Everywhere I look I see magazines and blog posts on:
- “Top 5 Absolute worst foods you can eat”
- “The Top 5 foods that you should NEVER eat”
- “The Top 5 foods you should never eat AFTER 8pm”
- “The 5 foods that are making you fat!”
These headlines sent me on a wild goose chase to see if I could in-fact find these dangerous foods that were surely the root cause of the obesity epidemic in this country. So I spent more time than I should have researching these “TOP 5” terrible items.
I agree with the majority of the things mentioned in these articles and many of them showcase the same things: Soda, Processed foods & Trans Fats. We should all know by now that those 3 are a few of the worst offenders for sure.
However, here are 3 of what I found to be the funniest ones from 'Fitness Magazine':
"Maraschino Cherries, Frosting & Jarred Tomato Sauce"
Yeah America, those three are the root causes right there, all those damn maraschino cherries, frosted toppings & tomato sauces, just put them down and the problem will be over… Surely it’s not the ice cream & cake that the cherries & frosting are sitting atop of, nor could it be the pasta that the tomato sauce was mixed with could it?
These headlines are misleading and worse yet, they often don’t solve anything. They're simply there to fill space on the magazine cover. Eliminating a few random foods isn’t going to get results. Not only that, often these publications are also trying to sell you something.
When people ask us questions about nutrition, the truth is never the easiest answer, which is why it's so hard to hear. However, if you'd like a little truth, I’ve created a list of the most likely offenders that you’ll encounter in your daily life. I’m not saying to NEVER eat these foods again, or that they’ll kill your puppies. However, the foods listed below could very well be sabotaging your results in the gym. The less you see them in your diet the better off you’ll be.
I know some of you out there enjoy training at our facility for the leather couch, the bongos in the waiting room, the cargo net or perhaps our luxurious bathrooms, but most of you like the training center because of what it delivers: RESULTS.
If you’re not seeing the results you think you should, your diet is most likely to blame. (Side note, before you fix your diet, FIX YOUR SLEEP. Aim for at least 8 hours a night for maximum recovery & growth hormone release.)
So here they are:
THE NO NONSENSE TOP 5 FOODS THAT ARE SABOTAGING YOUR RESULTS!
If you’re still drinking soda and wondering why you’re not losing fat then you do NOT have your priorities straight. Yeah, its delicious. It's also a wonder I don’t have Type II Diabetes from the 64oz I used to slurp DAILY as a high school kid. From a historical perspective, sugar is extremely hard to get in nature. Sure, you could argue about things like honey & maple syrup but ain’t nobody got time for dat. Even those things have some nutritious properties. Soda is pure liquid sugar. If you looked for that amount of sugar in nature, it would take about 8 feet of sugar cane to give you the amount that’s in 1 can of coke.
Instead, try iced teas. Oh that’s not sweet enough for you? Sounds like a first world problem. The quicker you get over your sugar addiction, the faster your six-pack will arrive. Toss the artificial sweeteners while you’re at it, but that’s a whole different article…
We didn’t think we even had to mention margarine anymore with all the headlines about how absolutely awful it is for you, but after some research on “The Top 5 Worst Foods” this one makes the list almost every time so we suppose its worth a spot on ours. If you love your arteries, then please STOP EATING MARGARINE. Avoid anything that lists “Trans Fat, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil or Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil” on the ingredients list. If we want to go deeper down the rabbit hole, do your best to stay away from these oils:
- Canola Oil
- Peanut Oil
- Soybean Oil
- Grape seed Oil
- Sunflower Seed Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Coconut Oil
#3) Any type of processed flour products (junk food):
- White Bread/Whole Wheat Bread
- Toaster Pastries
- Hot Pockets/Lean Pockets
Yep, I just called bread junk food, whatcha gonna do about it? Sure there may be a few grams of fiber in there, but who cares, if you’re eating veggies like you should be then you’ve got all the fiber you need. These household favorites are not helping you out in any way. Most people do not possess the necessary enzymes to break down the amount of carbohydrates currently in their diet. Both white bread & wheat bread will cause your blood glucose levels to spike, and send your body into storage mode. They both turn to glucose, just at differing rates. This can be a good thing post workout, but we definitely need to re-consider those tasty pastries for breakfast (even if they are only 100 calories).
Your genes don’t enjoy sudden glucose spikes, and they aren’t accustomed to them. Think back to the 8 feet of sugar cane that it would take for 1 can of coke. Your body doesn’t know what to do with all of this excess sugar. Those muffins could will be easily converted to a muffin top.
#4) Anything Fried
- French Fries
- Deep fried onion rings (most appetizers)
- Pizza Rolls (these fall under processed garbage) but they’re worth mentioning again
- Fried Chicken
Why? Well, its what these things are fried IN that’s the problem. Going back to the margarine issue, there are good fats and bad fats. The oils used in most fast food restaurants are highly inflammatory and will do you absolutely no good whatsoever. Capiche?
Here are a few fats that have been used for 1000s of years and are still used around the world in areas where people have little to no heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes & other first world problems.
- Olive Oil
- Coconut oil
- Butter (From Grass-fed cows)
- Lard (From pasture raised pigs)
- Any fat from an animal that ate what it was supposed to eat…
- Apple Juice
- Orange Juice
- Juicy Juice
- Sunny D
- Any other juice you can think of
Why? Again, back to the sugar issue. Juice is like soda with added vitamin C. We’re seeing type II diabetes in infants now and do you know why? I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t that they were ordering extra deserts when they dined out. Their parents are giving them juice when they should still be breastfeeding!
Juice is un-natural. It could take 3 or more apples to make one glass of juice. Rarely would anyone sit down to eat 3 apples and if they did, at least they’d get the fiber and extra nutrients. When you’re drinking juice, you’re essentially drinking sugar.
If you absolutely positively gotta have that juice then please do so during or immediately post workout. Anytime other than that will likely lead to you being a little extra…juicy :)
#6) Starchy Carbs anytime but post-workout…
Sad but true, I saved this one for last. After you workout, your body would really like to replenish its glycogen (the storage form of carbohydrates). When you give your body potatoes, rice, quinoa, yams, pumkin or squash it’ll love you for it. However, once your glycogen stores are filled, what do you think happens with those excess carbs? Well, your blood sugar will spike, leading to a corresponding spike in insulin which will put your body into “storage mode”. If you’re working out, then feel free to have some of the above mentioned starchy carbs. However, if your goal is specifically fat loss, then on non-workout days, try to keep your carbs coming from veggies and a little fruit. Keep your lean proteins high and your good fats to a moderate amount.
Good luck my friends. Until next time, stop eating sh*t and give your body the nutrients it deserves. You work hard in the gym, now just try to work a little harder in the kitchen.
Self-professed Nutrition Nerd
B.S. Health Management: Exercise Science