Is there one particular thing in modern life that we can point an accusing finger to when it comes to putting on the pounds? Is there one key that could turn the tide against the growing obesity epidemic in the U.S. and around the world if discovered and acknowledged?
“I get this question a lot,” Says Brian Flatt, personal trainer and renowned weight loss expert, “Folks want to know if there’s a single culprit that packs on the weight and makes it near impossible for them to drop it. There are a few answers, sadly, but one in particular I think is a good place to start – Sugar.”
There have been countless studies on how sugar affects the human body. Visit websites such as Web MD, LiveScience, and many others, and you can read report after report on the true nature of sugar. It’s now been proven to be just as addictive as cocaine and even heroin. Perhaps more so because sugar is so prevalent in most of the food we eat.
Sugar fuels the brain, and the brain, in turn, treats sugar as a reward and releases dopamine to encourage you to consume more of it. While it’s true that we do need sugar – the amount that the average person is eating every day is 2 to 3 times the FDA’s recommended allowance.
“The biggest problem with sugar and weight gain,” Flatt states, “Is that while everybody knows you shouldn’t drink soda every day or eat a big slice of cheesecake every night… they don’t realize how much sugar is in just about everything they’re eating. The stuff that we think is healthy food actually contains very high amounts of a variety of sugars. As if that wasn’t bad enough, starches are also converted into sugar.”
Unfortunately, complex starches like pasta, white flour, French fries, crackers, potato chips, and the like are readily converted into sugar by your body. That means that for people who may think they don’t have a sweet tooth – they do.
Perhaps the most insidious aspect of sugar is that it’s found in virtually every can, bag, box, and bottle on the grocery shelf. You can see this by looking at the ingredients. There are many kinds of sugars: brown sugar, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, glucose, lactose, sucrose, maltodextrin, cane syrup, corn syrup, and others. If these ingredients appear anywhere in the list’s top 3, they’re present far too much.
“Low fat or fat-free isn’t any better,” Flatt goes on, “Because generally when fat is removed, some form of sugar takes its place. Sugar and fat make food taste good. And those food companies want you coming back for more.”
In his new program, the 4 Week Diet, Brian Flatt continues his mission to help people all over the world learn the truth about their foods and about how to lose weight using the body’s natural biochemistry. He shows you how to lose unwanted and unhealthy fat without crash diets, heavy cardio, or endless hours in the gym. He exposes myths and misinformation that keep people overweight and keep feeding a $50 billion global fitness and weight loss industry.
Other foods that are derailing your diet
When you drink half a liter of lemonade, you may feel briefly satisfied. However, this is only due to the liquid that you take in.
If you were to consume the same amount of calories by eating a salad with chicken breast, you would be full for much longer and would have supplied your body with more micronutrients.
According to scientific studies, liquid carbohydrates, such as soft drinks or fruit juices, are less filling than “solid” carbohydrates. Liquid carbohydrates are therefore very counterproductive during a diet, where it is well known that calories have to be cut. They do little to nothing to satisfy hunger and are likely to cause you to consume too many calories.
Numerous studies have also found that sugared drinks promote weight gain.
While losing weight, you should consume mainly calorie-free beverages. These include water and unsweetened fruit, and herbal teas.
Of course, it’s also okay to drink a homemade smoothie once in a while. Overall, however, you should consume most of the calories available through solid food. This satisfies better and provides more nutrients.
Breakfast cereals. If you look at the packaging of various breakfast cereals, you might think that they are healthy foods. Very much emphasized lately is the whole grain content of the respective product.
However, a closer look at the list of ingredients reveals the actual content. Despite a relatively high whole grain content, there is a lot of sugar and other highly processed ingredients. Classic breakfast cereals are therefore not suitable for losing weight.
A study compared what keeps you full longer: cornflakes or oatmeal. The group that got oatmeal consumed fewer calories at lunchtime. They were also full longer and were less hungry. All things that are desirable when losing weight.
So it’s best to swap classic breakfast cereals for oatmeal. They provide lots of micronutrients and a good portion of vegetable protein. They also contain a dietary fiber called beta-glucan, which ensures that we stay full for a long time.
Our protein rice pudding is also a suitable alternative to classic breakfast cereals. This is because the protein it contains ensures that we feel a greater sense of satiety.
Alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic drinks are even worse than sugared drinks. They often contain alcohol and sugar at the same time. In addition, significant amounts of fat are also present in some alcoholic beverages, such as a pina colada.
In one study, intake of more than 30 grams of alcohol per day was associated with weight gain.
When you also consider that alcohol often triggers cravings, it becomes clear why you should avoid it when losing weight.
It is also the case that alcohol is always metabolized first, as it is a toxin. Thus, alcohol inhibits our metabolism and ensures that the other nutrients are absorbed with delay.
Drinking a glass of wine on the weekend is fine, even on a diet. But it should not be more if you want to lose weight and live healthily.
White bread. A scientific study showed that regular consumption of white bread leads to weight gain. This was not true for whole-grain bread.
This is not surprising because whole-grain bread contains significantly more fiber. These affect satiety and are also crucial for our intestines.
White bread is also very low in micronutrients compared to whole wheat bread. It provides hardly any vitamins, minerals, or trace elements.
Since you always need to get enough micronutrients and fiber in a diet, white bread is an abysmal choice. So instead, reach for whole-grain bread or homemade protein bread.