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Getting obese? Avoid these 15 foods

Last updated on: September 2, 2011 17:53 IST

Getting obese? Avoid these 15 foods

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Dr Vidyut Sodha

In a series of articles for rediff.com, weight loss expert Dr Vidyut Sodha shares his insights on obesity.

Obesity is perhaps one of the singular cause of most health issues. In a special series of articles Dr Vidyut Sodha tells us what causes obesity and sheds light on some of the most popular myths.

Today he talks about the 14 foods that cause obesity.

1. Watermelon

Yes it's a fact avoid it. Watermelon as told by everyone is the lightest calorie fruit is true but having it causes actually obesity. The reason being watermelon is a high calorie index fruit which means that every time you have it, it releases insulin immediately which then stores fat in the adipose tissue and also a person have it will increase hunger pangs, which means he/she will eat more food.

Dr Vidyut Sodha runs Fat 2 Fit -- a slimming and weight loss centre in Mumbai.


Image: Watermelon is a high calorie index fruit
Photographs: Steve Evans/Creative Commons
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2. Artificial sweeteners /diet cokes /etc.

Artificial sweeteners etc though having zero calories also are sweet so once taken they again release insulin in the body very fast causing rapid rise in glucose levels and again weight gain. Also these sweeteners have certain chemicals in them which cause hunger pangs over a period of 8 hours after consuming them.


Image: Certain chemicals in sweeteners cause hunger pangs
Photographs: Creative Commons
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3. Green tea

Green tea has a chemical called Epigallocatechin tri-gallate (epgc) which increases metabolism by only 21 calories if you have 4 strong cups a day. In turn this compound also causes hunger pangs after 8 hours of its consumption which makes a person eat more food at wrong times!

21 calories can be burnt easily by walking for 15 minutes then why waste time and put on weight by having green tea!


Image: Green tea has a chemical which increases metabolism but causes hunger pangs
Photographs: PD photo/Creative Commons
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4. Non-vegetarian foods

Though non-vegetarian foods are high in protein, some of them are also high in saturated fat content. All the more most of the foods lack in vitamins and minerals found in vegetarian foods and more importantly they lack fibre.

Some of the foods have been in spotlight recently for having caused certain types of cancer.


Image: Non-vegetarian foods are high in protein
Photographs: Creative Commons
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5. High glycemic index foods

Foods such as rice/corn/watermelon/sugar/white bread/white pasta, etc are known as high glycemic index foods which when eaten cause rapid fluctuations in the sugar levels and also release insulin very fast.

These foods are known to store fat very fast and also will cause hunger pangs. Therefore a person should avoid these foods and instead have low glycemic index foods.


Image: High glycemic index foods are known to store fat very fast
Photographs: Ashlyak/Creative Commons
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6. Liquid diets for quick weight loss

Having liquid diets leads to side effects such as loss of lean body mass, dizziness, fatigue, hair loss, gall stones, cold intolerance, electrolyte imbalance and finally heart damage.

So think twice before trying any quick fixes for weight loss.


Image: Think twice before trying any quick fixes for weight loss

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7. Concentrated sugars

The American diet is infiltrated by sweets. Concentrated sugars including sucrose and high fructose corn syrup are likely to cause weight gain. Foods falling into this category include snack cakes, candies, juice drinks, and especially sugary sodas.

If the sugar content listed on a food label is less than 8 grams, or if the ingredients list contains "high fructose corn syrup," respect your waistline, and pass on it.


Image: sugars including sucrose and high fructose corn syrup are likely to cause weight gain
Photographs: Rama/Creative Commons
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8. Sweets

Sweets often also contain disease-driving saturated and trans fats.

Examples of foods with both concentrated sugars and unhealthy fats include doughnuts and other pastries, french fries, cookies, and crackers. The addition of fats to calorie-loaded sweets is a recipe for disastrous weight gain.


Image: The addition of fats to calorie-loaded sweets is a recipe for disastrous weight gain
Photographs: Ian Muttoo/Creative commons
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9. Processed and fast foods

Processed foods are a final category of food to avoid when watching the waistline. These foods contain refined grains, which are concentrated sugars, and highly saturated fats and trans fats.

Excellent examples include meat-containing breakfast sandwiches, deep-fried appetizers with dressings, batter-dipped selections, and all fried fast foods.


Image: Processed foods are a final category of food to avoid
Photographs: Jon Sullivan, PD Photo.org/Creative Commons
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10. Alcohol

Cut down on or try to stop drinking alcohol. Quick fact: alcohol is basically the refined juice of natural foods which makes it a drink of pure concentrated sugar that will make you gain fat easily.


Image: Cut down or stop drinking alcohol
Photographs: Creative Commons
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11. Refined processed carbohydrates

Refined processed carbohydrates are very bad for health; they can also slow down metabolism. When digested all carbohydrates turn into sugar, and sugar becomes fat.

Therefore, think of eating carbohydrates as eating sugar and think of eating refined processed carbohydrates as eating concentrated sugar.


Image: When digested all carbohydrates turn into sugar, and sugar becomes fat
Photographs: Kronn/Creative Commons
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12. Not more than 3 servings of fruit per day

As per a research having more than 2-3 servings of fruit per day can cause weight gain. This could be due to the high fructose content of some of the fruits which is then converted by the liver into fat and stored.

Image: As per a research having more than 2-3 servings of fruit per day can cause weight gain
Photographs: Katonams/CReative Commons
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13. Water retention foods

Foods high in their sodium content should be avoided as these increase the sodium levels in the body causing a bloating feeling and oedema of the feet and legs and also overall a fat look though only the water content of the body is increased.

Some foods high in sodium are tomato greens, spinach, celery leaves, pink beans, coriander leaves, mango, greens etc.


Image: Foods high in their sodium content should be avoided
Photographs: Heavybluesman/Creative commons
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14. Butter

Dairy foods like butter and cheese were linked with long-term weight gain - no surprise there. In the Harvard study, people who ate a lot of butter gained about 0.30 pound every four years.

But there was one notable dairy exception: yogurt. People who ate a lot of it were less likely to put on weight, the study showed.


Image: Dairy foods like butter and cheese were linked with long-term weight gain
Photographs: Cary Tilden /CReative commons
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15. Fruit juice

Sounds healthy, but 100-percent fruit juice packs its share of sugar. Drinking juice daily added 0.31 pound of extra body weight every four years, the study showed.


Image: Drinking juice daily added 0.31 pound of extra body weight every four years
Photographs: John Knox/Creative commons
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