Carrying too much fat is a health risk, not only a cosmetic problem. Though they may not be the only cause, poor food choices contribute to high levels of body fat. The bottom line is burning more calories than you consume. However, certain foods may be holding you back more than others. To speed up your weight loss, discover what foods are keeping you fat.
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Processed Convenience Foods
It's hard to avoid eating fast food or prepared foods if you lead a busy lifestyle. These foods are almost universally high in calories, salt, processed carbohydrates, unhealthy fats and artificial ingredients. Cutting these unhealthy foods out of your diet is the first step to losing fat.
Your thyroid gland produces hormones that allow you to use your body's energy stores, such as fat, for energy. Some raw vegetables contain chemicals called goitrogens that can prevent iodine from being absorbed or otherwise lower thyroid hormone levels. These food include soy, cruciferous vegetablse such as cabbage and broccoli, peanuts, pine nuts and canola oil. Many of these foods are also healthy, and cooking destroys the goitrogens. If you are currently struggling with weight loss, try to avoid eating too many of these foods raw.
An enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase is required for fat burning. When insulin levels in the blood are low, the HSL enzyme moves into fat cells and breaks down fat for energy. The high insulin levels that come with rising blood sugar inactivate HSL. Blood sugar and insulin levels remain high, and fat burning low, when you consume carbohydrates in excess. However, don't avoid carbohydrates altogether; you need them for energy. Obtain the majority of your daily carbohydrates from healthy sources such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends a daily maximum intake of 2,300 mg of sodium, found in table salt. Those at higher risk for heart disease should limit their intake to 1,500 mg. Many processed foods high in salt are also high in calories. Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding foods that have more than 200 mg of sodium per serving. High salt intake causes water retention and may interfere with fat loss.
Base your healthy diet around lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Healthy foods are more often fresh and require that you cook them yourself. Plan ahead to shop for groceries and prepare healthy food to eat when you're busy. Knowing the proper amounts of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats you need in your diet can be difficult. Consult your doctor or a registered nutritionist or dietician to find the appropriate amounts for your health and lifestyle.