There are a host of “bad foods” that will put a damper on your weight loss plans. You are already well aware that potato chips, French fries, ice cream, and similar foods should be scratched off of your healthy eating list. What are a few types of food items that may not be as obviously detrimental to losing those extra pounds? We will explore some of the leading ingredients that may have caused you to fall into a weight loss rut.
Calorie-conscious individuals often reach for artificial sweeteners as an alternative to real sugar. Unfortunately, there have been many recent studies showing that artificial sweeteners found in such products as diet soda actually cause weight gain. How is this possible when these products promise zero calories? Many researchers believe that artificial sweeteners alter the body’s metabolism. There is a physiological connection that occurs when you consume these zero-calorie ingredients. Your taste buds taste sweet and so your body expects to consume calories. When the calories do not arrive in your body, researchers believe that your brain chemistry changes, and your metabolism slows down as a result.
Most of us have heard about the high caloric content of alcohol. A 12 oz. bottle of beer can contain anywhere between 100 and 300 calories. Did you know that alcohol can also slow down your body’s ability to burn calories? Whenever you drink alcohol, it is broken down into acetate. Your body’s immediate reaction is to burn down acetate before any other calories you may have consumed. When you drink more calories than your body is able to break down, the calories you’ve eaten that day are more likely to be stored as fat. There’s more bad news—the process of lipid oxidation is temporarily inhibited by alcohol consumption. In other words, your body temporarily loses its ability to burn the fat that is already stored in your body when you consume alcohol. All of these discouraging facts do not mean that you can never drink again if you want to lose weight. You can still drink moderate amounts and lose weight.
Despite what countless advertisements put out by the National Dairy Council report, the truth of the matter is that dairy should only be consumed in small amounts. Unfortunately, many of us start out our day with milk in our coffee and cereal. We then have cheese in our lunch and dinner, perhaps with another glass of milk. All of this dairy adds up and causes significant weight gain. Dairy should not be used as a weight loss or weight maintenance solution. In addition, a growing number of studies are revealing that many people are lactose intolerant. In other words, many individuals are not able to digest pasteurized milk, which throws off the digestive system. Some people choose to only use “raw” dairy products or to eliminate dairy products altogether to get their digestive systems back in order.
Meats High in Saturated Fats
It is nearly impossible to avoid fats altogether, nor should you try to eliminate all fats from your diet. However, meats that are high in saturated fats are a significant part of the American diet, which is partly the cause of our high obesity rates. Our bodies already produce all of the saturated fats that we need, so it is not necessary to add any more through our diet. Saturated fats increase the amount of “bad” LDL cholesterol in our bodies and reduce protective HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is essential for removing cholesterol from the body. Meats (and dairy) high in saturated fat cause a greater amount of fat storage.
Foods High in Salt
Since salt does not contain calories itself, it will not cause you to lose or gain fat. Salt will only cause temporary weight gain by causing your body to retain water. So, why is salt often associated with weight loss diets? Foods that contain the addition of considerable amounts of salt also tend to be rich in fat, dense in calories, processed, and low in fiber. When you choose foods that are low in salt, you are more likely to adhere to a diet that is fiber rich, lower in calories, less processed, and, in general, healthier for you.