The usual suspects behind diet sabotage are well documented: candy, soda, sugary cereal, any food item with the word “lard” posted as one of the ingredients.
However, there’s a group of foods deceptive enough to twilight as innocent additions to a diet program, but moonlight as unwanted add-ons to a waistline. Yep, these diet busters will put a bulge where you’d rather see a divot.
Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but just because the label says “sugar free” doesn’t mean it’s a green light to chew gum all day, every day. Popping in a piece or two won’t hurt you, but at day’s end, if empty packs end up in the trash bin, it’s time to break the habit.
WHY IT’S BAD: Sugarless gums use artificial sweeteners that act exactly like sugars when too much has been ingested.
HOW IT’S BAD: Synthetic sweeteners include sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, which can hinder digestion, cause bloating and prevent fat burning when you’re trying to reduce bodyfat to the low single digits.
AVOID THE BUST: Look for gums made with stevia, a nonsynthetic, zero-calorie substance, instead of artificial sweeteners.
- Stevia is a natural sweetener that can be up to 300 times sweeter than sugar.
- NutraSweet and Equal brands contain aspartame; Splenda is sucralose based; Sweet’N Low brand is made with saccharin.
When the endgame is fat loss, the sugar in fruit can thwart the plan. It might be natural, but that doesn’t mean it can be considered a free- for-all food while dieting.
WHY IT’S BAD: Fruits contain the natural sugar fructose, which can become another hurdle to burning off bodyfat if eaten without restraint.
HOW IT’S BAD: Fructose cannot be used directly by the body for fuel. It must first go to the liver and be converted to glucose. That is one reason why fruit is usually a low- glycemic carb that does not rapidly raise blood glucose and insulin levels. However, if the liver is already full of glycogen (the storage form of glucose), it will not convert fructose into glucose; instead, it will convert it into fat!
AVOID THE BUST: There is no substitute for fresh produce, so do not purchase processed, packaged or canned fruit instead. These products are typically saturated with even more sugar and should — along with fruit juices — be avoided.
- The glycemic index is a good resource for selecting fruits. It’s an inverse property: the lower the GI, the higher the fruit should rate in your diet.
- Low-GI foods register 55 and below; don’t choose fruits with a value of 70 or higher, except for after workouts.
- Low-GI carbs produce small fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels.
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