We always talk about foods to include in the diet to lose weight, but not much about foods that should be absolutely avoided to prevent weight gain. Food is from where you get your calories and certain foods pack a lot of unhealthy calories than others and should be avoided because not only do they trigger weight gain, they are extremely bad for overall health. Not only are such foods full of empty calories, harmful ingredients, preservatives, transfat, and other toxic ingredients that raise inflammation in the body, they also increase the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular issues, and even cancer. It also does not help that most of these foods are hyperpalatable in nature and hit the “reward center” in your brain, pushing you to rip open packet after packet of these unhealthy foods. Additionally, most of these foods have refined carbs that cause your blood sugar to rise sharply and crash subsequently, making you hungry within a short span of time. Also, since they have little to no nutrients, your body would crave for more food to replenish nutrients and energy. Since our main concern is to avoid weight gain, it would be prudent to avoid these 15 food items that can be considered as the unhealthiest foods on the planet. Here’s the complete list.
1. Canned Fruits Soaked in Sugar Syrup: Some people do think canned fruits are healthy! But how can fruits that are soaked in sugary syrup with zero nutritional value be good for you? They are the easiest way to gain weight and build up belly fat.
2. Jam: Most packaged fruit juices and jam bottles claim to have the goodness of natural fruits in them, but they have sugar and preservatives that just ruin their “all natural” claim. Needless to mention, they lead to weight gain. Jams and jellies are notoriously fattening and that is because they contain really high amounts of sugar. When trying to lose weight, do stay away from jam and sauces.
3. High Fructose Corn Syrup: HFCS or high fructose corn syrup is commonly found in baked goodies, salad dressings, soda, candies, sauces, and also in some breakfast cereals. High fructose corn syrup is extremely unhealthy and can cause insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity with regular consumption.
4. Vegetable Cooking Oil: Though some companies may claim they have “heart healthy” vegetable oils, it’s too far away from the truth. Vegetable oils also raise inflammation and increase the risk of life-threatening diseases. Switch to these healthy oils instead (7 Low-Fat Cooking Oils for Indian Cooking).
5. Refined flour/all-purpose Flour: Wanna lose weight? Then skip anything that has “refined flour” in it because they pack a lot of empty calories with zero nutritional value.
6. White Bread: Made from refined flour, dump them totally.
7. Fizzy Drinks: Contain loads of sugar that can boost your energy for a short time, but the slump and subsequent calorie surplus can undo every effort you are putting in. These drinks pack a lot of calories with high quantity of sugar, so better switch to coconut or plain water to rehydrate.
8. Packaged Fruit Juice: Even though a lot of fruit juices claim to be 100% real, nothing can replace whole fruit with high fiber content. Even when you juice out fruits, the fiber content is lost and most of the calories come from the natural sugar in fruits, which spike up insulin. Instead of juicing out fruits or picking up packaged juices, eat your fruits raw and get the benefits of antioxidants, vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
9. Potato Chips: When you are plain bored and want something to nibble on when hungry, crispy potato chips come to the rescue! Chips are not healthy at all, neither for weight loss nor for general health. No, not even baked chips because they usually have higher levels of a compound called “acrylamide” that can potentially cause nerve damage, increase the risk of cancer, among other health risks and create inflammation which is a major reason for weight gain. No matter the shape, no matter whether it’s baked or not, potato chips are not good for weight loss at all. They are high in calories, usually have transfat, and it’s hard to stop at just one packet, lights up the reward center of the brain, increasing further cravings. Also, each bag of chips have approximately 200 calories, mostly comprising of unhealthy fats, sodium, artificial flavours, even sugar, and that’s why they can be easily categorized as junk food. In fact, here are “12 Healthier Alternatives to Potato Chips.”
10. Margarine: Many people still believe that margarine is a healthier and weight-loss friendly option compared to plain butter! But the truth is that margarine is whipped from vegetable oils and is a heavily processed food; it may contain transfat which has been linked to increased risk of obesity and cardiovsacular diseases. Heavily processed foods like margarine can raise inflammation in the body, making it extremely difficult to shed extra weight. So, stick to naturally-extracted butter and practice moderation with it too.
11. Mayonnaise: Mayonnaise increases the flavour of sandwiches by a great degree, but mayonnaise is made by adding loads of oil and is extremely high in calories. Also, mayonnaise is extremely delicious and it’s hard to stop at just one teaspoon, and that’s why skipping mayonnaise will help you cut a lot of calories and prevent weight gain.
12. Burgers from Fast Food Joints: They are completely fattening, with transfat, loads of calories, and everything unhealthy in them.
13. Frozen French Fries: A majority of frozen French fries have transfat and vegetable oil in them, and frying them can cause inflammation and weight gain.
14. Refined Sugar: Everything about refined sugar is bad – from raising inflammation, spiking insulin, and triggering weight gain, they do it all. If you have to cut out something completely from your diet, let it be sugar.
15. Biscuits and Cookies: They are made of everything refined – flour, sugar, and also have transfat – all of which increase belly fat and overall weight.
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