Author of the Best-selling Unleash Your Thin Program
Foods are just like people - a mixture of good and bad qualities.
But some foods land pretty low down on the "bad" scale. They can wreak havoc on your metabolism... ignite inflammation and swelling... contribute to problems in digestion and absorption, slow down fat burning and disrupt hormones.
And while it may not be possible to avoid every one of these foods forever, you should seriously consider dialing them down in your diet. Your waistline will thank you!
The 5 WORST Metabolism-Killing Foods on the Planet...
#1 Agave Nectar Syrup
Touted as a miracle health food, agave nectar / syrup is basically high-fructose corn syrup masquerading as nutrition-packed health food - and that makes it an absolute metabolism-killing disaster you should avoid at ALL costs.
The big "selling point" of agave is its low-glycemic index, meaning it doesn't raise your blood sugar quickly. That's fine - but gasoline has a low-glycemic index too. Doesn't mean I want to drink it!
Agave is low-glycemic for ONE reason only - it's mostly fructose,which is the most metabolically damaging kind of sugar on the planet. With the exception of pure fructose, agave has the highest fructose content of ANY sweetener. (High fructose corn syrup is about 55% fructose; Agave syrup is between 55-92% fructose.)
Sure, it doesn't raise blood sugar. But it still creates insulin resistance.
Meaning, it still makes you fat!
It also raises your triglycerides and increases ugly belly fat (muffin tops and beer bellies ring a bell?). That puts you at greater risk for diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
"When you consume fructose", says Professor Robert Lustig, MD, professor of pediatrics at University of California San Francisco, and author of "Fat Chance", "you are essentially consuming fat".
#2 Canola Oil
Sounds healthy, doesn't it?
Canola oil is a triumph of marketing over facts. It's actually rapeseed oil (from the rapeseed plant), but was renamed for obvious reasons. Rapeseed oil is pretty disgusting stuff. In its natural state, it's an ugly greenish color. It also has a high concentration of erucic acid, which may cause heart damage.
To turn it into something marketable, manufacturers remove the erucic acid. Bleach it. Deodorize it. And degum the oil with various chemicals, including hexane, a chemical solvent.
"The canola oil found on supermarket shelves has been refined, heated, and damaged beyond repair", writes Fred Pescatore, MD, former medical director of the Atkins Center, and author of "The Hamptons Diet".
Because it does contain some omega-3s, it shouldn't be heated to high heat (but frequently is). And the processing and refining of canola oil leads to the creation of extremely unhealthy trans-fats. Trans fats can be metabolically damaging in multiple ways.
Trans-fats increase the risk for heart disease, depression and other mental disorders, weight gain and embarrassing belly fat as well as lower DHA levels in the brain.
Dump this oil, and do it fast; otherwise, you may accidentally trigger your body's "obesity response" in which layer upon layer of stubborn fat marble on all over your body.
Instead, focus on eating these delicious foods that can trigger your "lean body" response, which puts your body in a natural fat burning state constantly.
#3 Whole Grains
This one may really shock you, but let's get one thing out of the way: "Whole grains" ARE definitely better than processed grains. The question is "how much better?" And the answer is... not much.
What's more, they also cause you to pack on the pounds.
See, grains - unlike fruits and vegetables and most nuts - can NEVER be eaten without some kind of processing.
You can't pluck a stalk of wheat and start chowing down. It doesn't work that way. Instead, grains must be ground into flour. And therein lies the metabolic devil that causes whole grains to make you fat.
Once whole grains have been processed down into flour, your digestive enzymes go to town. They convert that starch directly into pure sugar. This spikes your insulin and tells your body to start packing on the fat.(You can find out how to reverse that effect here.)
Some people argue that "whole grains" have more nutrients than "refined grains" and that's true. But ONLY when those "whole grains" remain "whole" and aren't refined down into flour.
So don't fall for the "whole grains" are good for you trap. Because they simply just aren't.
By the time you eat them in that bran muffin, whole wheat toast or whole wheat pasta, they've been processed into metabolism-killing oblivion - you might as well just gulp down a tablespoon full of pure sugar!
Corn and corn products are everywhere, in case you hadn't noticed. And up to 85% of US corn is genetically engineered (GMO). Think it doesn't matter?
Here's what the Center for Food Safety has to say:
"A number of studies over the past decade have revealed that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment. Human health effects can include higher risks of toxicity, allergenicity, antibiotic resistance, immune-suppression and cancer."
And while real, authentic corn does have small (very small) amounts of vitamins and minerals, most of the corn we consume has been processed. That means it say good bye to nutrition.
Plus corn is very high glycemic, which usually means an unwanted spike in blood sugar and insulin which can lead to metabolic disaster. It's also one of the top food allergens. And food allergens usually make you bloated, retain water, and generally bring your metabolism to its knees.
Except for the very occasional piece of home cooked corn on the cob, corn would be a good grain (yes, it's botanically a grain) to stay away from.
But it's not all bad news... here are 5 'flat belly foods' you should add into your diet.
#5 Foods High in Xenoestrogens
Xenoestrogens are compounds that basically act like estrogen in the human body. Unfortunately, our food supply is teeming with them. Which is bad news, indeed.
Too much estrogen in your body, regardless of where it comes from, leads to a condition known as estrogen dominance. Trust me, that's not a good thing.
Experts such as John Lee, MD believe that estrogen dominance is the "common denominator for a lot of female troubles." According to Ronald Hoffman, MD, estrogen dominance can affect weight gain, fibrocystic breast disease, PMS, migraines, menstrual disturbances, endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts and breast cancer.
"Estrogen is produced not only internally but also produced in reaction to chemicals and other substances in our food. When it is not broken down adequately, higher levels of estrogen build up", he says.
Nicholas Kristof, who has written extensively about xenoestrogens for the NY Times, tells of frogs with female organs, male fish which produce eggs, and male alligators with abnormally tiny sexual parts. "Endocrine disrupters are everywhere", he writes. "Big Chem" says this is all junk science. Don't believe it for a second.
You can reduce your exposure to harmful xenoestrogens by consuming organic food, especially when it comes to crops that are heavily sprayed.
It's also especially important to consume only organic meat, eggs and dairy since growth hormones fed to cattle and other livestock are a huge source of these dangerous chemicals.
The worst part about having estrogen dominance is that it quite literally forces fat onto your hips and belly - NOT the places any of us need any extra padding! To combat that, try these techniques that stimulate glucagon, an extraordinarily powerful hormone responsible for initiating fat loss, particularly around the thighs, hips, waist and belly.
Ok, Jonny, So What Are Foods That Crank Up Your Metabolism?
Well, the good news is that there ARE plenty of delicious, mouth-watering foods that are easy to make, don't cost you an arm and a leg and may help you trim some of that extra blubber that's piled up over the years on your belly, hips, waist, butt and thighs.
These are foods that you can hunt, pluck, fish and gather and they all part of what I call "The Jonny Bowden Four Food Groups" and I explain much more about them here.
Folks let me tell you - if you are exercising until you drop or starving yourself into oblivion, you are just spinning your wheels as NEITHER of those is going to get you that slim, sexy, health figure or physique you've always wanted. Your body simply goes into survival mode and holds on to that fat, frustrating you to no end.
But by eating the RIGHT foods, and avoiding the WRONG foods, you can unleash the power of your body's primary fat burning hormone. I get questions about how to do this all of the time so I've put together a simple explanation of exactly how you can do this for yourself right now here on the next page.