Want to lose weight? READ LABELS! It’s not rocket-science, people. If you’re eating foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce, additives that you can’t picture in their natural state, or processed foods with longer ingredient lists than Santa’s naughty/nice roster, any weight loss will be temporary (if at all!).
Lasting weight loss comes from making lasting lifestyle changes — not just counting calories!
For the sixth and final week of Domestica’s Fitness Train Challenge (Season 3), we are focusing on three new nutritional guidelines from Michael Pollan’s book, Food Rules. All of Pollan’s Rules will help you re-program your thinking on what constitutes “healthy” food and that is why I chose to use his book as the basis of Season 3 of the Fitness Train.
Chances are, you’re being duped into thinking that low-fat products are healthy (they’re not!), that diet foods are what you eat when you want to lose weight (WRONG!), and that boxed food is fine so long as it claims to be “natural”, “organic”, “heart-healthy” (wrong again!).
Pollan’s book tackles those common misconceptions along with many others and you can easily find copies at your local library. For this week’s Fitness Train Passengers, we’re focusing on three new rules to keep us losing weight, feeling good, and constantly learning — why don’t you join us?
Rule # 42: “The Whiter the Bread, the Sooner You’ll Be Dead”
As far as the body is concerned, white flour is not much different than sugar. After being stripped of all nutrients, it’s basically just a shot of glucose to your system. As Pollan says, “Large spikes of glucose are inflammatory and wreak havoc on our insulin metabolism”. Plus, when our body has used all the energy it needs to function, it takes whatever glucose is left and sends it directly to our fat cells for a good feeding — and if there is one thing we do NOT want to be feeding, it’s our fat!
Refined and nutritionally-void white flour is lurking in more than just the infamous white bread. Find it in anything breaded (chicken wings, chicken strips, etc), crackers, pastries, tortilla wraps, flatbreads, etc. Even if you think something is “whole grain”, read the labels because many “whole grain” products are actually mostly white flour and darkened with things like mollasses to fool you into thinking it’s healthy! READ LABELS!
Rule # 50: Avoid Ingredients That Lie to Your Body
Michael Pollan says: “Such as artificial sweeteners and flavorings, fake starches and fats, MSG, and texturizers. When we eat, the senses of taste and smell, even the sense of touch in the mouth, send signals to the brain that prepare the body to digest and metabolize specific foods or nutrients. Food fakery can disorder this system…”
Domestica says: Look on the ingredients list of everything you are eating — avoid anything that says: “artificial flavor”; sugar starches such as dextrose, glucose, maltitol, erythritol, sorbitol, mannitol; fake fats like olestra (often found in “reduced fat” or “non-fat” products); Monosodium Glutamate (or any of MSG’s many other names); and texturizers like gelatin, pectin, guar gum, carrageenan, xanthan gum, and whey.
Rule # 5: Avoid Foods That Have Some Form of Sugar (or Sweetener) Listed Among the Top Three Ingredients
Michael Pollan says: “Labels list ingredients by weight, and any product that has more sugar than other ingredients has too much sugar.”
Domestica says: Don’t just look for “sugar” on the ingredients list — there are now over 40 types of sugar used in processed food. Michael Pollan lists a few of the most common: barley malt, brown rice syrup, evaporated cane juice, corn sweetener, dextrin, dextrose, fructooligosaccharides, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, sucrose, invert sugar, polydextrose, turbinado. If you don’t recognize an ingredient, Google it! Ignorance may be bliss, but it’s also a quick way to get fat, sick, and dead!
As you can probably tell by now, reading labels is by far the number one thing you can do for your health. Knowledge is power. And powerful is the new skinny!