Want to eat healthy and clean? It's not easy. People tell me all the time how challenging it is to eat truly healthy when the good stuff is hard to find. Food products, not food, have been on center stage for years and years, taking up more of the spotlight than ever before. And there seems to be endless possibilities to capitalize on consumers' weaknesses.
Got celiac disease? Lucky you! Chex has a line of gluten free cereals that are here to save the day. The product might be loaded with a bunch of other junk that will hurt your waistline, but at least you have options, right? Yes, you do...but it doesn't have to be these products.
Have diabetes or desperate to lose weight? Thankfully the world is not at a loss for artificially sweetened beverages and products. Problem solved? Hardly. Consumption simply masks one problem for another.
Fortunately, healthy foods DO exist. They're not hard to find, but knowing what to avoid will help get you moving in the right direction.
Below are four common ingredients found in everyday foods that have been shown to negatively impact not just our weight, but our health, too!
TRANS FATS - even the smallest amount of trans fat is harmful to your heart. There is no recommended minimum set as no level is considered acceptable. However, because trans fats create great shelf stability, using them is attractive to food manufacturers, regardless of how it impacts on our health. Hurt your heart and you hurt your health. What's more, most foods that contain trans fats, contain a lot of other junk. Trans fats are the bottom of the barrel in terms of nutrition. Food manufacturers can only go up in terms of the ingredients they add, but the standards are not very high.
Where are trans fats found?
- Frozen entrees, kids' and adult varieties
- Candy, especially those with a chocolate coating, like Girl Scouts' Thin Mints
- Baked goods
- Fried Fast Food
- Pie Crust
- Non Dairy Creamer
HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP (HFCS) - Fructose, or sugar derived primarily from fruit, is not easily stored in our body. Excess fructose ultimately elevates our triglyceride levels. Yup, this means too much fruit, especially when eaten on a full stomach, is likely to get stored as fat. Now take HFCS and you'll really throw your body for a loop. Not only will your body not store it as energy, but it simply doesn't know what to do with it at all. As far as sugars go, this one is the worst. Foods created in a lab don't bode well in our body. Consuming HFCS is a fast track to weight gain.
Where is HFCS found?
- Kids' Cereals
- Salad Dressings
- Flavored Yogurt
ENRICHED FLOURS - "Enriched" sounds like such a nice word, but in terms of nutrition it means that the flour has been stripped down to an incredibly refined form, then pumped up with hard-to-absorb nutrients on the back end. What's more, because the flour has been refined, your body's ability to break it down will be at warp speed, throwing off insulin levels, thereby wreaking havoc on the rest of your hormones, too.
Where are enriched flours found?
- Pastries/Baked Goods
ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS - The neurological effects of consuming artificial sweeteners have been well-documented, especially over the past decade. What a lot of people don't realize is that artificial sweeteners have been shown to increase obesity and type 2 diabetes, heart disease and of course, metabolic syndrome. Just because a food is calorie free doesn't mean it won't affect your health or your weight.
Where are artificial sweeteners found?
- Diet Sodas
- Low Calorie or Sugar Free Juices
- Children's Medicine
- Sauces and Salad Dressings
- Drink Powders
- Flavored Yogurt
Bottom Line: Our body will ALWAYS revolt against anything that moves away from nature. All the foods above have been tweaked in ways, some quite dramatically, that don't resemble real food anymore.
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