When it comes to weight loss, it’s crucial that certain foods high in sugar, refined carbs or fat be avoided as these may make weight loss more challenging or have detrimental health implications.
Red meats can be especially hazardous to health as they contain toxoplasma and salmonella bacteria that cause food poisoning, along with saturated fats that raise your risk of heart disease and cancer.
1. High-Fat Meat
Red meat contains high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol, increasing your risk of heart disease. But you can enjoy eating meat responsibly by choosing lean cuts to lower both their saturated fat and cholesterol intake.
An occasional serving of lean beef is an integral component of a nutritious diet and provides essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins.
But if you want to reduce overall fat intake, avoid all foods high in saturated and trans fats such as processed foods like deli slices, bacon, ham, salami, sausages and hot dogs; full-fat dairy products (cheese, ice cream and butter); as well as foods containing added oils or spreads.
If you do eat red meat, experts advise opting for lean and extra-lean cuts that contain 10 grams or less total fat and no more than 4.5 grams of saturated fat per serving.
Choose low-fat meats to lower your saturated fat consumption and risk of cardiovascular diseases and colon cancer, according to the American Heart Association. Look for them in the freezer section of your supermarket or health food store.
One effective strategy for lowering fat consumption is using smaller portions of meat, poultry and fish. Aim to consume three to four servings each week from lean cuts like loin or round steak for maximum fat reduction.
Before serving a meal with meat, poultry or fish, remove its skin and skim any fat off its surface before cutting and serving it. Skin contains more saturated fats than the actual product itself so avoiding this practice is key if trying to lower your saturated fat consumption.
Spreads and oils to be avoided include shortening, lard, palm oil and coconut oil – they are common ingredients found in many prepared meals and can quickly lead to an unhealthy, high-fat diet. Instead, opt for low-fat or non-hydrogenated vegetable oils instead.
2. Red Meat
Red meat provides essential proteins, iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Furthermore, it contains essential fatty acids and antioxidants which may help the body combat disease. However, many health organizations advise individuals against eating too much red meat due to its high saturated fat content.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research, people should limit their weekly red meat consumption to no more than three servings; this equates to roughly 12-18 ounces of cooked meat.
Additionally, experts suggest avoiding processed red meats like hot dogs and bacon because these products contain preservatives and chemicals which could pose health hazards.
One study revealed that those who consumed more processed meat had higher concentrations of trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO, than those eating white meat or plant proteins, which is thought to increase heart disease risk.
When digesting red meat, specific bacteria in your gut produce TMAO toxin that causes inflammation and damages blood vessels.
People who consume more meat have an increased risk of certain forms of cancer, including bowel and prostate cancer, while at an increased risk for other diseases.
Assuring you get enough essential nutrients without overeating red meat requires selecting lean cuts of grass-fed meats instead of grain fed varieties, which contain less overall fat while providing heart healthy unsaturated fatty acids along with essential vitamins and minerals.
Though there is no definitive link between red meat and cancer, numerous studies have linked consuming too much processed meat with health issues including increased risks of diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer.
Though eating a variety of foods is essential, making sure that you are getting enough dietary fiber is especially crucial to ensure optimal blood sugar regulation and lower risk of chronic diseases like diabetes. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are great ways to meet daily fiber requirements.
3. White Bread
White bread may be an ideal, convenient snack, but its lack of nutritional value should be avoided to help stay healthy and maintain optimal wellness.
Refining carbohydrates can cause your blood-sugar levels to fluctuate unpredictably, which in turn can result in mood swings and cravings for sugary treats later on, making it harder for you to stick with a healthy diet plan.
Avoiding white bread can be done best by opting for whole wheat or multigrain varieties that are rich in fiber, contain lower calories and fat counts than their white counterparts, contain fewer additives, preservatives or additives and provide less additives and preservatives than white varieties.
White flour is produced by extracting its germ and bran from grains, which contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals that give these grains their unique nutrition profile. Through refining, these essential elements are stripped out to produce refined flour which contains minimal dietary fiber while being rich in carbs and sugar content.
Wheat may cause digestive issues if you are sensitive to the gluten protein found in wheat; in extreme cases, celiac disease can even arise as a result.
White flour increases your risk for heart disease. Therefore, switching to whole wheat or multigrain bread is recommended in order to protect both your heart and energy levels.
At the same time, whole grain bread consumption has been linked with reduced risks of obesity and diabetes according to research published by The Journal of the American Medical Association. People who regularly eat more whole grain bread have decreased risks of both conditions according to this research.
White bread contains high amounts of sugar, making it one of the key factors in weight loss efforts. By cutting back on these types of foods, you’re doing yourself a huge favor for overall health and well-being.
Studies conducted at the University of North Carolina indicate that eating too much white bread can trigger symptoms of depression in postmenopausal women, such as fatigue, irritability and mood swings.
Avoid eating too much white bread by opting for healthier lunch choices like crudite with light dip or side salad instead of sandwiches, tacos and burgers – or ordering crudite with light dip at dinner time instead.
4. Added Sugar
Sugar can be found in many processed food and drinks, including breads, breakfast cereals, cookies, granola bars, energy bars, ketchup and salad dressing. Consuming an abundance of added sugar is not only unhealthy but may lead to weight gain, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Although it can be challenging to eliminate processed sugar entirely, making a few simple swaps can help decrease your daily intake. First of all, read nutrition facts labels on all food you purchase and opt for those that list “unsweetened” or no added sugar as listed ingredients.
Substituting soda for something like flavored sparkling water or homemade trail mix full of nuts, seeds and dried fruit is a simple way to cut back on added sugars. For additional sweetness in your drink, look for natural alternatives such as unsweetened apple juice or small bottles of maple syrup as possible options.
Keep an eye on your serving sizes to avoid overeating, as it’s easy to overdo them. One popular cereal offers a “healthy halo” of whole grains, fiber and antioxidants – yet packs 18 grams (4.5 teaspoons) of added sugar (without even counting the fruit or other ingredients) per bowl!
Most food manufacturers now list the amount of added sugars on their labels; however, it’s still wise to read ingredient lists thoroughly since some products could include multiple names for sugar such as fructose, dextrose and glucose.
Kristi Rolfsen, a Registered Dietician, advises limiting your added sugar intake to no more than 10% of total daily caloric intake, and notes that starting on January 1, 2021 the new FDA label mandated label will show how much added sugars there are in each product so you can make informed choices regarding which to consume and which to skip.
Cutting back on added sugar is ultimately beneficial to your health in multiple ways, not only helping to achieve weight control but also decreasing risks such as heart disease and cancer as well as improving mental wellbeing and improving your overall mood.