Five Foods to Cut Back on When It Comes to Metabolism
1. Refined grains
Refined grains like those found in processed, packaged foods, white bread, pasta, and rice can sabotage weight loss. A study published in June 2011 in the New England Journal of Medicine linked a weight gain of .39 pounds, over a four year period, to each daily serving of refined grains.
Refined grains contain empty calories, lack fiber, and can cause blood sugar spikes. “They’re not as filling, so you can end up eating a lot more, taking in a lot more calories, and it can make you feel a lot more tired and sluggish,” Moskovitz says.
2. Sugary beverages
Sweetened beverages could slow down your metabolism. A study published in July 2017 in the journal BMC Nutrition found that eating a high-protein meal with a sugar-sweetened drink may negatively impact energy balance, reduce fat metabolism, and cause the body to store more fat.
While fruit juice may not contain added sugars, it’s still high in calories, and juicing strips the fiber content from fruit. Since it’s a concentrated form of sugar, juice can stimulate your hunger, increase blood sugar and make you feel hungry shortly after you drink it, Moskovitz says.
Alcohol is loaded with calories, and when we drink it, we often don’t make the best choices when it comes to food. Since alcohol consumption also negatively affects blood sugar, you might crave sugary foods after a few glasses of wine and the next day feel unmotivated to exercise. “For some people it could take a few days to return to your normal, functioning self,” Moskovitz says.
A review published in March 2015 in the journal Current Obesity Reports found heavy drinking and binge drinking are associated with an increased risk for obesity.
Although it’s often promoted as a health food, granola is high in calories and fat, and the high sugar content in most types can spike your blood sugar and make you feel hungrier. Instead, look for granola made with 100 percent whole grains, nuts, and a limited amount of dried fruit, and avoid those with added sugar and oils. “Granola is one of those mythical health foods that has a lot of calories [and] can have a lot of sugar,” Moskovitz says.
5. Soybean oil
Soybean oil is high in calories and omega-6 fatty acids, which can promote inflammation and may contribute to weight gain. A study published in October 2017 in Nature noted that soybean oil is the component in the American diet that has increased the most over the past century, paralleling a rise in obesity. Foods high in omega-6 fatty acids can also promote insulin resistance and resistance to leptin (a hormone that tells your body that you’re full). Decreasing omega-6 fatty acids and increasing omega-3 fatty acids can aid weight loss, according to a review published in March 2016 in the journal Nutrients.
Swap soybean oil and other oils high in omega-6 fatty acids for olive oil or flaxseed oil, or eat fatty fish such as salmon. Of course, soybean oil may be difficult to avoid because it’s an ingredient in a number of processed foods. Rather than making a swap in this case, avoid the processed food altogether and choose whole foods.