Although I live in a small country (population 4.5 million) we have one of the highest obesity rates in the developed world. But I don’t think I am alone here. Your country may also feature high up on the obesity chart as we are all exposed to unhealthy high calorie foods no matter where we live in the world.
It seems that many people believe that many of the foods they regularly purchase are healthy but this is not so and I would bet that all of us have foods in our kitchen cupboards that are on this newly published list of foods to avoid. These are all foods heavy in calories but light on nutrients and we do not need them to be healthy.
Even if you are not overweight they contribute nothing, nada, zero to our health in any way, shape or form as they are empty, dead foods devoid of nutritional value. Many of them are prepared using ultra high temperature cooking methods or are high in unhealthy man-made fats and sugars and salt. They all have a large amount of energy (calories) compared to their essential nutrient content. The list includes the usual suspects such as cookies, cakes, doughnuts and soda pop drinks, but some of the foods red-flagged are less obvious.
Things such as muesli bars are often viewed as healthy but can be higher in calories, fat and sugar than the more obvious cookies and biscuits without much nutritional value. This is just one classic example of how people who are overweight can be misled into thinking they are eating healthy foods when in fact they are not.
One of the foods mentioned that caused the most intense feedback was a very popular breakfast cereal called “NutraGrain” that is marketed here in New Zealand as an “Iron Man’ health food for athletes and children, for growing strong muscles. Well, it turns out that this product is made up of THIRTY PERCENT SUGAR which of course is not something any child should be fed in the name of ‘health’. They are major sponsors of children’s triathlons here, so they have credibility to market their unhealthy dead breakfast food.
If you are eating the wrong types of foods and too much of them (and may not be aware of it) this is going to make it so much harder to keep your slim, trim, healthy (and well) body. If losing weight is something you desire you need to understand that these foods may be disrupting hormone balances in your body leading you to overeat from the ‘impossible to resist’ food cravings they create.
The high calorie nature of these foods together with the chemical additives in them from processing override the delicate appetite regulation hormonal systems of the human body causing the appetite dial to be turned up way higher than it should be.
These foods can also decrease your metabolic rate (the speed your body’s engine is running at) and throw your fat burning/fat storing hormones ‘out of whack’. So, they are bad news if getting or staying slim is important to you as well as your overall health and wellness.
The problem is not only that these foods contribute NOTHING to your health and in fact they can make you sick, just as important is the fact that they crowd out the healthier options you should/could be eating. This means you are missing out on nutrients like quality protein, good carbohydrates and healthy fats along with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from fresh quality foods.
OK so what are they I hear you saying – hit us with this list?
The needn’t foods:
Alcoholic drinks, biscuits, crackers, cakes, chocolate, soda or any sugary drinks, potato/corn/vegetable chips, energy/sports drinks, flavoured milk, canned fruit, fried food, jam, margarine, muesli bars, nuts roasted in fat, pastries, powdered fruit type drinks, packet soups, fruit juice, sugar added to anything, packaged breakfast cereals, pre-packaged “diet” dinners, protein bars (candy bars in disguise), overly processed meal replacements, soymilk, tofu or “veggie burgers”, rice cakes, pasta, both normal or diet ice cream, diet desserts and other diet or “lite” food items, low-fat food, low-carb foods, soybean, corn or canola oil, sweetened yoghurt products, “deli’ luncheon meats/sausage/salami
Wow, by now you may be thinking, “Well that’s got rid of most of the stuff in my kitchen cupboards, what on earth am I supposed to eat, there’s little left?”
Well don’t worry; there are still plenty of food choices left. The only way to get away from all of these heavily processed, man-made foods is to try and eat as much ‘clean’ food as you possibly can.
This means eating things that don’t come in a box, can or packet. These types of foods are easily spotted; they live in the outside isles of the supermarket and don’t generally have a food label. Things like an orange, a bunch of spinach, a piece of grass fed beef, a carrot, a piece of fish from the ocean, an apple, a sweet potato, a handful of raw nuts, free range poultry and eggs – well, you get the picture.
And yes, you do have to get your butt back into the kitchen and cook most of these from scratch but that is a small price to pay for quality food that has not been destroyed by high temperature food processing and all manner of added chemicals.
We are all victim to the tempting experience that a stroll down your grocery store’s aisles can be. Rows and rows of delicious food all wrapped up in colorful bags, packets and boxes, all begging you to give them a try with creative graphics, and catchy names. But their fancy packaging is hiding the fact that they are nutritional time bombs just waiting to make you fat and sick.
Good food, delicious food that’s appealing to the eye, and convenient to boot. Anything that yummy has to be nourishing, right? But the truth is, the very food you have in your cabinets is processed.
Let’s take a look at what ‘processed’ really means.
If it’s boxed, bagged, canned or jarred and has a list of ingredients on the label, it’s processed.
Methods used to process foods include:
- Aspetic processing (food made sterile by high temperatures)
Processed foods have been altered from their natural state for “safety” and convenience reasons. And scary as it seems, about 90 percent of the money we spend on food is used to buy processed items. You could call them ‘edible food like substances”.
We may wonder why we need to process food when it is good the way it is. Processed foods are more convenient – that’s what it comes down to. It’s so much easier to bake a cake by opening up a box, pouring out a dry mix, and adding an egg and some oil than starting from scratch. Eating lunch five minutes after pouring hot water into a carton makes preparation time for lunch a breeze.
But convenience isn’t the only thing you get when you eat processed foods. There’s a whole list of ingredients that manufacturers add to:
- Color – It gives your orange soda that neon glow
- Stabilize – So your gravy isn’t watery
- Emulsify – Who says oil and water can’t mix?
- Bleach – Let’s disinfect and deodorize
- Texturize – Nothing’s worse than soggy cereal…
- Soften – It’s as if the ice cream was churned twice
- Preserve – What if you want to eat the cupcake six months from now?
- Sweeten – Sugar is sweet but saccharin and aspartame is sweeter
- Hide Odors – Do you really want to smell the fish paste in your instant Thai curry?
- Flavor – Nothing like having the sweet taste of strawberries all year round
A food label with a long list of ingredients is not something that you really want to eat is it?
As an example here is a list of ingredients from a milkshake made with strawberry flavouring from a fast food restaurant:
Amyl acetate, amyl butyrate, amyl valerate, anethol, anisyl formate, benzyl acetate, benzyl isobutyrate, butyric acid, cinnamyl isobutyrate, cinnamylvalerate, cognac essential oil, diacetyl, dipropyl ketone, ethyl butyrate, ethyl cinnamate, ethyl heptanoate, ethyl lactate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate, ethyl Nitrate, ethyl propionate, ethyl valerbate, heliotropin, hydroxphrenyl-2butanone(10% solution to alcohol), a-ionone, isobutyl anthranilate, isobutyl butrate, lemon essential oil, maltol, 4-methylacetophenone, methyl anthranilate, methyl benzoate, methyl cinnamate, methyl heptine carbone, methyl naphthyl ketone, methyl slicylate, mint essential oil, neroli essential oil, nerolin, neryl isobulyrate, orris butter, phenethyl alcohol, sore rum ether, g-undecalctone, vanillin, and solvent3
Looks delicious, doesn’t it? Not! And this is just a small sampling of the SIX THOUSAND approved chemicals used to process foods and we don’t really want ANY of them sickening us and shortening our lives I’m sure you’ll agree.
If you are not sure about what foods to eat I have written an eBook setting it all out for you in a simple way. It’s called “21 Days to Healthy Eating” and leads you through a week of upgrading your breakfasts, a week on lunches and a week on dinners.
So, by the time you get through the 21 Days you know exactly what to eat for each meal plus snacks and ways to prepare it. Eating healthy and good nutrition are the foundation of a healthy slim, well, energetic body right through one’s life span and it doesn’t need to be complicated at all.
Even if you eliminate most of these processed foods and eat 80% ‘clean’ and 20% processed that is a huge improvement and quite doable rather than the other way around eating 80% processed and 20% ‘clean’. This is a recipe for poor health somewhere down the track.
Go here http://21daystohealthyeating.com to reverse those eating habits that are causing your body’s hormones to become unbalanced which could impact your health/weight both short-term and long-term. When you are eating the right foods in the right quantities you will discover
how you can become that ‘bursting with energy’ slim, healthy person with a huge zest for life and living like you were meant to be.