You’re hungry, so you eat. You eat so you won’t be hungry anymore. Or at least you’re not supposed to be hungry anymore (unless you’re eating Chinese food). Have you ever eaten a full meal, only to be perplexed when you find yourself starving an hour later? The problem is that Chinese food isn’t the only problem. Equally problematic is that most of the time you don’t even realize you’re hungry and eating more.
Proper digestion and optimal health is a complex process affected by the ingredients in food. What you eat–or don’t eat–can affect the rate of absorption of food into your bloodstream or the satiety hormone known as leptin, making you hungrier quicker. This sabotages not only your health and your weight, but also your pocketbook, causing you to eat more than you actually want to.
Here is a list of 10 foods you need to avoid to help protect your body, your belly, and your budget.
With no fiber, protein, or fat to buffer the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, your favorite cocktail can make your blood sugar soar then quickly plummet, leaving you grabbing the nearest snack, no matter how unhealthy. Not only that, new studies find that three servings of alcohol can lower your body’s levels of leptin, making you forget that you shouldn’t be hungry.
2. White bread
Studies have shown that the effect of white bread on your blood sugar mimics that of white sugar. In other words, when you’re filling up on white bread, you might as well be eating tablespoons of sugar. What’s the problem? White bread has been stripped of all of the fiber, the main ingredient that slows sugar in the blood and makes you feel full. Furthermore, most white bread contains high fructose corn syrup, a cheap sugar substitute that enters your blood system quicker and spikes your insulin, causing you to be hungry pretty quickly afterward.
3. Chinese food
Monosodium glutamate (MSG), a flavor enhancer commonly found in Chinese food, has been used for years to fatten up laboratory animals. Studies show that people who eat MSG are three times more likely to be obese than those who don’t. Scientists believe that it may dull the effects of leptin, making you eat more.
It’s not just the calories in juice that fatten you up. No pulp and no fiber, combined with high fructose corn syrup, can make your favorite drink a fattening one by sending your blood sugar skyrocketing (and you to the fridge).
5. Artificial sweeteners
They have no calories yet still taste sweet and yummy. Sound too good to be true? Indeed they are. Artificial sweeteners mimic sugar in the body and cause your blood sugar to rise and fall rapidly. The problem gets worse when you drink beverages that contain artificial sweeteners without eating, because there is nothing to combat your falling blood sugar, so you quickly get voracious. Kind of negates the whole reason to drink diet soda, right?
White flour, no fiber, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup are a seriously problematic combination for your blood sugar that will leave you hungry in the morning and craving sugar all day.
Caffeine, in moderation, can help you lose weight…but drink too much and you’ll be doing more harm than good. Excessive caffeine raises your blood sugar, and unless you’re pairing your morning java with a snack or meal, your blood sugar (and willpower) will plummet fast.
8. Fast food
The trans fats contained in most fast food can potentially be pretty bad for your appetite by inflaming your stomach and hurting your body’s ability to produce appetite-controlling hormones. Not good. Additionally, most fast food contains ridiculous amounts of sodium, which can dehydrate you. Oftentimes it’s hard to tell the difference between being thirsty and hungry, and many people eat when all they need is water.
9. Sushi rolls
They’re fat free so they should be good for you, right? Not so fast. Each sushi roll is made with a cup of rice, which amounts to three servings of carbs. The typical person eats three sushi rolls at a meal–the equivalent of nine whopping, blood-sugar-soaring servings of carbs. And unless you’re choosing brown rice, it gets worse. White rice is stripped of its fiber, which raises your blood sugar even faster.
10. Flavored potato chips
Flavored potato chips can contain ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and MSG, making these a healthy snack no-no. Make sure to check food labels. You need to watch out because before you know it, you’ll finish the bag and go looking for even more.