5 Fat Storing Foods to leave off your Plate
Are you starting your day with whole wheat toast and margarine, followed by a glass of concentrated orange juice? If you are, then the very first instruction you are giving your body each morning is ‘store fat now’!
Just as there are foods that aid fat burning and get the metabolism going, there are also foods that tell your body to go into fat storing mode. Some of these you will have already heard the bad press on, while others might come as a bit of a surprise. Some of them are even touted as being ‘healthy’ foods (and in some forms and/or in moderation they may not be too bad) but in general, the way these foods are processed and sold to us makes them incredibly bad for our inner balance (particularly hormone balance) and ability to burn fat.
At menopause, one of the changes you’ll notice is that a little extra fat creeps on around the middle and it can be hard to shift because your body doesn’t seem to respond in the way that it used to. The last thing you need to be doing on top of this is eating fat storing foods.
Here’s what to avoid:
1. Whole wheat bread – it seems wheat (and gluten) should not only be avoided by those suffering from celiac disease. Gluten causes gut inflammation and is strongly linked to cancer. See The Keys to Good Health for more information on inflammation and its effect on our health. Wheat also causes inflammation and premature cell death in the gut, in turn causing all sorts of digestion issues. Wheat has a bad effect on your vitamin D stores, which can lead to weak bones and a weakened immune system. It disrupts your nutrient absorption, the lectins in it can lead to leaky gut – undigested particles entering your blood stream, causing your immune system to go into overdrive to repair (something that will make CFS suffers nod knowingly), and lectins are also responsible for weight gain and sleep disturbance. Think I’ll pass on wheat breads and cereals!
There seems to be something quite sensible in the opinion that there are foods that we humans are not supposed to eat and that thinking back to cave man days, compared to the much more recent times of crop farming, could be the way to go. There are a lot of health experts who believe that all grains – wheat, rye, oats, barley and corn – are to be avoided.
2. Margarine/Vegetable Oils – it is said that, next to whole grains, margarine and vegetable oils are the worst foods you can possibly eat. They are extracted from seeds (rapeseed, soybean, corn, sunflower) and, unlike butter and coconut oil, they cannot be extracted simply by pressing. Instead they are extracted and altered by chemicals…. making them some of the most harmful ‘substances’ (can they be called foods?!) you can put into your body. They are trans fats (which means ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol). Artificial, synthetic, industrial or manufactured trans fats come about because of the way some fats and oils are processed. How can anything artificial or synthetic ever be good for you!
The husband of a friend of mine is a surgeon and he once told me that when they cut people open they can tell if they are margarine eaters because there is ‘yellow gunk’ inside them…. I always remember seeing an experiment on television where butter and margarine were both left outside in the open; the butter naturally broke down and disappeared while the margarine was unaltered. Hmmm, are you thinking what I’m thinking? That’s because it is NOT NATURAL, it’s manufactured… and it does not break down inside our bodies either. Enough said.
3. Concentrated orange juice – the fibre is removed in the processing, leaving only sugar, which raises your insulin and causes your blood sugar levels to go crazy. Years ago a Chinese medicine man told me that concentrated orange juice (in particular… but any concentrated juice in reality) is too much for our liver to cope with, due to the concentration of sugars. He said to ALWAYS dilute orange juice with water if you are going to drink it. Eating an orange is ok because it has a balance of fibre and sugar, and is not in a concentrated form.
Clearly vitamin C is essential (I eat an orange every week – I know, just one, it sounds silly but I like to have it)… and I take chewable vitamin C tablets every day (the sugarless variety). When my Nana was in her 80s she had really thin, red, angry looking skin on her legs – they were easily bruised and had constant sores on them. The doctor said it was quite normal for her generation because they did not get enough vitamin C. I remember my Mum telling me a story about when her and her brothers and sisters were kids, how Nana would give them an orange in their Christmas stockings as a treat! These things are the reasons why I like to make a fresh fruit salad once a week and include an orange. Most days I will eat berries, and a couple of times a week eat grapefruit or banana…. but I restrict some of the other higher sugar content fruits to a weekly treat, which makes it really special. I avoid fruit juices completely.
4. Soy products (soymilk, tofu, soy protein) – it seems we were misled about the health benefits of soy. Soy is largely genetically modified and it can be found in almost every packaged food and fast food on the market. Vegetarians have been including it as a staple in their diet for years, largely based on a hugely successful public relations campaign by the soy industry. The trouble is, Soy impairs your absorption of minerals, prevents proper digestion of protein, inhibits thyroid function and increases oestrogen levels to almost dangerous proportions.
Soy is a really controversial food…. it’s easy to OD on soy and not even know it, due to it being ‘hidden’ in so many packaged foods (protein bars, cereals, fast foods). The bottom line seems to be that the fermented versions (miso and tempeh) are a better choice… but moderation all round might be the key. A food that impacts nutrient absorption and disrupts hormone balances is not a food to include in your diet as a women of menopause age.
5. Corn – this grain seems to have caused all sorts of controversy and health issues in the USA. As with the other grains – wheat, rye, barley and oats – its nutritional value is not what we may have thought it was. Omega 3 deficiency is blamed on a number of foods being made plentiful and cheap from agricultural practises in the USA, and this includes corn. Corn drains nutrients from the soil, particularly nitrogen. Crops are rotated to restore fertility to the soil where corn has been grown, and farms often use lots of fertiliser to help restore fertility. A large percentage of corn becomes concentrated animal feed… why? Because it is really good at increasing the weight of the animal…. hmmm.
Then there is corn syrup… high fructose corn syrup, associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and most other chronic diseases that are a result of being overweight. Corn syrup can be found in 3 out of 4 products in the supermarket (bread, yogurt, soft drinks, cereals and more).
I’ll just finish by saying that in the USA, grain has been demoted on the food pyramid, from a foundation food to a much reduced daily dietary requirement. The only way to be really sure that you are eating healthy is to choose fresh fruits and vegetables, organic, grass feed meat and ancient grains.