Losing weight can be hard, especially getting rid of the stubborn fat around the belly that seems to stick around no matter how much you exercise and try to eat right. But according to the folks at “Eat This, Not That!” it might be what you are eating — not necessarily how much – that is causing the stalemate.
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“The more efficient your body is at burning calories and transforming them into energy, the less likely you’ll gain weight,” state the editors. “But the slowdown occurs when you consume metabolism-wrecking foods so your body isn”t able to shred as much fat as you’d like.”
Here are their top 10 worst food choices:
- Refined grains. Pasta, bread, and pizzas are natural culprits because they contain refined grains that your body does not have to work hard to break down. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study saying, when you chose whole grains instead of refined grains, your body will have an increased calorie loss because your metabolism becomes more active.
- Too much alcohol. A glass to two of wine is actually healthy, but drinking more than that in one sitting can take a major toll on your metabolic rate. According to research, drinking alcohol decreases the body’s fat-burning ability by 73 percent.
- Non-organic foods. Eating food contaminated with pesticides can lead to a slower metabolism, say the editors. Canadian researchers discovered people whose bodies show high levels of organochlorines, a type of pesticide, tend to have a slower metabolism and more difficulty losing weight.
- Traditional yogurt. While Greek yogurt contains lots of protein and probiotics that help boost your metabolism, some traditional yogurts have too much sugar and fruit puree to be effective. These simple carbs cause a spike in blood sugar and trigger the inevitable crash, leaving you feeling hungry, say the editors. “Stick to plain 2 percent Greek yogurt or a low-sugar, high protein Icelandic yogurt like Siggi’s,” they advise.
- Foods full of sugar. Even common foods like fruit juice and sweetened cereal can damage your diet. One glass of classic O.J. in the morning contains a whopping 22 grams of sugar. You are better off easing the whole orange and having a high fiber cereal to start off the day.
- Regular sea salt. When you choose iodized sea salt, you improve thyroid function which in turn helps boost your metabolism.
- Margarine. Margarine is often made of unhealthy trans-fats which can wreak havoc with your metabolism. Researchers at Wake Forest University found animals given a diet high in trans-fat gained more weight than those consuming a diet rich in monounsaturated fat like olive oil, even though the amount of calories remained the same.
- Farmed beef. Meat fed with antibiotics can have a damaging effect on your gut bacteria. Harvard University researchers found that long-term consumption of a animal proteins alters the balance of bacteria in the gut, slowing down your metabolism. Go for organic or grass fed beef.
- French fries. That side of fries is probably cooked in hydrogenated oil, loading them with metabolism-slowing trans-fats. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition warns that eating fried foods is linked with increased risk of abdominal obesity and weight gain.
- Frozen meals. As convenient as they are, these meals are loaded with extra sugar, sodium and trans-fat to make them taste good. And even the packaging is suspect. Many of the plastic trays are filled with BPA, a chemical that’s been linked to metabolic disturbances and weight gain.