Here’s the bad news: Obesity rates are increasing. A new study found that nearly 40 percent of American adults are obese. That’s a huge jump—up from 33 percent in 2007. A lot of people think more exercise is the answer to this miserable situation, but statistics say it’s not so: Exercise rates have also increased over the last ten years with more people than ever meeting both aerobic and weight training guidelines.
Here’s the good news: Every great trainer knows how to help you lose fat: It all starts in the kitchen. You’re never going to achieve a healthy weight unless you take control of what you put in your mouth. And we’re here to help you do just that.
This article is going to give you a quick overview of nutrition for fat loss and supply a list of foods to avoid that encourage obesity, and foods that are protective, around which you should design your meal plan.
Overview of Eating For Fat Loss:
What a lot of people get wrong about fat loss is they view it as a temporary diet that they only have to follow until they lose weight. Then they assume they can go back to their previous problematic dietary habits. We call this “deadline dieting” and the obvious problem is that once you go back to “normal” eating, you gain the weight back. Plus, the experience is miserable because you are hungry and depriving yourself all the time.
Instead, you need to figure out a way of eating that is both sustainable for the longer term and allows you to avoid chronic hunger. Now, it is true that fat loss shouldn’t be an all the time goal. Rather you should apply yourself, get it done, and move on. However, you’re only going to sustain weight loss if you establish habits that help you manage your calorie intake and skew towards a deficit at least some of the time.
Exactly how you do this will vary somewhat but the basic framework should include the following:
Eat primarily whole foods—anything that flew, swam, ran, or grew out of the ground or from a tree.
Design every meal around protein, a healthy fat, and a lower carb vegetable.
Prioritize high-quality protein (the kind derived from animals) to manage hunger and sustain lean mass.
Load up on nutrient-rich plants: Foods like leafy greens, berries, almonds, olive oil, avocado, cauliflower, and kiwi are all packed with antioxidants and fiber that help counter inflammation.
Get your healthy fats: Nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, seafood, eggs, and dairy promote satiety and help fight inflammation associated with excess body fat.
Avoid processed foods, especially refined carbs, which wreak havoc on reward centers in the brain and make you more likely to overeat.
Have a plan for eating out. Whether you choose to indulge a little or stick to your meal plan, you always need a game plan for ordering in a social situation. Check the menu in advance and look for high quality protein and vegetables that you can enjoy without too much discussion.
With this framework in mind, here is a list of OBESITY CAUSING FOODS TO AVOID:
#1: Soda, Juice & Energy Drinks
Sugar-sweetened energy drinks are public enemy number one when it comes to obesity because they have no effect on appetite and are rapidly digested, leading the body to store any extra calories as fat.
#2: Soybean Oil
Soybean oil has skyrocketed in the Western food supply, and this overload impairs insulin sensitivity and causes changes to how the liver functions, contributing to obesity and diabetes.
#3: Added Fructose
Unlike glucose, fructose is a sugar that is processed by the liver. When the liver is overwhelmed with fructose (which it often is due to the fact that it’s added to EVERYTHING), it promptly deposits it as fat, often in the abdominal cavity and in the liver itself, which impairs insulin sensitivity and causes inflammation.
Stop fooling yourself that alcohol is good for you. If you’re overweight, alcohol is only hurting your health: It increases fat storage, is calorically dense, and stimulates food intake.
#5: Processed Meat—Sausage, Hot Dogs, Bacon, Etc.
Processed meat is that it contains inflammatory compounds that alter hunger hormones and regulate metabolic function. Meat that has been frozen, sliced, deboned, or cut doesn’t fit into this category and may be protective as long as it is cooked at low temperatures and not blackened, fried, or smoked.
#6: White Bread
While legitimately whole grain bread (the grain is fully intact supplying the germ and hull) is protective against obesity, white bread is practically fiber-less and has a sweet taste that stimulates food intake and makes people come back for more.
#7: Fried Potatoes
While plain potatoes are incredibly nutritious and satiating, frying them in fat and adding salt (a natural flavor enhancer) lights up the reward centers in your brain making French fries and potato chips a super fattening food.
#8: Sweets: Donuts, Ice Cream, Cake, Candy Bars, Pie, Cookies…
Food manufacturers have scientifically engineered your favorite sweets with added sugar, fat, and refined grains so that they “light up” reward centers of the brain, making moderation an impossibility.
#9: Fast Food
Fast food consumption is associated with increased food-driven reward behavior: Basically, people use fast food to make themselves feel better and overcome stress—a habit that inevitably leads to overeating.
#10: Refined Grains: Crackers, Protein & Granola Bars, Chips, Cereal, Cookies…
Refined grains make up more than 50 percent of the calories in the average westerner’s diet. The digestive system simply isn’t able to cope with this load of sugar so rapidly, which is why diabetes and obesity are skyrocketing.
Use These PROTECTIVE FAT LOSS FOODS To Design Your Meal Plan
#1: Cold Water Fish: Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines & Anchovies
These fish are high in satiety-promoting protein and omega-3 fats that improve insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation.
#2: Nuts: Almonds & Walnuts
Nuts are high in antioxidants, protein, fiber and healthy fats—a combination that blunts hunger and improves the metabolic response to a meal, lowering insulin and improving the appetite-management hormone, leptin.
#3: Berries: Blueberries, Strawberries & Raspberries
Berries are the perfect sweet treat when your goal is fat loss because they contain fiber and antioxidants, and have been shown to blunt the amount of insulin the body produces in response to high-carbohydrate foods.
Food scientists call avocado an “anti-obesity” food due to how it can lower inflammation, while providing fiber, protein, and healthy fat to improve satiety and moderate appetite.
A perfect protein source that scores high in the satiety index, eggs provide unique antioxidants that help the body eradicate inflammation and promote well being.
Caffeine is the most powerful legal physical performance enhancer available to you: Not only will it improve training intensity and work capacity so that you can get more out of your workouts, but it revs motivation, helping you get off the couch and into the gym.
Vinegar improves insulin sensitivity and aids the body to store glucose as glycogen rather than depositing those calories as fat.
Besides being rich in hunger-lowering protein, yogurt provides beneficial bacteria for a healthy inflammation-free GI tract.
#9: Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli and Cauliflower
The cruciferous vegetables help the body eliminate excess estrogen—a hormone associated with increased body fat when it is elevated, often due to toxin exposure.
#10: Leafy Greens: Chard, Collards, Kale
Leafy greens are a free for all food that are low in calories and high in fiber. They also contain compounds that help the body metabolize carbohydrates efficiently, improving insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.
Final Words: With these lists you should be well on your way to designing a delicious, enjoyable meal plan that will allow you to maintain energy, create a calorie deficit, and keep hunger at bay. Don’t be afraid to include foods that didn’t make our top ten: Beans and legumes, other dairy products like cottage cheese, fermented foods such as kim chi, green tea, colorful fruits and veggies, and organic or pasture-raised cuts of meat.