Secret #1: Why Low-Fat Isn’t Always the Best Option Low-fat foods seem like they should be a great choice when it comes to weight loss, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes full-fat foods make the most sense. Why? According to Dr. Walter Willett at the Harvard School of Public Health, research shows that low-fat diets can hurt you more than help. They may increase your risk of health conditions such diabetes (due to their large carbohydrate consumption) and heart disease. They also impact your cholesterol levels, raising your “bad” cholesterol and lowering your “good”. Ever notice that when you eat low-fat foods, you’re hungrier sooner than if you’d eaten a high fat meal? That’s because eating fat keeps your tummy satisfied longer. This allows you to easily control your portion sizes when you do eat and reduces the likelihood of those uncomfortable, hard-to-beat cravings.
Secret #2: Spices Are Metabolism’s Best Friend When you eat foods that are spicy-hot, essentially it’s like adding gas to fire causing it to go from smoldering embers to flames that shoot into the air. Your body has the same result to some spices. They cause it to burn calories at a higher rate, which means that your metabolism is increased. This is known as the thermogenic effect. Research published in Physiology & Behavior reports that eating red pepper increases the temperature of your body resulting in an increased calorie burn. It also reduces your craving for foods high in salt, sugar and fat. If you’re already eating high-spiced foods, you probably won’t notice much of an effect because your body has adapted itself to that type of diet. But, if you’re the person who normally eats a pretty bland diet and you begin to introduce spices, you’ll likely see an increase in the amount of fat you burn!
Secret #3: Eat Foods With Negative Calories Have you ever heard of negative calorie foods? These are foods that take more calories to digest than they contain, which means that you end up with a calorie deficit. A lot of negative calorie foods are in this category due to their high fiber content. Some foods that qualify for this title include:
Celery Oranges Tangerines Lettuce Cucumbers Strawberries Carrots Eat these types of foods and you’ll be setting your calorie meter back instead of ahead. How great is that?
Secret #4: Why Fasting Isn’t Necessary Although fasting does normally result in fast loss of weight, the results aren’t the kind that most dieter is seeking to find. The scale goes down simply because your body has suddenly had its food intake restricted. Why does this happen? A lot of foods you eat have high water content. So, when you reduce the amount of food you consume as a whole, you get less hydration. The result is a loss in weight – but it’s only water weight so the results don’t last. Some people feel that fasting is beneficial in that it gives their body a rest from processing foods. However, the human body is extremely adept at its functions and no rest is necessary for it to work as intended. Still, if you’re insistent on fasting, choose one that focuses on raw foods. This is a fast that involves eating foods in their natural state, forcing you to give up your beloved fast food and foods that have been processed to the point where their nutrition is gone. Who knows, you may find out that you are sensitive to some of the additives that are often added to food. Make sure that if you do fast, you get a lot of water. Your body will thank you for the hydration!
Secret #5: Avoid “Bad” Fat There is fat that is relatively healthy for you and there’s fat that can put you at higher risk of disease and illness. The latter are called trans fats and are in a lot of processed foods such as baked goods, cereal and snack crackers. According to the Mayo Clinic, trans fats increase your risk of heart attack. They do this because they affect your cholesterol levels, raising your “bad” cholesterol and lowering your “good”. To give you an idea of how much they affect your body, health professionals believe that health care costs would reduce over the next two decades by $56 billion if trans fats were not available for consumption. Make sure you read ingredient labels on foods before you eat them (preferably before you even purchase them). Trans fats have many names, such as hydrogenated oil and margarine, so be aware of this when you’re looking for them.
Secret #6: Not All Fruit Is Created Equal When it comes to getting vitamins and minerals, fruit is right up there with vegetables. However, that doesn’t mean that you can eat unlimited quantities of every fruit available. There are some fruits that have an elevated sugar content, which can leave you fighting cravings because they send your blood sugar on a roller coaster. Try to stick with the fruits that are lower in sugar. Some options include:
Berries Melons Papayas Peaches Apples are a little higher in sugar, but they’re also higher in fiber so they’re a great alternative. Try to stay away from bananas, grapes, mangos and tangerines because their sugar content is through the roof.
Secret #7: One Way to Gain Weight is to Eat “Diet” Food If you want to reduce calories, you stock up on “diet” food, right? Those who manufacture foods and drinks for the diet industry would like you to think so. What if you found out, though, that this isn’t the case? There are two substances most dieters want removed from their food: sugar and fat. When you remove sugar, most manufacturers replace it with artificial sweeteners. However, your body reacts to them the same way it does to the real thing by creating insulin. The bad thing is that your insulin has no purpose because there is no real sugar for it to counteract. What happens? You lose energy and your appetite swells, causing you to take in more calories than you need. Also, if you continue to put your body through the production of insulin when there was no real need, eventually you could find yourself with a diabetes diagnosis. If you feel that removing the fat from your food is better than removing sugar, think again. To make the fat-free food more pleasing to the palate, manufacturers add MSG and, likely, sugar. That means you still end up with high blood sugar and sometimes high blood
pressure. Either way, your overall health is compromised.
Secret #8: Increased Protein Equals Reduced Fat Why does an increase in protein consumption cause a reduction in fat? The more muscle your body has, the more calories it burns on a day-to-day basis. Since one of protein’s primary functions is to help your muscles repair and grow, you’re essentially turning your body into a fat-burning machine. The best protein sources are those that are high quality and low-fat, such as chicken and turkey, fish and shellfish, lean beef and pork and nuts. One thing to remember though is that nuts have a higher fat content, so eat them in moderation. Don’t think that eating a lot of protein is going to make you look like a pro body builder because it won’t. It will just trim and tone you and make you burn calories all day and night. So, eat your protein ladies!
Secret #9: Eat Foods That Boost Your Metabolism To reiterate what was slightly covered in the second secret, you’re your body uses its fat stores for energy, its called thermogenesis. So, the key to boosting your metabolism is to incorporate foods that fuel this process. There are products on the market, like ephedra, that claim to have the same effect but their safety is questionable. Therefore, it’s best to just stick with foods that are thermogenic as they’re natural and won’t hurt your body. What foods fall into this category? Ginger is one of them. While research is contradictory as to how well it helps your body get rid of unwanted fat, it does have positive benefits on your circulatory system. The more blood you can get to your liver so that it effectively processes fat, the better off you are. It also eases your digestive system functions, so adding it to your meals or pre-workout tea will do your body good. Ginger isn’t the only food that’s good for your body. Increase your metabolism by eating more fruits (of the citrus variety), peppers loaded with heat and sipping on some tea, preferably green. When you heat up your insides, it melts the fat off your outsides!
Secret #10: Improve Your Sluggish Metabolism If you’re a yo-yo dieter, you probably understand what it means to have a sluggish metabolism. Every time you lose weight, it gets it harder to keep off and easier to regain, right? That’s because your metabolism isn’t functioning at maximum capacity. When you get used to a restricted calorie intake (as you do with a diet) and then increase your calories (what you do when you go off your diet), your body still thinks it’s being restricted leading it to store the food as fat. It doesn’t realize that it should be burning more calories with your increased consumption. If this is you, all is not lost. You aren’t stuck with a faulty metabolism. In fact, you can repair it quite easily by eating several mini-meals throughout the day. Just let go of the three-meals-a-day mentality and instead aim for five or six little ones. Even though you’ll be eating several times a day, you still want to aim for a restricted calorie intake in the process. So, until your body adjusts by burning more calories, don’t worry about a little gain in weight. Once your body gets used to eating this way, it will begin to metabolize the fat at an increased rate and you’ll start to drop the weight. Also, make sure you stay hydrated for proper kidney function. If you don’t, they’ll rely on your liver. And, if your liver is too busy doing the job of the kidneys, it can’t do what you want it to do – which is burn fat! You can also increase your level of physical activity to boost your metabolism. Do all these things and you’ll drop your weight in no time!