging and weight gain. Opt instead for real butter. Real butter has been maligned for years due to the saturated fat it contains. We now know that saturated fat is healthy for us in moderation and it is taking time to get the word out.
Many believe that fruit juice is healthy when in fact; it is just a step up from a coke. It’s only saving grace are the nutrients it contains. The real problem with fruit juice is that it is missing the fiber that comes with the whole fruit. This fiber slows the release of the sugar fructose that can be instrumental in triggering weight gain, diabetes, inflammation and more. Only the liver can break fructose down and what is more, this sugar is metabolized to fat far more rapidly than any other fat. Opt instead for coconut water, veggie juice, water or fruit water.
[pullquote]White flour is metabolized just like sugar[/pullquote]Pretzels have the reputation of being a healthier snack food, when in reality they are not. When a food is low in fat, it means the food manufacturers are most likely adding other ingredients to up the taste experience; this can come in the form of sugar, salt and more. In the case of pretzels, it is salt. Pretzels are high in sodium and one serving is a quarter of a day’s sodium quota.
Pretzels are also made with white flour. White flour is metabolized just like sugar creating severe blood sugar spikes and then steep drops. This is the roller coaster effect of inflammatory foods such as pretzels and this means the potential of weight gain down the road. Opt instead for crunchy almonds, cheese crisps (melted shredded cheese medallions in the oven), low-carb tortilla chips.
Corn is a grain not a veggie as most believe. Corn provides vitamins and antioxidant nutrition, many are allergic to corn and this can create corn is the most abundant grain produced in America and helps deliver an over-abundance of omega 6 fats. These fats are essential but trigger inflammation if ingested omega 6 fats are eaten in excess and it certainly is in the Standard American Diet (SAD). Weight gain and low-level inflammation go hand-in-hand Opt instead for non-corn snacks, non-corn tortillas and avoid corn oil.
White flour pasta metabolizes just like sugar causing blood sugar spikes and drops. Many people are eating pasta and do not realize that the reason they have weight gain can be traced to this white flour. When the blood sugar is on a roller coaster ride, the hormone Insulin is triggered excessively and insulin is your fat storage hormone..and likes to keep it there especially around the belly. This is creating an inflammatory effect that slows the body’s metabolism. Opt for 100% high fiber whole grain pasta (on the ingredient list) such as whole wheat or brown rice pasta or opt for spaghetti squash that makes a delicious substitute for white pasta.
Simple switches can make a huge difference in your weight loss and health goals. Never underestimate the power of one small change~
To your good health.