We all know that excess consumption of highly processed sugar and refined carbohydrates can make us gain weight, but there are many (too many) other foods and chemicals in our modern day food supply that can negatively impact our weight loss efforts.
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate):
MSG is a highly addictive chemical that many food manufacturers use to enhance the taste of their food. If you were really really bored and decided to search “msg-induced obesity” on PubMed, you would come up with a significant number of research papers whose finds show that MSG causes weight gain.
In fact, in many obesity studies obese rats are needed and so researchers feed MSG to these animals in order to increase the amount of food they will consume. Granted, most of these studies involve mice and the food industry argues the amount consumed by the rats is higher then what humans consume, but research in the journal Obesity gave confirmation that MSG causes weight gain in humans.
North Americans consumed about one million pounds of MSG in 1950; today that number is three hundred million pounds. A very high percentage of processed and fast food contains MSG, and the labels can be misleading, especially since MSG can go by many different aliases.
The message is clear: to lose weight, it’s important to avoid all processed food.
A number of research studies have found that consumption of diet soft drinks increases the likelihood of overeating and gaining weight.
Diet pop sweetened with non-caloric sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose and saccharin, actually tricks the mind and body to think it is going to be receiving calories but once it realizes that the beverage is void of sugar, it causes a rebound reaction leading to more food cravings and less feelings of satiety.
One large study found that people who drink artificially sweetened sodas are more likely to experience weight gain than those who drink non-diet sodas.
North American consumption has increased enormously over the last twenty-five years, as consumers try to steer clear of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and so approximately 35-40% percent of American adults regularly consume these artificial sweeteners.
Take home; Any kind of pop, diet or regular, will not help your weight loss efforts.
INDUSTRIAL SEED OILS:
For years “fat was bad” but when it comes to weight loss, not all fats and oils are the same. Many studies have shown that saturated animal fats are far less likely to cause weight gain than vegetable oils. One study on rats that were divided into different groups receiving diets with identical proportions of calories from fat, protein, and carbohydrate but different types of fats showed that the rats in the group receiving fat from safflower oil had a 12.3% increase in total body weight compared to rats eating traditional fats and even more interesting the weight gain was lower in the rats fed a higher proportion of saturated fats.
Vegetable oils (canola, corn, soy, safflower etc) that have been heated are even more obesogenic. In a study comparing the consumption of unheated oil, oil heated once and repeatedly heated oil, the group eating repeatedly heated oil gained 45 percent more weight.
Why does this happen? It has been suggested that a diet high in polyunsaturated fats (omega-6s and or linoleic acid), over time, leads to mitochondrial dysfunction, primarily with our ability to create ATP or energy, so we we can’t effectively or properly burn fat as fuel.
We become less efficient at using fat as fuel and as a result we begin to prioritize carbohydrates as fuel while also making our fat cells bigger and grow in size, which is exactly what we don’t want.
Dieters are often very hesitant to include saturated animal fats in their diets, believing that butter and lard will make you fat. But the science suggests otherwise.
A study by Temple University School of Medicine, ran a study in which every calorie eaten and spent was measured. After a week of typical eating, ten obese patients with type 2 diabetes followed a diet that limited carbohydrates to 20 grams per day but allowed unlimited protein and fat. With carbs out of the diet, the patients spontaneously reduced their daily energy consumption by 1,000 calories per day.
In addition to calorie reduction and weight loss, subjects experienced markedly improved glucose levels and insulin sensitivity as well as lower triglycerides and cholesterol. The interesting thing about this study was that the subjects did not consciously try to restrict calories or lose weight, showing that restricting carbs and increasing fat in the diet works better than willpower.
For weight loss, avoid all industrial seed oils and enjoy animal fats and full-fat dairy foods.
For years the conventional thinking suggested that when you eat too much salt, you become thirsty and drink water to dilute the amount of sodium chloride in the bloodstream, to keep sodium at the proper levels and allowing the kidneys to excrete the excess.
However, recent experiments with mice found that mice burned more calories when they got more salt, eating 25 percent more just to maintain their weight. It seems that salt stimulates the production of more glucocorticoid hormones, which break down fat and muscle in the body.
These results suggest that increasing salt may be a useful strategy for weight loss, as long as the diet contains sufficient levels of fat to mitigate increased feelings of hunger.
Many food manufactures have followed governmental guidelines and reduced salt in their products, but knowing it enhances flavour and addiction, have included other chemicals such as MSG and other salt flavour enhancers.
In fact, many ‘enhancers’ are not flavors at all. They are chemicals that contain no flavor of their own, rather they activate or block taste receptors in your mouth and can mimic or enhance the taste of salt and sugar.
Sadly, since these additives are not actually ingredients but rather “enhancers,” FDA/CFIA does not require manufacturers to list them in the ingredients panel except as “artificial flavors.” Often these chemicals have not undergone the usual safety approval process for food additives.
Unfortunately your body has an absolute requirement for salt and if we don’t get the salt we need in our food, we often eat more in order to get the salt we need.
We all know staying hydrated is very important and when we are dehydrated we often crave and eat more food, which is why most weight loss programs suggest drinking at least ½ your body in water daily
But there are two sets of data showering we need to be very mindful about the water we drink.
New research opens up an entirely new theory, suggesting the negative disruption of weight regulation by hormone-disrupting contaminants. Many many studies have shown that exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) increases the number and size of fat cells
Unfortunately our exposure is widespread through consumption of water in plastic bottles as well as plastic food containers, to-go coffee cups, cash register receipts, dental sealants, aluminum can inner liners, and foods packaged in plastic.
Researchers in the UK have proposed the theory that drinking fluoridated water can make you fat. Fluoride is an additive in most municipal water systems and although it is postulated to help reduce cavities, it is also an enzyme disruptor which has been shown to reduce the effectiveness of thyroid hormones. Low thyroid function slows overall metabolism, leading to weight gain or the inability to lose weight.
If weight loss is your goal, stay hydrated, but be sure to drink clean water!