These foods may not appear on the ‘bad food’ list, but be careful with them, as one (or more) of these may be the cause of your unexplainable weight gain. Here’s why you should be avoiding these foods.
1. Rice cakes
They may have been touted as the ultimate diet food during the low-fat/no-fat craze of the late 1980s and 1990s, but don’t be fooled. Rice cakes can have a glycemic index rating as high as 91 (pure glucose has a rating of 100), making it the kind of carbohydrate that will send your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride. This is bad for weight loss and for your health. Try this easy-to-follow 7-day meal plan instead.
2. Fat-free salad dressing
Fat-free salad dressings are a perfect example of good food gone bad. Salad dressing is the perfect combination of vinegar (which helps control blood sugar) and plant oils (full of essential fatty acids and sometimes antioxidants). However, an irrational fear of dietary fats has forced food companies to mess around with this perfect blend. The resulting fat-free salad dressings have introduced sugar and high fructose corn syrup, unpronounceable emulsifying agents, and other food science secrets used to make the unnatural seem natural. It’s too easy to make your own healthy salad dressing to ever let this science experiment in a bottle pass your lips.
Seitan, originally from Asia, is a common meat substitute for vegetarian dishes. Unlike many meat substitutes, seitan is not soy derived but made entirely of wheat gluten. Wheat gluten is a highly allergenic protein that is naturally found only in small amounts in wheat-based products. While there is no research linking seitan intake to increased prevalence of gluten allergies or intolerances, I’m wary that eating a lot of this allergenic protein may trigger development of a more severe gluten allergy or intolerance.
4. Refined and re-fortified grains
Unfortunately this rules out a majority of the carbohydrates found on supermarket shelves. Refined and re-fortified grains are grain-based foods like certain breakfast cereals, pastas, and rice products that have been refined such that the naturally occurring fiber, vitamins, and minerals have been removed. Companies then replace the fiber and synthetic versions of the vitamins and minerals that were initially removed. Sometimes (and this is really sneaky) they put everything back in naturally occurringratios so that they can still claim the food contains ‘whole grains’. Our suggestion: Just eat the real unfortified stuff in the first place.
5. Sugar-sweetened beverages
If you stop eating only one thing on this list, it should be sugar-sweetened beverages. The empty calories help pad your waistline without offering any sense of satiety or fullness. Plus, simple sugars do an excellent job of lowering your good cholesterol and increasing your triglyceride levels (two risk factors for heart disease). Drinking sugary beverages also promotes disturbances in your body’s inflammatory balance, making it harder to recover from exercise and increasing your risk of numerous chronic diseases. Instead reaching for a can of soda or sweetened tea, opt for water or a calorie-free infused drink.
6. Grits (Corn kernels)
Another hyper-refined carbohydrate, grits are the small leftover pieces from corn processing. Nutritionally speaking, grits lack significant amounts of vitamins or minerals. They contain a minute amount of fiber and no essential fats. Their flavour is lacking and thus butter or heavy cream is used to make them palatable, bringing together the blood-vessel-destroying, unholy marriage of simple carbohydrates and saturated fat.