By Saiyed M. Fauzan Ali
We all know that the regular Soda and cheeseburger habit will have to go if we want to have that six-pack to show up. The same goes for that mindless chip-munching on that comfortable couch in front of the TV, or the countless bagels right after lunch. Then again, what else might be keeping us from reaching our workout goals?
Although, moderation in most of the foods is the key, for instance, eating sweets daily can increase your weight, but eating a little dark chocolate is actually good for the health. However, there are a few foods that completely lack compensatory qualities. In this article, I have come up with a list of 5 foods that I recommend as the first to go on the diet chopping block. Nonetheless, eliminating ‘SOME’ of these items completely would not be such a good idea –Buh Bye, Soda– the idea is to adopt a balanced approach that focuses on radically cutting down the bad guys, and replacing them with whole and natural food.
Know, that white bread is all bad news. It’s significantly low on nutritional value; it increases weight, and it leads to blood-sugar crashes. When we eat refined carbs in the form of white bread, the excess of sugar in our bloodstream tends to be stockpiled as fat in the body. Moreover, the blood sugar crash will get you hungry soon after breakfast, and you’ll be running for another snack. Hence, the lack of satiety right after eating will eventually result in a tremendous amount of weight gain. That’s not all, a study published in the American Journal of clinical nutrition revealed a strong relationship between the ingestion of refined carbohydrates like white bread, and depression (Gangwisch, et al., 2015). One of the easiest swaps that you can make is to ditch the refined flour to favor the whole wheat version. However, the sandwich bread is not the only source of white bread in your diet. The basket of dinner rolls served to you at a restaurant, the cookies you oh so love to munch at tea time or that after lunch Donut ritual all come with significant potential health risks.
Popcorn is not always an integrally unhealthy snack. In fact, the air-popped version made at home is actually good for general wellbeing. However, the Microwave version has a different story. The pack comes with a lot of chemicals that leach into the popcorns, and specifically, the popcorn served at the movie theater is loaded with fat and sodium. Moreover, the FDA reported a chemical coating used in the microwave flavored version called perfluorooctanoic (PFOA), which when exposed to heat can promote the potential risk of cancer (Whittaker, et al., 2008). If you’re a popcorn lover, buy a pack of good quality Kernels and make some air popped at home using olive oil.
Sweetened breakfast cereals often make inviting claims to be enriched with vitamins and minerals that are boldly displayed on their attractive packing. However, that is all they have going for them, and trust me, you’d be better off having a vitamin pill rather than ingesting a high amount of sugar that may cause potential health problems and obesity. If you’re a cereal person then try oatmeal or some other whole grain version.
Who doesn’t love Soda, especially after a spicy meal or Bar-B-Q? Most varieties pack a punch of caffeine and sugar and claim to provide you with a high dose of instant energy. However, whether it’s the diet or the regular version, from a health perspective, not anything is good about Soda. The regular version contains a tremendous amount of sugar, and the diet version does nothing better. It’s really shocking to know how many people drink it despite its negative effects on our body. It’s not a benign drink! Soda is linked to an increased risk of Type II diabetes, decrease in bone health, reduced stamina, gastrointestinal dysfunction, and a significant increase in waist circumference (Hoare, et al., 2017; Biggs, Dunn, and Yao, 2017). If you’re really in need of an extra something that goes along with the meal, then I recommend that you ditch Soda to favor fresh juices.
There is no doubt that most of us get more than half of our calories from processed, fast or junk foods. Hopping into that much-loved burger joint or swinging through the drive-thru has become a habit that many of us would not like to admit. While an occasional night of fast food would not hurt, making a habit of eating out could do some serious damage to your health. Fast or Junk food can be anything out of a bag or a box with a wrapper on it. Foods like Bagels, Croissants, high-calorie Pizza, Burgers or French Fries are all found to have low nutritional value. Although, we find a juicy burger, French fries topped with cream and cheese, or a cream filled Bagel to be an enticing treat for lunch or dinner, however, despite their deliciousness they contribute to weight gain, negatively influence blood pressure, cause cardiovascular diseases, and increase blood sugar levels (Ferrario, 2017; Mirza, et al., 2018). A healthy replacement would be a green salad with grilled chicken and pecans. If you’re really into fast food then order a small burger with less cheese and a fresh fruit juice or a healthy salad as a side option.
If you’re unsure whether a food is healthy or unhealthy, then make a habit of reading the label. Always watch out for the different names used for sugar and misleading health claims. Be cautious about the serving size, and always remember that no matter how rigorous your workout sessions are your diet can make a huge difference. It’s all about the Balance!
Biggs, S., Dunn, J. and Yao, M., 2017. Beyond the sugar: Chemicals in soda and their link to systemic diseases and oral health. [ONLINE] Available at https://www.dentistryiq.com/articles/2017/04/beyond-the-sugar-chemicals-in-sodas-and-their-link-to-systemic-diseases-and-oral-health.html. [Accessed 3 November 2018]
Ferrario, C.R., 2017. Food addiction and obesity. Neuropsychopharmacology, 42(1), p.361
Gangwisch, J.E., et al., 2015. High glycemic index diet as a risk factor for depression: analyses from the Women’s Health Initiative. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 102(2), pp.454-463
Hoare, E., et al., 2017. Sugar-and intense-sweetened drinks in Australia: A systematic review of cardiometabolic risk. Nutrients, 9(10), p.1075
Mirza, N., et al., 2018. Junk Food Consumption, awareness and its Health Consequences among Undergraduates of a Medical University. Journal of Dow University of Health Sciences, 12(2)
Whittaker P, et al., Evaluation of the butter flavoring chemical diacetyl and a fluorochemical paper additive for mutagenicity and toxicity using the mammalian cell gene mutation assay in L5178Y mouse lymphoma cells. Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2008 Aug 1;46(8):2928-33
– Saiyed M. Fauzan Ali is an MBA/M. phil specialized in Supply Chain Management and the founder of THS. The author has worked in the past as a research analyst and a critical reviewer, and he is a fitness and a writing enthusiast. Follow the author on Instagram @saiyedfauzan or visit his Linkedin Profile
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