Weigh The Pros And Cons
Weight loss is a tricky subject and with new “miracle” diets emerging every day, it’s hard to determine what foods will support your diet goals the most. To help you out, we consulted JJ Virgin, celebrity nutrition and fitness expert and co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters, to get to the bottom of what foods we should really be avoiding.
This tricky little ingredient has been a hot topic in the nutrition world lately, as more and more of us discover we’re gluten intolerant. Virgin says she believes at least 30 percent of the population is gluten intolerant and those who are and eat gluten can experience fatigue, brain fog, joint pain and digestive issues. Besides these obviously unpleasant symptoms, Virgin recommends staying away from the ingredient in general: “I also don't believe that gluten is an ideal food for anyone.”
We all like to fool ourselves into believing that fruit juice is just as beneficial as the real thing, but Virgin says it’s really “an entirely different animal.” While actual fruits (like apples and berries) contain plenty of fiber, Virgin says their juice counterparts are lacking in this important nutrient, and they are also filled with loads of unnecessary sugars, so the more juice you drink, the easier it is to gain weight.
When you eat too much sugar, you’re sabotaging your weight loss goals big time, Virgin says: “Sugar causes the fat storing hormone insulin to rise and stay up, which effectively shuts down fat burning and creates inflammation.”
You might think you’re being smart by substituting your sugar for an artificial sweetener, but you could be wrong. Virgin says that this chemical cuisine can cause “calorie dysregulation,” a condition where you can no longer calibrate the degree of sweetness to the caloric load. The result? Overeating. “When you eat sweet, you crave sweet,” she says.
Corn, soy and wheat are what Virgin calls a “triple threat. The genetically modified crops have been linked to everything from infertility to digestive issues and they boast both a high glycemic index and pro-inflammatory effect.
Peanuts are always a tricky topic. On the one hand, many people believe they’re healthy for their good fats and protein content, but on the other hand, there are many others who are a bit skeptical about their benefits. Virgin says that peanuts are in fact not nuts, rather they are legumes and thus contain a different (and less beneficial) fatty acid profile than tree nuts. Plus, peanuts are at risk for aflatoxin, a toxic, potentially carcinogenic mold.
Eggs are definitely a food that can err on the healthy side, but Virgin also says they can be an obstacle to weight loss: “I have found that a high percentage of clients react to them with a low grade immune response that causes inflammation, fatigue and the inability to lose weight.” So proceed with caution, dieters.
A reactive food, dairy can produce negative effects similar to those experienced by egg eaters, Virgin says. Plus, dairy items can also hinder your quest for clear skin since they raise androgens that lead to acne.
Besides the fact that many yeast products are also rather unhealthy options (bread or pizza crust, anyone?), Virgin says this ingredient is also one of the more allergenic, reactive foods out there.
This endocrine disruptor can change the way your body’s hormones function, Virgin says. Plus, overconsumption of soy can lower thyroid function and the thyroid gland is key for a strong metabolism.