If you’re interested in healthy living, chances are you already know which foods to avoid. However, keeping these foods out of your diet is often a lot easier said than done, especially if you’ve been eating a typical Western diet for years.
That’s why starting small can be more manageable than completely transforming your diet. A few changes alone can have a great impact on your health.
Finding healthier substitutes for these 7 kinds of foods will aid in your weight loss journey.
1. Beverages Containing Artificial Sweeteners – Despite popular belief, diet sodas and other artificially sweetened diet-beverages, which contain aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal), saccharin (Sweet’N Low), or sucralose (Splenda) will not keep you slim.
They actually do the opposite. Not only are artificial sweeteners linked to obesity, but they could also make you sick. Excessive consumption of artificial sweeteners can be linked to Crohn’s Disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome among others.
Substitute these beverages with unrefined sugars or natural sugar substitutes like pure stevia extract.
2. High Fructose Corn Syrup – Besides being genetically modified, high fructose corn syrup can cause obesity, diabetes, brain damage and even mercury poisoning.
Unfortunately HFCS is found in many of the foods you might not expect, such as breads, cereals and even tomato sauce! Read labels carefully and try preparing your own ingredients to avoid this toxic additive.
3. Hydrogenated and “Trans- fat” Vegetable Oils – For years, we’ve been told that saturated fats make you fat and to always opt for unsaturated fats. The truth is that these oils not only turn rancid when heated but they’re also high in omega-6 fats. Foods high in omega-6 fats have been linked to heart disease, depression and even cancer.
To make matters worse, some vegetable oils like corn, canola and soy are genetically modified. Try tastier and healthier alternatives like grass fed butter, ghee, olive and hemp oil, or coconut oil (great for cooking at high temperatures).
4. White Breads and Pastas – A key culprit in America’s battle against obesity, these refined flour products add inches to our waistlines and take years from our lives. Stripped of all nutrients during processing, these foods offer little more than empty calories. And because they are bleached and bromated, they’ve been linked to cancer as well.
Avoid all processed wheat products if you can. Brown rice, quinoa and barley are healthier grain options.
5. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) – Another chemical to avoid, MSG can cause headaches, heart problems and even brain damage.
6. Carrageenan – Another additive, used even in some organic foods, can cause gastrointestinal upset and even colon cancer.
7. Refined salt – This type of salt can cause stroke, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Because it is stripped of all trace minerals, refined salt depletes your body of essential nutrients. Unrefined sea salts are a healthier option.
The cravings you might experience once you give up these foods will decrease over time. Most junk food cravings result from low blood sugar or some other nutritional deficiency. To fill this nutritional need, your body naturally tends to crave the kinds of foods it’s normally given.
After regularly being fed whole, nourishing food, your body will begin to crave healthier options. A proper diet just makes you feel better. Your body will learn which foods it needs to function well over time and eating healthy will become second nature.