Nutrition is 80% of your diet success or failure. Without the right nutrients, including fats, carbs, proteins and phytonutrients, your body will not let go of its fat stores. Either continue to eat like you have or choose to eliminate foods that make you hungry, tired, irritable and fat (don’t you hate that word).
Some of the evil foods in this list may come as no surprise, while others might be a revelation. They are hidden in some cases, in packaged foods, and in others that are pretty much in-your-face.
Let’s get to it: These are the foods which, when avoided, can make a significant difference in your ability to burn fat…
1. Refined Sugar
Oh how we love our cakes, pies, candies, pancakes, cookies, etc. Some people don’t eat these foods, but unknowingly eat refined sugar in other types of foods. Sugar is hidden in muffins (even those labeled “all natural,”) breads, and dried fruit. This stuff is toxic. It has no nutritional value and is very addictive. We like to call it the other white drug. It messes with the insulin levels in your body and increases sugar cravings, putting you on a crave-and-crash rollercoaster, just like a drug addict.
A great substitution for refined sugar is
. This naturally occurring sweetener comes from the sunflower species of plant. It has zero calories and negligible effect on blood glucose levels, even with this power-packed sweetness.
2. Refined Carbs
Refined carbs aren’t going to help you melt your middle because they are essentially sugar. They can boost energy if you need it quick, like when running a marathon or at the last leg of a triathlon. Most of us though need to stay away from these fat instigators that come in the form of table sugar, fruit juice, fruit, syrup, white flour, and many breakfast cereals. They can also show up, quite sneakily, in things like ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressings, breads that are called ‘natural’ or even ‘wheat,’ pastas, cereals, beer, sherry, and many wines.
Instead, eat carbohydrates with a more complex molecular structure. Complex carbohydrates include your veggies, potatoes, pastas and rice – just be sure not to eat the simplified versions of these either, like white rice – that is also a refined carb.
Salt can cause high-blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. It also contributes to weight gain. Diets with a high salt content actually cause the body to produce more fat cells, and make them denser and thicker. Yuck, right. Your body can handle around 1400 to 2500 mg of salt per day, but most people consume almost 6000 mg daily without even realizing it. It damages tissue and cells and makes your body’s ability to burn fat practically nil.
Consider replacing salt with turmeric, parsley, sage, cinnamon, rosemary or ginger.
4. Artificial Sweeteners
These sweeteners interfere with the hormones that tell your brain that you are full. So you feel less satiated when you eat and therefore consume too many calories. They also cause a spike in your insulin levels, which means that your blood glucose levels become severely depleted. Sucrose, saccharin, and acesulfame-k, specifically, affect insulin in bad ways, but eating any type of ‘fake’ sweetener (aside from naturally derived Stevia, honey or molasses) can cause spiking in blood sugar levels. This can make us fat.
Skip the fake sweet stuff and drink more water or green tea.
5. Trans Fats
There are three types of fats; the good, the bad and the ugly, and trans fats fall in the UGLY category. Basically, if man made the fat rather than nature, i.e., a trans fat, the body can’t process it properly, and it ends up on your rear end or your middle.
Here is a list of the top ten foods that contain Trans-fats:
- Margarine – If you can get it in the tub instead of the stick, it will likely contain less trans fat, but read the labeling.
- Cake Mixes/Biscuit Mixes – Do-it-yourself baking means that they add trans fats to the mix. Say no thanks, and try from scratch.
- Frozen Foods – Don’t be fooled by packages that say low fat. Frozen pizzas, dinners, chicken, crumbed fish and other products can be full of trans fats.
- Baked Goods – If you must eat these, make them at home. The packaged cakes, cookies, breads, bagels, cakes, frosting’s and donuts are full of trans fats.
- Fast Food> – Don’t be fooled, partially hydrogenated oil is the same as Trans-fat, and many fast food joints use this stuff in copious amounts to cook your food. If you must eat at a fast food chain, order grilled items instead of deep fried.
- Soups – We know that this one may come as a surprise, but both boxed and canned soups can be full of trans fats. Keep it real and dig out the recipe books.
- Candy and Cookies – These are hard to turn down – but again, instead of buying the packaged variety, make them at home if you can, and use coconut oil.
- Breakfast Foods – From cereals to breakfast bars, you can find unhealthy fats in so many packaged breakfast foods and snacks. Go for a whole grain version without the unneeded fat.
- Chips and Crackers – Try to find these munchies in the baked version to avoid unsaturated fats.
- Condiments – This is usually another choker for many people, but salad dressings, mayonnaise, gravy, whipped toppings, hot fudge, coffee creamers, and even ketchup can have Trans-fats. If you want a healthy dressing for salad, use oil and apple cider vinegar, and low-fat milk instead of boxed or bottled creamers.
6. Sports Drinks, Sodas and Juices
We can tell you this… ditch them. Sports drinks, commercially packaged juices, and sodas are normally full of refined sugar and contain hardly any electrolytes even when they make those types of claims. Try water – it has… drrrrum roll please… zero calories, and doesn’t mess with your glucose levels.
7. White Flour
Another no-no for losing fat is the consumption of white flour. Not just pure white flour. It is also served up by the food industry as ‘enriched wheat flour.’ White flour is processed so that the most nutritious part of the grain is separated out.
Try whole-wheat flour instead. It is a much healthier version and can be used to make everything from pizza crusts to noodles and tortillas, as well as all the standard baked goods, like crepes, bread, waffles, croutons, piecrusts, etc.