The foods that trigger an inflammatory reaction and create coronary heart disease are also the ones that cause weight gain. And the main culprits that cause inflammation throughout your body, won’t let you get rid of tummy fat, and damage your arteries, are the foods that are most abundant at your supermarket and that you may be eating every day.
Most overweight people today report being on a diet or are trying to lose weight. Unfortunately, they are not succeeding in their goals. In addition, those people feel hungry when dieting but still are gaining weight. How is this possible? You may ask.
The answer is that you may be eating too many processed foods. In fact, processed foods play a major role in causing overweight, heart disease, and diabetes mellitus. Let’s see why.
What are processed foods?
Processed foods are those foods that have been altered from the way nature created them or food manufacturers have produced almost entirely from artificial ingredients. They include:
• Bread (all forms)
• Soda pop
• Fruit juices
• Hot dogs
• Dehydrated foods
• Most canned or packaged foods
• Some frozen foods
Look down any aisle of your supermarket and, with the exception of the produce aisle and the fish and meat counters, you will see nothing but processed foods. When you think about it, processed foods make up the majority of the foods most people eat today.
Processed foods have a lot of calories
Processing takes an enormous amount of food and concentrates it into a much smaller volume. The result is food loaded with calories. For example, food manufacturers take many pounds of potatoes and turn them into a single pound of chips. Or they take pounds of grains and they produce a loaf of bread.
One large potato provides about 200 calories and when you eat a potato, you feel pretty full. Even if you ate a pound of potatoes –and you will really be stuffed- you would only be getting 490 calories. But a regular one-pound bag of chips, which many people eat in one sitting, provides 2,400 calories.
A pound of cooked whole-wheat grains provides about 230 calories, but a pound of bread provides about 1,200 calories. A pound of pretzels provides more than 1,700 calories.
Why processed foods have so many calories?
When they process foods, food manufacturers start with a quantity of unprocessed whole foods and grind it into tiny particles. Then they cook it, add sugar or fat, or both, and they dry it. What they come up with is a food whose calories are concentrated into a small volume. When you eat that small volume of food, you get lots of calories, which means that even a little food can add a lot of weight.
Processed carbohydrates alone are an enormous source of calories, but when you add fat to the food, which is the case with most cookies, chips, pastries, and foods at fast-food restaurants, the calories skyrocket.
Processed foods are loaded with sugars
In addition to their contribution of calories, processed foods cause you to gain weight by loading your blood with sugar. That sugar is rapidly absorbed by your small intestine and they move to your blood vessels.
Each of your cells needs a certain amount of sugar to function but cells refuse to let enter any excess of sugar they don’t need. In order to take care of these extra calories, your body will try to burn it. If not all the extra glucose can be burned, especially if you don’t exercise, your body will storage it as fat.
Are you constantly hungry?
The problem with eating too many processed foods is that you may satiate your hunger for a while but your body craves nutrition because processed foods lack nutrients and fibre. So, you keep being hungry and you probably go back to eating more processed foods.
The result of this vicious circle is that you will be constantly craving foods that end up causing weight gain and sickness. This is precisely what is happening to so many children nowadays. They crave the foods that make them fat while not getting the foods that provide the nutrients and fibre.
The three principles of weight loss
Getting rid of excess weight doesn’t need to be that difficult. The advantages of losing a few pounds results, among others, in:
• Reducing blood sugar levels
• Lowering insulin levels
• Reducing inflammation
• Overcoming type 2 diabetes
• Improving circulation
• Taking the stress off your heart
• Reducing the risk of cancer and other serious diseases
Principle # 1 of weight loss
The first principle of weight loss is to adapt the calories you ingest to the weight you want to achieve. For example:
• If you weigh 200 pounds and you want to maintain this weight, you need to ingest 2,000 calories a day.
• If you weigh 150 pounds and you want to maintain this weight, you need to ingest 1,500 calories a day.
• If you weight 120 pounds and you want to maintain this weight, you need to ingest 1,200 calories a day.
To lose about a pound of weight every week, you need to cut your calories by about 500 calories a day. If you eat a lot of processed foods loaded with fat and sugar, removing these foods will do it. And you won’t even notice you are doing it.
Principle #2 of weight loss
The second principle of weight loss is to maintain low glucose and insulin levels by eating whole, unprocessed vegetables, beans, grains, and fruit.
Principle #3 of weight loss
The third principle of weight loss is physical activity. You don’t have to run to the gym every day; walking will do. Many studies show that people who walk at least 3 days a week –five days will get better results, have much lower markers of inflammation throughout their bodies. Less inflammation means a lower risk of a heart attack.
One of the main reasons why people have trouble losing weight today is that they believe they can shed pounds by eating less of the same foods they are already eating. This is impossible because the standard Western diet is made up almost entirely of processed and high-fat foods. That is why we are overweight and sick. You cannot eat a smaller amount of the foods that cause your health problem and expect to restore your health.