Trying to lose weight? Struck a weight loss plateau after loosing 3-4 Kilos?
Or maybe trying to maintain weight? Why is it so hard?!
Well, as we grow older, it does become more and more difficult to maintain our ideal weight. While we are conscious about the right and wrong foods, and even make the right decisions about food, why is it so difficult to stick to our healthy weight?
I’ll tell you why!
Because we are constantly misinformed about “healthy” foods via different media.
And also because what is ok for one person is not ok for another. You must have heard the quote-
“One man’s food is another man’s poison!”
Here is a list of 3 foods that are actually very very bad for you, but are masquerading as health food. They are often included as part of daily meals and snacks, and contribute to a daily negative load on your health and weight.
After all there is nothing worse than starting a dedicated diet and exercise program, only to get disheartened after a month.
So here’s your list of foods that act like the proverbial Trojan horse and are disrupting your good health initiatives.
1. Granola bars / Energy bars
You probably already know that candy is not good for you. I’m sure you don’t eat candy and even restrict your children to small amounts. But granola bars or energy bars are a different story.
They are healthy, right?
Why, some brands even claim their granola bars to be a wholesome meal replacement!
They have the right vitamins, right?
And they are meant to be great after a workout, right?
Store brought granola bars or energy bars are full of cheap ingredients. They are full of sugar as high fructose corn syrup, just plain sugar or commercial juice concentrates. Many will fool you into thinking that their product is healthy by putting in a little bit of fruit or throwing in some synthetic vitamins that cannot be used by your body!
Many will have artificial sweeteners that are actually as bad as sugar for your health.
What does your energy bar or granola bar contain?
- Soy protein and/or whey protein: Most soy protein isolate and most whey protein used in such prepared products are not sourced fresh. They are usually the waste products of the soy oil and cheese industries. And soy sourced correctly or not is never good for you. It has high amounts of the female hormone estrogen along with phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors and isoflavones.
- High fructose corn syrup or concentrated fruit juices are more hazardous to your health and weight than sugar.
- Added Vitamins and amino acids: Vitamins and amino acids are usually the variety that are cheap and easily sourced. These added vitamins are generally, not a bio-absorbable complex.
The combination of gluten, phytic acid and sugars makes this store brought energy bar lethal to your metabolism and diet goals.
What to do?
Make your own energy bar! Is simple, all you need is a dehydrator or oven.
Click here for a simple recipe of a nut energy bar. This recipe takes 10 minutes to prepare + 25 mins to cook.
Click here for a simple nut granola (cereal) recipe. This recipe takes only 10 mins prep time. 25 mins cooking time.
Simple nutrient rich, sugar free granola for you, made by yourself with absolute control over what goes in there!
2. Fruit Juice:
While you are in weight loss mode you may decide that fruit juice is a good way to fill up on electrolytes and energy. You may then look at the market and lean towards the kind of juice that advertises itself as “100 percent juice” and “not made from concentrate”.
So, Is fruit juice good for health and weight loss?
At outset let me say that no fruit juice either from the store or juiced fresh at home is good for someone aiming at weight loss. Any kind of fruit juice is very high in sugar and will raise your blood sugar.
Meanwhile as far as commercial fruit juice is concerned, It may come as a surprise to learn that what you find in a carton of 100% pure, not-from-concentrate fruit juice is nothing like what you’d get if you juiced fruits in your own kitchen.
For industrially-produced fruit juice, after the fruits are juiced, it is stored in million gallon holding tanks and the oxygen is removed from them, which allows the liquid to keep for up to a year without spoiling.
Alissa Hamilton J.D, PhD, a Food and Society Policy Fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), explains the ins and outs of mass-produced juice in her book, Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice.
She says –
“The technology of choice at the moment is aseptic storage, which involves stripping the juice of oxygen, a process known as ‘de-aeration,’ so it doesn’t oxidize in the million gallon tanks in which it can be kept for upwards of a year.
When the juice is stripped of oxygen it is also stripped of flavor-providing chemicals. Juice companies therefore hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that formulate perfumes for Dior and Calvin Klein, to engineer flavor packs to add back to the juice to make it taste fresh.”
What to do?
We are a fan of juicing. Vegetable juicing! Carrots, watercress, lettuce and celery are our regulars. Occasionally we even do a green apple. If you juice vegetables regularly you will not need supplements! While vegetable juicing at home assists weight loss, fruit juice of any kind will NOT allow weight loss.
3. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are of 3 types.
- saccharin (Sweet’N Low)
- sucralose (Splenda / Sugar Free) &
Research over the last 30 years have shown that artificial sweeteners stimulate appetite, increase cravings for carbs, and produce a variety of metabolic dysfunctions that promote fat storage and weight gain.
Artificial sweeteners tell the lie that you can satisfy your sweet tooth, with no calories, no guilt and a thinner waist line. However, artificial sweeteners are actually linked to 92 adverse health effects. Artificial sweeteners are now alarmingly added to about 6,000 different processed beverages, snacks, and food products.
A study published in Nature, 2014, was able to show that there’s a direct cause and effect relationship between consuming artificial sweeteners and developing elevated blood sugar levels.
As part of the study, 7 volunteers who did not use artificial sweeteners were recruited, and asked to consume the equivalent of 10-12 single-dose packets of artificial sweeteners daily for one week.
4 of the 7 people developed “significant disturbances in their blood glucose,” according to the researchers. Some became pre-diabetic within just a few days. The reason for this dramatic shift was traced back to alterations in gut bacteria. Some bacteria were killed off, while others started proliferating.
Some of the direct adverse health effects of artificial sweeteners are – increased insulin sensitivity, weight gain, gut dysbiosis.
What to do?
Ditch the artificial sweeteners! For safe and natural options use stevia. You may even use raw honey or dates occasionally.
However, if you are struggling with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or weight loss problems, then you have insulin sensitivity issues. In such cases you would probably benefit by retraining you body to like the taste of natural foods without addition of anything sweet.
- Nature September 17, 2014
- PLOS One October 14, 2014
- Scientific American November 26, 2014
- PBS News Hour September 17, 2014
- Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 2010 June; 83(2): 101–108
- “New analysis suggests ‘diet soda paradox’ – less sugar, more weight”, June 14, 2005 • Volume: XXXVIII • Issue: 24
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