'Instead of fearing these foods, which never helps because it only increases cortisol levels, exercise control over your mouth, greed, portions and adopt an overall healthy lifestyle,' advises lifestyle coach Luke Coutinho.
When it comes to losing weight in a healthy way, which means that the weight loss is realistic, sustainable, doesn't cripple your metabolism, skin and hair health, immunity, hormones etc, an extreme approach or path does not work.
From our experience in handling thousands and thousands of clients who have been successfully able to lose weight and keep it off, we have learnt that no food is bad.
One cannot blame sugar or processed foods for putting on weight. It is the person consuming it, how much of it is consumed, overall lifestyle, etc.
Food cannot be blamed for what wrong lifestyle causes.
Each of us have grown up eating one, two or all of the foods listed below or have eaten it at some point in our life, and if it was so harmful, then all of us should end up being obese!
Having said that, yes, these foods aren't the best for your weight loss goal, especially if you are already overweight.
Hence it is best to eliminate them and find healthier substitutes or just eat them once in a while, in moderation.
This tops the list, because it is present is in almost every single packaged food.
The problem actually is not with sugar, because most of us have had it either in tea, coffee, biscuit or dessert, it is the over consumption of sugar.
And be careful! Sugar has close to 43 disguises.
So even if you are looking for sugar in the ingredient label, be aware that it could be present in some other form too.
Alternatives? Raw honey, dates, fresh fruits, dried fruits, jaggery.
2. Sugar free foods
If sugary foods are harmful, sugar-free isn't necessarily healthy.
Most products that claim to be sugar free actually contain an artificial sweetener, which is even more harmful than sugar.
So, this includes all the so called 'diet' drinks, zero sugar foods, the tiny sweetener sachets found in coffee shops.
Truly speaking, we are better off eating a little bit of sugar than its artificial counterpart.
3. High Fructose Corn Syrup
HFCS is another sugar disguise, but this needs a special call out because it lurks in most processed foods, right from kids' favourite ketchup to dressings and beverages.
A cheap sweetener, it is scientifically connected with not just obesity and abdominal fat, but cancers (mainly colorectal, pancreatic, breast, brain), fatty liver, liver and heart diseases, poor gut health, acne, hormonal imbalances and inflammation, which is the root cause of every disease.
4. Refined oils
A lot of us settle for cheap and refined oils to save money, but end up creating more damage to our health and pave way for inflammatory diseases in the body, which can absolutely be prevented.
Refined oils work like slow poison for our body.
It may not affect our body now, but has an affect over time.
So, what do we use? Our first preference while buying oils should be organic, virgin and cold pressed or wood churned oil, as a thumb rule.
5. Refined flours
The name is self-explanatory. Refined means stripped of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
When you read labels, you will realise that refined flour is present right from cookies, to breads, restaurant food like flatbreads/chapatis, etc.
Refined flour does not fill you up and instead makes you feel hungrier, leading to overeating and an obvious increase in weight.
6. Processed meats
Pumped with excess sodium, nitrates and scientifically proven carcinogenic chemicals, frozen and processed meats are another food that is best when avoided.
Not only the excess of it could pile on weight, but also lead to cancer, hypertension, dyslipidaemia and excessive water retention, because of sodium in it.
Choose fresh, organic, hormone free meat instead, if you are a non-vegetarian and cook it the right way.
7. Fruit juices
Fruits are healthy, but fruit juices, no!
Fruit juices are stripped of fibre and nutrients, especially when not cold-pressed and all you get is a glass of sugary fruit flavoured drink.
This is a fructose overload for our liver, and can mess up sugar levels, create gout issues and even high triglycerides.
Eat whole, fresh, local fruits instead, and it will support your weight loss goals in a big way.
8. Microwaved popcorn
It's all about how you make it. Popped corns from organic kernels are a healthy snack, but microwaved popcorn, not so much.
In fact, microwaved popcorn, is the worst thing that you would want to give your child after aerated drinks and commercially prepared French fries because the microwave bags which you put into the microwave contains something called PFOA, which is a chemical known to have a direct correlation with hyperactivity in children, low birth rate, thyroid dysfunction, metabolic syndrome, etc.
Additionally, the popcorn get flavour from pseudo-butter, which is not real butter and contains a chemical called 'diacetyl', which has a direct correlation with breathing and lung problems in children and in adults.
Another issue with microwave popcorn is the trans fats, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat, which is tightly linked with obesity, artery blockages, inflammation, etc.
9. White breads and baked foods
Again, it is the overconsumption of these foods that could be a problem.
White breads and baked foods are mostly made up of refined flour or maida, that can mess up your sugar levels, hormones, inflammation, mood, gut health, dental health, skin and fasten up ageing.
The so called 'brown bread', isn't any better. So, choose wisely!
10. Fat free food
Do you think 'fat free' or 'low fat' food is healthy?
Think again! Fat has flavour, and when it's sucked out of a product, companies pump it up with sugar, salt and other artificial flavours to make up for the lost taste.
We need fat for our bodily functions, so don’t fear it. Fear the wrong quality ones.
With that said, does this mean, if you eat these foods, you will pile on weight?
Maybe, but only if you do it in excess, with greed, glutton, sedentary lifestyle and emotional eating.
So instead of fearing these foods, which never helps because it only increases cortisol levels, exercise control over your mouth, greed, portions and adopt an overall healthy lifestyle.
Luke Coutinho is a holistic lifestyle coach and expert at integrative medicine. He is the author of The Magic Immunity Pill Lifestyle along with Shilpa Shetty and A New Way of Living.