- Eating "low-fat": Low-fat or fat-free foods replace harmless fats with low-performing carbohydrates that digest quickly, causing a sugar rush and, immediately afterward, rebound hunger.
- Sleeping too little or too much: Dieters who sleep five hours or less put on 2 and a half times more belly fat, while those who sleep more than eight hours pack on only slightly less than that.
- Drinking soda -- even diet soda: Drinking one to two sodas per day increases your chances of being overweight or obese by nearly 33 percent. And diet soda is no better.
- Eating too quickly: It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it's had enough.
- Watching too much TV: A study found that overweight participants who reduced their TV time by just 50 percent burned an additional 119 calories a day on average.
- Eating off larger plates: One study found that when given an option, a whopping 98.6 percent of obese individuals opt for larger plates.
- Taking big bites: Research shows that people who take large bites of food consume 52 percent more calories in one sitting.
- Not drinking enough water: Adequate water intake is essential for all your body's functions, and the more you drink, the better your chances of staying thin
- Eating too late: A recent study found that those who ate after 8 PM took in the most daily calories and had the highest BMIs.
- Drinking fruity beverages: All juice is high sugar, and the ones that use viscous syrups made mostly from high fructose corn syrup and thickening agents are even worse.
To see the rest of their list, you can click on the link below. Another reason you may want to be sure your diet includes healthy fats? A recent study investigated the effects of dietary medium-chain triglycerides on liver fat accumulation in growing rats with protein malnutrition. Weaning rats were fed either a low-protein diet or control protein diet, either in combination with or without medium-chain triglycerides.
After four weeks, liver fat increased in the low-protein groups compared with the control groups. However, the liver fat content in the low-protein group fed medium-chain triglycerides was significantly decreased compared with that in the other low-protein group.
According to the study:
"These results suggest that ingestion of a low-protein diet caused fatty liver in growing rats. However, when rats were fed the low-protein diet with [medium-chain triglycerides], hepatic triglyceride deposition was attenuated, and mRNA levels encoding CPT1a and CPT2 were preserved at the levels of rats fed control protein diets."
Over two-thirds of American adults are now overweight or obese, and one-third of adults, along with 17 percent of children and teens, are obese. In fact, in 2010, data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that no state had a prevalence of obesity less than 20 percent, and 36 states had an obesity prevalence of 25 percent or more.
Clearly overweight and obesity are at epidemic proportions, and this trend is putting both adults and children at risk of serious, chronic disease ranging from high blood pressure and heart disease to diabetes and cancer. As for what's causing so many Americans to gain excess weight, it's a complex situation.
Why are So Many Americans Overweight and Obese?
There's the fact that the U.S. government heavily subsidizes the very foods that contribute to weight gain (i.e. corn). There's the problem with environmental chemicals, like phthalates, which can interfere with the hormonal mechanisms that control your weight. There's the abundance of stress that many people live with on a daily basis, which leads to emotional eating as well as chronic elevations of the hormone cortisol, that in turn leads to weight gain around your midsection.
But there's also another issue that cannot be ignored: misinformation. Many Americans are seriously confused about what a truly healthful food is, and this is partly the result of clever and deceptive marketing that makes junk foods and synthetic substances, like artificial sweeteners, appear healthy. Further, fats in general are still considered the dietary villains by many people.
A Consumer Reports survey found that 51 percent said they are limiting their consumption of fat in belief that this is a healthy choice. Changes are this lumps ALL fats into one evil category, when in reality the only types of fats you should really be limiting are man-made varieties like trans-fats and rancid, refined polyunsaturated fats in vegetable oils.
Eating Healthy Fat Doesn't Make You Fat
It's encouraging to see mainstream media outlets like Yahoo busting the prevalent myth that fat must be avoided if you want to lose weight. In fact, research suggests that eating healthy fats is actually conducive to weight loss. When you eat fats as part of your meal, they actually slow down your food absorption so that you can go longer without feeling hungry. The fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), found in grass-fed beef and full-fat dairy products from grass-fed cows (butter, milk, cheese, etc.), is also associated with reduced body fat and weight.
For instance, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate 3.2 grams of CLA a day had a drop in fat mass of about 0.2 pounds a week (that's about one pound a month) compared to those given a placebo. Research also shows that women who ate at least one serving of full-fat dairy a day gained 30 percent less weight over a nine-year period than women who ate only low-fat (or no) dairy products.
Unfortunately, many people are still shunning healthy foods like raw butter and grass-fed beef, which contain saturated fat, because they believe it will cause heart disease. In reality, saturated fats are among the healthiest fats you can consume.
Could this Saturated Fat Actually Prevent Liver Disease?
Saturated fats provide the building blocks for your cell membranes and a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances that are essential to your health, and saturated fats from animal and vegetable sources (such as meat, dairy, certain oils, and tropical plants like coconut) provide a concentrated source of energy in your diet that has far-reaching health benefits.
Unfortunately nearly the entire conventional media and nearly every health "expert" will disagree with the above and use statements that all the research supports their belief. Well the truth of the matter is that it doesn't. Gary Taubes has provided the best rebuttal to this concept in the book he wrote Good Calories Bad Calories. Gary is one of the leading science journalists and he devoured the literature on this and reviewed all the studies and he expertly debunks their flawed logic and details how this misunderstanding has contributed to the epidemic of chronic disease in the U.S.
Additionally, new research this year showed that medium-chain triglycerides, such as those found in coconut oil, helped to stop the development of fatty liver in rats. Saturated fats also act as carriers for important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Dietary fats are also needed for the conversion of carotene to vitamin A, for mineral absorption, and for a host of other biological processes.
Saturated fats are also:
- The preferred fuel for your heart, and also used as a source of fuel during energy expenditure
- Useful antiviral agents (caprylic acid)
- Effective as an anticaries, antiplaque and anti-fungal agent (lauric acid)
- Useful to actually lower cholesterol levels (palmitic and stearic acids)
- Modulators of genetic regulation and prevent cancer (butyric acid)
As for the belief that these healthful fats will cause heart disease, research again shows this is simply untrue. A 2010 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which reviewed 21 studies relating to the risk of heart disease, stroke and saturated fats, found that:
"… there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD [coronary heart disease] or CVD [stroke and cardiovascular disease]."
What is the True Dietary Villain for Your Weight?
If you are serious about losing weight, you have got to strictly limit the amount of fructose in your diet, as evidence is mounting that excess sugar, and fructose in particular, is the primary factor in the obesity epidemic. The central issue is that fructose is now used in virtually all processed foods (whether you'd suspect the food would contain a sweetener or not).
If you want to lose weight, cutting soda from your diet is essential … but -- and this is a point many fail to appreciate -- you've got to cut other sources of fructose, too, including that in processed foods, fruit juice, excessive fruit and so-called "healthy" sweeteners like agave. Ideally you should keep your total fructose consumption below 25 grams per day and this includes fruits. This is especially true if you have insulin resistance and are overweight, have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol.
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose Limes 1 medium 0 Lemons 1 medium 0.6 Cranberries 1 cup 0.7 Passion fruit 1 medium 0.9 Prune 1 medium 1.2 Apricot 1 medium 1.3 Guava 2 medium 2.2 Date (Deglet Noor style) 1 medium 2.6 Cantaloupe 1/8 of med. melon 2.8 Raspberries 1 cup 3.0 Clementine 1 medium 3.4 Kiwifruit 1 medium 3.4 Blackberries 1 cup 3.5 Star fruit 1 medium 3.6 Cherries, sweet 10 3.8 Strawberries 1 cup 3.8 Cherries, sour 1 cup 4.0 Pineapple 1 slice
(3.5" x .75")
4.0 Grapefruit, pink or red 1/2 medium 4.3
Fruit Serving Size Grams of Fructose Boysenberries 1 cup 4.6 Tangerine/mandarin orange 1 medium 4.8 Nectarine 1 medium 5.4 Peach 1 medium 5.9 Orange (navel) 1 medium 6.1 Papaya 1/2 medium 6.3 Honeydew 1/8 of med. melon 6.7 Banana 1 medium 7.1 Blueberries 1 cup 7.4 Date (Medjool) 1 medium 7.7 Apple (composite) 1 medium 9.5 Persimmon 1 medium 10.6 Watermelon 1/16 med. melon 11.3 Pear 1 medium 11.8 Raisins 1/4 cup 12.3 Grapes, seedless (green or red) 1 cup 12.4 Mango 1/2 medium 16.2 Apricots, dried 1 cup 16.4 Figs, dried 1 cup 23.0
Why Fructose is so Detrimental to Your Waistline …
- Is metabolized differently from glucose, with the majority being turned directly into fat
- Tricks your body into gaining weight by fooling your metabolism, as it turns off your body's appetite-control system. Fructose does not appropriately stimulate insulin, which in turn does not suppress ghrelin (the "hunger hormone") and doesn't stimulate leptin (the "satiety hormone"), which together result in your eating more and developing insulin resistance.
- Rapidly leads to weight gain and abdominal obesity ("beer belly"), decreased HDL, increased LDL, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar, and high blood pressure—i.e., classic metabolic syndrome.
- Over time leads to or worsens preexisting insulin resistance, which is not only an underlying factor of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but also many cancers.
According to Dr. Robert Lustig, fructose is 'isocaloric but not isometabolic." This means you can have the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect will be entirely different despite the identical calorie count.
This is a VERY important point so let me repeat it. Most will need to read this seven times or more to fully realize the implications of this simple yet HIGHLY profound, and radically revolutionary important statement:
Fructose is "isocaloric but not isometabolic."
This means you can have the same amount of calories from fructose or glucose, fructose and protein, or fructose and fat, but the metabolic effect will be entirely different despite the identical calorie count.
This is largely because different nutrients provoke different hormonal responses, and those hormonal responses determine, among other things, how much fat you accumulate.
This is why counting calories alone is often not enough to lose weight successfully!
Even the most popular calorie-counting weight loss program, Weight Watchers, recently admitted this fact and changed their wildly successful formula. The new system instead tries to encourage dieters to consume more natural, less processed food, which I believe is the crux of any long-term weight loss program.
What You Need to Know to Finally Lose Weight
For the majority of people, severely restricting carbohydrates such as sugars, fructose, and grains in your diet will be the key to weight loss. Refined carbohydrates like breakfast cereals, bagels, waffles, pretzels, and most other processed foods quickly break down to sugar, increase your insulin levels, and cause insulin resistance, which is the number one underlying factor of nearly every chronic disease and condition known to man, including weight gain.
As you cut these dietary villains from your meals, you need to replace them with healthy substitutes like vegetables, proteins and fats. Your body prefers the carbohydrates in vegetables rather than grains and sugars because it slows the conversion to simple sugars like glucose, and decreases your insulin level. When you cut grains and sugar from your meals, you typically will need to radically increase the amount of vegetables you eat, as well as make sure you are also consuming protein and healthy fats regularly.
I've detailed a step-by-step guide to this type of healthy eating program in my comprehensive nutrition plan, and I urge you to consult this guide if you are trying to lose weight.
Finally, remember that the foods you choose to eat will be the driving force behind successfully achieving your weight loss goals -- even more so than exercise. It's important to realize that exercise -- even if you incorporate exercises like Peak 8 into your routine -- will NOT compensate for fructose use and can destroy many of the benefits of your hard work. Exercise is still important for weight loss and optimal health … but it will generally not be enough to make up for the damage done by a poor, fructose-rich diet.