Your body is an amazingly efficient machine: able to filter out a variety of toxins, process junk food like nobody’s business, and keep going even when you feed it almost-fake food like Laffy Taffy. That being said, you don’t want to load your body up with foods that aren’t good for it, especially when you’re trying to lose weight. Here is my list of ingredients I recommend people avoid when dieting. Not all of them are high in calories, but all of them are unnecessary and may even be harmful.
Artificial sweeteners seem like a good idea when you are losing weight because they are basically calorie free, but trust me, they’re not. Not only are they completely unnatural, but they can slow down your metabolism and make you crave sweets. And both of those are the last things you want when losing weight.
Watch out for the following sweeteners on an ingredient list:
– Aspartame, often listed as NutraSweet
– Sugar alcohols
– Acesulfame potassium
Although the Food and Drug Administration has announced a complete phaseout of trans fats in foods, many bakery goods and restaurant foods still contain trans fats. You can also find trans fats in some processed foods.
Trans fats are dangerous for your health because they increase the levels of unhealthy cholesterol and decrease the levels of good cholesterol in your blood. In terms of weight loss, you should avoid unhealthy fats because they have the same calories as good fats but lack any health benefits. Look for words like partially hydrogenated fats on food labels and avoid those foods completely.
Going on a diet doesn’t mean you have to give up grains completely, but you should avoid eating too many refined grains. Refined grains are highly processed and have little nutritional value. The foods they are in are not great for weight loss (think cookies, crackers, and desserts).
Skip the white bread, white rice, or cereals made with refined grains. Instead, choose all-natural grains such as whole wheat flour, popcorn, couscous, or quinoa.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup is a highly processed sweetener that is cheap to make and cheap for food manufacturers to put in foods. The problem with avoiding high fructose corn syrup is that it is in a plethora of products, from bread to condiments.
Some research–such as the 2005 study published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism–suggests that eating foods with high fructose corn syrup negatively affects your metabolic rate, which isn’t good for weight loss.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Monosodium glutamate, commonly referred to as MSG, is an additive in many processed foods. It’s used in some restaurant foods as a flavor enhancer and in salad dressings and sauces, soups, and some chips.
MSG can cause your appetite to increase, give you a headache, and if you are allergic to MSG, you may experience breathing and digestive problems. Read food labels carefully and avoid foods that contain MSG.
Although you can still lose weight if you eat these foods, I believe you should make weight loss as easy as possible. And if avoiding these foods makes your weight loss journey a little easier, why not skip these ingredients and focus on natural, wholesome foods?