Whether you’re gaining or losing weight, it all comes down to calories. There are so many calories packed into sugary carbs, fats and processed foods that often people tend to overeat these items and consume more calories than they realize. Plus, most of these high-calorie foods don’t contain much fiber, making you hungrier–faster.
The best way to lose weight is to eat a lot of foods that are low in calories. These foods will satisfy your hunger for longer—without the surplus calories. Vegetables are the best foods to stick to in terms of low-calorie, hunger satisfiers. Whole grains, fruits, nuts, fish and poultry are also important staples of a low-calorie diet. The main thing to remember is to stay away from processed foods and refined carbohydrates.
Daily physical exercise will also contribute significantly to weight loss. If you aim for losing 2 pounds per week, you can easily drop 20-30 pounds in six months. Just stay away from the foods listed below:
Although trans fats have the same amount of calories as olive oil, they do trigger the release of inflammatory substances called eicosanoids that make it harder to burn stored fat. These kinds of artificial, hydrogenated fats should never be eaten. Not only do they harm your cardiovascular system, but they also add more unwanted calories. Most fast foods contain trans fats, as well as a number of processed foods. When you’re shopping at the grocery store, look out for the word “hydrogenated.” This indicates that trans fats are used. Lastly, pick butter over margarine—most of the margarine sold in the US contains trans fat.
Consider yourself warned: labels that say trans fat-free are not always correct. Manufacturers are allowed to say this when their product contains less than .5 grams of trans fat per serving. You may think that such a small amount won’t hurt, but you’re wrong. Any amount of trans fat is a health risk. It can accumulate in the body, especially in the arteries, and cannot be broken down the same way normal fats are.
Our taste buds love anything sweet because that is where the calories are. The human body has evolved to zero in on where the calories are in order to avoid starvation. These days, manufacturers add sugar to just about any and every food, even to foods that are naturally sweet. Every year, the average American consumes about 175 pounds of sugar–that’s equal to one cup per day!
This excessive amount of sugar completely messes with our metabolism. It causes major insulin spikes that contribute to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Cancer, among other serious medical conditions. The purpose of insulin is to remove all of this excess glucose from the bloodstream. When insulin levels spike, your energy levels and hunger yo-yo. Studies have demonstrated that eating sugary foods and refined carbohydrates often causes carbohydrate cravings and nonstop hunger. Naturally, the result is overeating these foods, which leads to weight gain and eventually obesity.
In this day and age, sugar is often replaced by high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Humans metabolize HFCS much differently than sugar; it is converted into fat at a faster rate than normal sugar. What’s more, studies have shown that HFCS doesn’t stop hunger—so these calories won’t make you feel full. Essentially, your body doesn’t recognize the calories in HFCS, so we naturally eat more.
Since it costs a lot less than sugar, HFCS is now in practically all processed foods. Many low-fat and fat-free foods even contain HFCS to make up for the lack of flavor when fat is removed. Soft drinks, however, are the worst in terms of HFCS levels. Your risk for obesity goes up 60% if you drink soda. Scientists have discovered that those who drink soda on a regular basis gain several additional pounds per year. They also found that just giving up one soft drink a day results in the loss of one pound per week.
Even though the law requires manufacturers to list their ingredients in order from greatest concentration to least concentration on all food labels, most have figured out a way to trick the consumer anyway—they have code names from sweeteners such as maltose and fructose. The best defense is to steer clear of all processed food and trust your instincts. If something comes in a brightly colored box or bag, it’s likely that it contains added sweeteners. Stick to foods in their natural form and you’ll be safe and slim!
Artificial sweeteners aren’t much better than HFCS. They too don’t let your stomach feel satisfied, so you end up consuming more calories than you want. In the last 25 years, the consumption of artificially sweetened foods and drinks has increased dramatically. Not surprisingly, obesity rates have gone up right on with it. Research has also shown a correlation between artificial sweeteners and migraines, seizures, depression, fatigue, hearing loss, memory loss and panic attacks.
Aspartame is one of the most widely-used artificial sweeteners and can be found in over 5,000 diet foods, drinks, cereals, jams, gum–even vitamins. More than 2/3 of the adult population and 40% of children regularly consume aspartame in one form or another. Because it has no calories, aspartame is coveted among the weight-conscious. Research is beginning to show, however, that aspartame can produce headaches, memory loss, mood swings, multiple sclerosis, tumors–even death.
Splenda, or sucralose, may not be much better than aspartame. As of 2006, a mere six human trials have been conducted on this artificial sweetener. Only two of these studies were completed and published before it was approved by the FDA.
If you must have an artificial sweetener, stick to Jim Healthy’s new SLIMTEVIA or stevia, a super sweet herb from South America that has been used for hundreds of years. Stevia has no calories and is much safer than these other artificial sugars.
The original Coke bottle contained 6.5 ounces. Today’s plastic version contains three times that—a whooping 20 ounces. The larger bottle is 2.5 servings whereas the original holds enough for just one. In the last 30 years, suppliers of snack foods and drinks have discovered that they can boost revenue and draw in more people if they offer larger portions of food for just a little extra money. Don’t give in to these sneaky tactics! The giant bottles of soda, oversized bags of chips and other things are all enough for 2 or 3 people rather thank just one. Simply avoid these processed foods altogether and at a restaurant, ask for half your meal to be placed in a take home box before you take a bite.
Research has shown that eating fast food more than a few times a week increases the risk of obesity by 50%. In a University of Minnesota study found that those who ate fast food often consumed more calories and gained more weight than those who didn’t eat fast food as much. The same is true for kids. Researchers at the University of Boston discovered that obesity rates spiked by 60% for every serving of sugary drinks consumed per day. Luckily, the Jim Healthy way of eating contains no fast food, and yet the recipes are fast and easy to make. These recipes fit perfectly into any weight-loss program.