It is a well-known fact that your weight loss or weight gain is directly dependent on what you are eating. No amount of sweating out in the gym can compensate for unhealthy and unregulated eating habits. If you are burning around 200 calories in the gym and eating a 300 calorie dessert later, yes, you guessed it right, you will gain weight.
And, calories aren’t the only concern when eating unhealthy food items. The unhealthy carbs, unsaturated fats and harmful chemicals can also cause short and long term damage to your body. So, to complement a good workout routine, you need to stay away from certain unhealthy food items. And, those ten most unhealthy food items that you need to avoid at all cost are –
Condiments and Sauces
What possible harm a little topping or a sauce can cause? The answer is pretty big one. For example, two tablespoons of ranch dressing or a barbeque sauce on your favorite wings and ribs have 150 calories. And, depending upon how spicy and fiery you like your wings, you can consume more than 500 calories in the dipping sauce itself. Also, the same quantity of ranch dressing that is two tablespoons, has 16 grams of fat. And, it can contain up to 10 percent of your RDA of sodium and carbs.
Plus, many versions of sauces and condiments such as salad dressings and mayo is loaded with chemicals, high-fructose corn syrup, and fake food dyes. You need to be especially careful of mayonnaise, which being a fluffy mixture of oil, vinegar and egg yolk is particularly high on fats and calories. A single serving of mayonnaise, which is one tablespoon has 100 calories.
There is nothing better than a fresh, hot bagel first thing in the morning. Apart from being extremely delicious, the bagel is the ultimate grab-and-go food. However, and unfortunately, it is one of the most unhealthy food items. An average single bagel has up to 350 calories and 50-60 gram of carbohydrates. The carbohydrate content is similar to that of three slices of bread. And, unless, you are going to sweat out after eating bagel, it is going to settle down on your waist, thighs and hips. And, if you love to top your bagel with a hefty topping of cream cheese, some butter, an egg or bacon, then good luck with those love handles.
Another problem with bagel is that its nutrient density is very poor. Apart from high sugar content, it has virtually nothing. It lacks vitamins, minerals and fibre. And, without fibre, the bagel is going to be digested quickly, converted to sugar and then, into fat.
Low-Fat Packaged Foods
Often, it is seen that people grab cartful of low fat packaged foods from the supermarkets without any guilt and conscience. And, why would they? They apparently believe in one of the most lucrative frauds of the food packaging industry. The fraud is that the low fat packaged foods are the golden ticket to weight loss. The fat content in the food adds flavor and texture. So, if you are going to remove fat from the food (for low fat food), then you will need something else for the flavor and texture. And, that something is carbohydrates, sodium, sugar and starch. Remember, the only thing that you will get from low fat packaged foods is a nice insulin surge.
What makes these foods even worse is, the psychological factor. The corporates fool people into believing that low fat food is healthier and better for them. So, people tend to eat larger portions without counting calories, they are consuming. In fact, a research conducted by Cornell University Food and Brand Lab shows that people, who snack on low-fat foods over full-fat ones end up consuming about 28 percent more calories.
Pre-packaged Gluten-Free Products
Gluten-free products is another fraudulent trend that promises to magically solve your weight gain problems and will purge your conscience of any residue of guilt because Hey! You are staying away from gluten. So, fill your plates with gluten-free cookies, pizzas and pretzels. However, it would be beneficial for your weight loss program, if you stay away from them. Like low fat food we discussed in the preceding point, the gluten free products are loaded with unhealthy products that can bring flavor and texture back to the product that has been missing by the removal of gluten. And, deceived by the content of such products, people tend to throw all their caution to wind and end up consuming unhealthy amounts of calories. So, unless you are gluten intolerant, the gluten free products won’t be any good for you.
Do you know why the energy bars give you a quick zip? Because of sugar. A lot of bars available in the market are packed with sugar and carbohydrates, and have very low fibre content. Due to the low fibre content, the sugar and carbohydrates are quickly digested and converted into sugar, which could be stored as fat in your body cells. Be especially careful, if your energy bar tastes like a candy bar. However, it doesn’t mean that all energy bars are sugar bombs. Some of them are very healthy and can help you sail through the energy slump smoothly. When buying an energy bar, always check the label. Stay away from those that have high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and large amounts of carbs and calories.
The artificial sweeteners affects body’s ability to gauge the number of calories that has been consumed. The human brain is naturally wired to respond to sweetness by signalling to eat more. And, as the artificial sweeteners doesn’t have any calories, it makes our body crave for more sweet food and drinks, which increases the calorie consumption significantly. In fact, a study carried out on more than 3600 subjects has proved that the artificial sweeteners affects weight gain. The study found that those who drank artificially sweetened drinks had a 47% higher increase in BMI than those who did not. So, in the end, you might consume more calories that you were trying to avoid by using artificial sweeteners.
Another side effect of consuming artificial sweeteners is that it may cause bacterial imbalance in the gastrointestinal tract. This fact has been proved in different animal studies.
The new studies have found that fruit juices are just as bad as a soda. This new revelation has been made by the American scientists, who a decade ago had made world aware of the corn syrup present in the soft drinks. Barry Popkin and George Bray have claimed that the fruit juices and smoothies are the next health hazard. They argue that eating one or two oranges makes you feel full. However, drinking a standard packaged fruit juice that could contain as much sugar as six oranges could not make you feel full and satisfied. With almost six oranges, couple of hours later, you will be once again hungry. So, your overall food intake isn’t affected as it would have been by eating an orange and you end up gazumping cup loads of calories.
Another problem with drinking fruit juice instead of eating a fruit is that it doesn’t has any fibre. The presence of fibre in the fruit makes you feel full and slows absorption of sugar into your bloodstream.
Fruit at the bottom of yogurt
The regular yogurt with fruit at the bottom has low content of protein and about 29 grams of carbohydrates. And, only 12 grams out of it comes from the milk itself and rest comes from the sugar contained in the fruits. It has to be noted here that the total sugar contained in it is similar to that present in two slices of bread or two tablespoons of sugar. Though, the Greek yogurt with fruit at the bottom has more protein content, but the sugar content in it remains the same. So, it is better to spoon in plain Greek yogurt. And, if you like it with fruits, then top it with fresh cut fruits.
We know that you love hot dog and other picnic essential processed meat items such as sausages, salami and cold cuts. But, believe me, eating too many of them isn’t good for your health. In fact, it will shave years of your life. The study conducted at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Zurich has found that those who ate the processed meat increased their risk of dying early by 44 percent. Though, the scientists have failed to establish a direct connection between the two, but they have managed to venture a reason or two. It is speculated that as the processed meat is rich in cholesterol and saturated fat, therefore, it might cause coronary heart disease. Another reason is that nitrates are used to improve durability, color and taste of the meat. And, the nitrates are known to cause formation of carcinogens, which are linked to the risk of colorectal and stomach cancer.
If there is anything worse than butter, then it is trans fats. And, these are found in abundance in margarine. Of course, not all have only trans fats. Some types of margarine contains unsaturated “good” fats — polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. In general, the more solid the margarine, the more trans fat it contains. Trans fat like saturated fats is responsible for increase in blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. It also lowers high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol levels.
The best way to check whether the margarine you are going to buy is health beneficial or not, check the ingredient list for the words “partially hydrogenated.” This means that the food’s oil has been altered and could cause health issues such as increased LDL (bad) cholesterol and potentially causing lower HDL (good) cholesterol.