There’s little else worse than working your butt off in a new exercise program, making big dietary changes, and still not see the results you were hoping for. Often, the reason this happens is because even while you think you’re eating healthy foods, a handful of items in your diet may be ruining your efforts to lose weight…especially when it comes to losing those last 5-10 pounds. Talk about frustrating! The following items can alter the way your body metabolizes and converts energy, causing weight gain, thyroid dysfunction, fatigue, hormone imbalance, and digestive issues…and the WORST part about it all is that these foods are often labeled as health foods!
1. Artificial Sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners are probably the most deceiving of all the metabolism killers, particularly aspartame and sucralose. Aspartame is linked to 92 adverse health effects, and both aspartame and sucralose (Splenda) can stimulate your appetite and actually increase cravings for empty carbs.
Healthier Alternatives: Stevia, erythritol, xylitol, raw honey or dates.
2. Fruit Juice
This one is often unexpected, but drinking fruit juice (and thereby consuming too much sugar) absolutely wrecks metabolism. While something like orange juice or apple juice may sound healthy, it’s no healthier than drinking a soda. An 8-oz glass of fruit juice has 30 grams of sugar, while a soda has 28 grams! You see, to make fruit juice, the fruit is pressed and removed of all the fiber, then heated up through pasteurization, and dried and turned into a concentrate. Finally, additional sugar, food coloring and flavorings are added…and that’s the fruit juice you usually find at the store. Not exactly a health drink. Also, be aware that other forms of added sugar in drinks (and food) can hide under names like dextrose, fructose, juice concentrate, maltodextrin, corn syrup, raw sugar and brown sugar.
Healthier Alternatives: Fresh pressed juice using fruit and vegetable in a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio; blended smoothie; making homemade lemonade using real lemon juice, water and stevia; herbal tea mixed with raw honey; unsweetened coconut water served cold.
3. Vegetable Oils
Using the wrong kind of oil in your foods can totally keep you from losing those last few pounds, slowing down your fat loss, and in fact causing your body to store unwanted body fat. Vegetable oils have too high a content of omega-6, and easily turn into trans fats when used in cooking at high temperatures. Canola oil contains hydrogenated oils, which cause inflammation in the entire body, disrupting hormones and metabolism. On top of that, 90 percent of canola oil is genetically modified, laced with pesticides that cause cellular toxicity, destroying the body’s metabolism (and overall health). Sorry if this is a bummer to your cooking habits, but this one’s gotta go if you’re serious about losing that fat!
Healthier Alternatives: coconut oil, grass-fed butter. Both of these actually support fat loss!
4. Whole Grains
While it seem like whole grains like wheat bread are healthy, they are FAR from beneficial for your metabolism. For many people, gluten-rich foods cause inflammation, which is the root of all disease. However, one of the biggest issues with modern-day wheat products is that they aren’t sold complete, the way they used to be. Instead, most of today’s wheat products are additionally processed and have added preservatives for extra softness and a longer shelf-life. Popular whole grains include bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, baked goods (desserts, muffins, cakes), chips, flours and granola bars.
Healthier Alternatives: Ezekiel bread (or other brand sprouted grain breads), sourdough bread, coconut flour, almond flour.
Today’s granola is troubling because it’s made up of sugar and whole grains, yet disguised as a health food. Even when sweetened with honey, often the honey in these granola bars has been pasteurized at high temperatures and contain no beneficial pollen whatsoever…so it’s no better than corn syrup!
Healthier Alternatives: Homemade sprouted granola: soak almonds, pecans, cashews and chia seeds in water for eight hours, then set them all out on a paper towel for a day. Mix with raw local honey, raisins, coconut flakes, cinnamon and sea salt, and bake for about ten minutes at 350. Now you have a yummy metabolism-boosting snack!
Did any of these metabolism killers surprise you? What are your experiences or stories with these five food items? I’d love to hear from you!