Nutrition is full of all sorts of lies, myths and misconceptions.
What people believe to be true is often the exact opposite of the truth.
Here are 11 “diet” foods that are actually making people fatter.
1. Breakfast Cereals
So-called “healthy” cereals are the worst foods you can possibly eat at the start of the day.
They are usually loaded with sugar and refined carbs, which are some of the most fattening ingredients in existence (1, 2). Starting your day off with a processed cereal will spike your blood sugar and insulin levels. When your blood sugar crashes a few hours later, your body will call for another snack high in refined carbs (3).
This is the blood sugar roller coaster that is familiar to people on high-carb diets. Seriously… READ the label. Most breakfast cereals, even those with health claims like “low-fat” or “whole grain” on the package, are usually loaded with sugar.
If you’re hungry in the morning, eat breakfast… but choose something unprocessed and that has protein in it (like eggs and veggies).
If you really must eat cereal for breakfast, find one that doesn’t include sugar or highly refined grains.
Bottom Line: Most commercial breakfast cereals are high in sugar and refined carbs, which are highly fattening and extremely unhealthy.
2. Agave Nectar
Agave nectar (or Agave syrup) is often marketed as a natural alternative to sugar and high fructose corn syrup. The problem with Agave, is that it is not healthy at all. If anything, it is even worse than sugar.
One of the main reasons sugar is so unhealthy, is that it contains excessive amounts of the simple sugar fructose. Whereas sugar contains 50% fructose, Agave contains as much as 70-90%!
Of course, small amounts of fructose from fruit are fine, but consuming excessive amounts from added sugars can have devastating effects on metabolic health (4).
High amounts of fructose can cause insulin resistance and chronically elevated levels of the fat storing hormone insulin (5, 6).
It can also cause high triglycerides, elevated blood sugars, harmful effects on your cholesterol, abdominal obesity and a ton of other metabolic problems (7). If you think you’re doing your body a favor by replacing sugar with Agave, think again. You’re actually making things worse.
Instead, use a natural sweetener that is low in fructose.
Bottom Line: Agave is even higher in fructose than sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Excessive fructose consumption is strongly associated with obesity and all sorts of metabolic diseases.
3. Whole Wheat Bread
Whole wheat is often recommended as a healthy alternative to refined wheat.
Well… it’s true. Whole wheat is, at the very least, “less bad” than refined wheat.
But one of the main problem with most whole grain foods, is that they aren’t made from actual whole grains. It is a marketing ploy. Almost without exception, the grains have been pulverized into very fine flour that is just as easily digestible and spikes blood sugar just as fast as the refined grains.
In fact, whole wheat bread has a glycemic index (a measure of how quickly foods spike blood sugar) that is just as high as regular white bread (8).
Whole wheat bread might contain a little more fiber and some more nutrients, but there really isn’t much difference when it hits your system.
Plus, there really is NO nutrient in wheat (whole or refined) that you can’t get in even greater amounts from other foods. There are some grains out there that seem to be healthy for people who can tolerate them, but wheat definitely does NOT belong in that category.
Many studies show that wheat (even “heart-healthy” whole wheat) can lead to health problems, especially in people who are sensitive to gluten (9, 10, 11).
Bottom Line: Whole wheat bread is usually not made with actual whole grains. It spikes blood sugar just as fast as white bread and can contribute to various health problems.
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