Today we have a guest post from my friend (and soon to be famous) fitness nutrition coach, Kardena Pauza (pic of her and I below). I had the chance to hang out with Kardena, who was awarded and crowned Ms. America Fitness 2006-2007 a few weeks ago while in Orange County, California.
With her permission, I asked if I could share a recent article of hers for you. I will have Kardena reply to any of your comments below so make sure you post your comments and questions.
4 Vegetarian Foods NOT To Eat On A Weight Loss Diet
By: Kardena Pauza, CPT (NASM), FNC (Fitness Nutrition Coach)
When most folks think of vegetarian foods, they think of naturally healthy meals and men and women with vibrant energy. But did you know that there are dozens of so-called “health foods” that vegetarians eat that are downright unhealthy – and can even cause you to gain fat fast?
I’ve been a vegetarian for 5 years now, and I learned a lot of lessons about these “healthy” foods the hard way – so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes I made.
Here’s my list of the first 5 vegetarian foods you MUST avoid if you want to lose fat, boost your energy, improve your complexion, and dramatically increase your health.
1. Junk Food Breakfast Cereals/ Granola
Your cereal could be making you FAT…. Since cereal products were introduced in 1867 they have become popular as the standard breakfast for most people. We love our cereal!
The problem is that cereals are not as wholesome as they once were. One major change in today’s cereal is the amount of sugar they put in the products. Most of the cereals on the market have high sugar content and also contain hydrogenated oil.
No amount of hydrogenated oil (trans fats) is healthy or ok to consume and we should definitely kick‘em to the curb. According to the FDA a person should have no more than 2 grams of trans fat per day but in my opinion these foreign oils should not be ingested whatsoever.
Many cereals are loaded with tons of sugar containing between 9-26 grams of sugar per serving, little to no protein, 1-3 grams of fiber and fat derived from hydrogenated oils. Basically, cereals don’t have enough healthy fiber, goods fats, or protein, and contain too much sugar, bad fats, and refined carbs.
Granola is one of the most popular cereal types but is dense in calories and coated in sugar to give it that scrumptious crunch. It seems like a “wholesome hippy” thing to eat, but believe me, I learned the hard way how damaging the sugar is in granola. I loved eating granola when I was a teenager and that’s when I gained weight!
Excess sugar can be quickly stored as fat right on your belly or thighs, and sugar is also very damaging to the liver, the skin, the joints and causes inflammation and many other complications in the body.
I recommend having no more than 6-9 grams of sugar in a sitting. You have to be careful because if the nutritional label says 6 grams/serving and you eat 1 ½ cups which may be 2 servings, oops, you just consumed 12-18 grams of sugar!
And wait, that doesn’t include the sugar in your milk. My clients and other guys I’ve talked to eat 2-3 bowls of cereal at one time! No wonder they have belly fat!
You must also watch out for hydrogenated oil in cereal: Hydrogenated oil & partially hydrogenated oil ARE “trans fats.” These fats get deposited as fat & toxins in our body and arteries.
Manufacturers use hydrogenated oil in their products so the cereal will last longer on the shelf. It’s used as a preservative to save companies money but it’s unhealthy for you. And here’s a shocking fact about trans-fats.
If a product has 0.49999 grams of trans-fat per serving they do not have to report it on the nutritional label but you will see it on the ingredient list. How sneaky!
You still need to watch out for it because the FDA has stated that consuming more than 2 grams per day of trans-fats is unhealthy. You can see how this would be easy to exceed once you start looking at all of the ingredients in your food can’t you?
Here are just a few of the many cereals to avoid:
• Granola, Honey Nut Cluster (17 grams sugar/1 cup)
• Kellogg’s Raisin bran (18 grams sugar/1 cup)
• Most children’s cereals (it’s like eating a chocolate bar, 24 grams sugar)
• Most crunch or cluster cereals
• Kashi Go Lean Crunch (Alternatively, Kashi Go Lean is a better choice!)
2. Cereal Bars/Glorified Pop Tarts & Energy Bars
Breakfast bars seem so innocent and cute but they could be making your body a fat making machine.
From my research on breakfast bars, there is not much good news to share about these glorified Pop Tarts we call a fast healthy option for breakfast.
Even a brand name with the word “thin” or “slim” is not to be trusted from name alone. Bars also tend to have more filler-ingredients which mean more non-nutritive calories because they need binders in the bar.
Here is a list of different bars that are marketed for different needs or situations: Slim Fast Bar, Balance Gold, Kashi Go Lean Chewy, Nutri Grain bars, Oatmeal Crisps. Most of these bars are contain processed carbohydrates, are high in unhealthy fats and/or high in sugar (and usually contain nasty high fructose corn syrup).
You have to look at more than the amount of calories in an item. What’s important is the quality AND the quantity (calories). The slim fast bar may be in your calorie range, but the quality of the ingredients is the worst of the worst.
How can corporations call a meal replacement bar a substitute for fresh produce, essential fats, and whole grains?They simply throw some cheap vitamins, a bit of protein powder & cheap sugar in a candy bar and call it a meal replacement – but give me a break!
The main ingredients of these bars are a little protein, high fructose corn syrup and a dash of the evil hydrogenated oils. Instead have some real food not synthesized protein, vitamins and minerals covered in chocolate or high-sugar yogurt coating.
But not all bars at health food stores are good, either! If you shop at the health food store like I do, you probably see or have bought bars like the Clif Bar, Power Bar, Luna Bar, or Balance Bar.
Clif Bars contain a high amount of sugar; it’s basically a compressed granola bar with sweet chunky treats like chocolate and fruit added. The first ingredient is rice syrup with 3-4 other sugars throughout the label and contains about 20 grams of sugar and 230 calories. That is too high for a snack.
Also, just because it is a natural sugar doesn’t mean it is OK for you to eat. The other bars are similar in make up just different packaging.
Bars to avoid:
• Balance Gold
• Kashi Go Lean Chewy Bar
• Slim Fast Optima Bar
• Kellog’s Nutri-Grain Bar
• General Mills Oatmeal Crisps
• All Granola Bars; Quaker, Sunrise, Nature Valley, Sunbelt, Bear Naked (organic but still need to watch out for some of the varieties)
• Clif Bar (better quality ingredients but still high in sugar)
• Balance Bar (contains 19 grams sugar alcohol that can mess with your digestive system)
3. Rice Cakes/ Crackers
The “snack” food industry (i.e. all refined flour treats from crackers, pretzels, rice cakes, etc.) has one goal in mind-to make money.
It’s not because they are looking out for your health or because these treats are healthy for you-quite the contrary, in fact. What makes them the most money? Taking cheap materials (refined flour) and glorifying it with marketing and packaging and marking up the price. I love going against the grain and not falling for their shenanigans.
Here’s a funny story, maybe some of you can relate to. My husband’s boss, like so many others, starts a new diet by running out and buying a few bags and flavors of rice cakes as their weight-loss savior.
Wouldn’t you know it, but the whole bag of rice cakes is gone within a couple of days and sometimes in a couple of hours. That’s a total of 600 calories! That’s like eating over 135 grams of carbs and sugar if you have the whole bag of Cinnamon Apple Rice Cakes (of course that’s if you eat them solo!). And this doesn’t include added toppings.
Also, even more importantly and often times overlooked, is that rice cakes compare directly on the Glycemic Index Food Chart to foods like waffles and doughnuts, wafer biscuits, corn chips, etc. They also rank higher than white bread and rolls-ouch!
This means rice cakes are digested and absorbed very quickly into your bloodstream rather than time released energy like whole grains.
Your body then quickly removes the excess toxic sugar from the blood stream, slamming your energy down and making you feel tired. Just amazing isn’t it? I should really tell my husband’s boss about those rice cakes!
4. Meal Replacement Drinks Full of Sugar
I’m going to pick on a couple popular products since they advertise the most to the general public-Slim Fast and Ensure. Let’s start with Slim Fast.
What do the Slim Fast ads say about losing weight? Drink 1 shake for breakfast and 1 for lunch and have a sensible dinner. Most of us have seen these commercials or ads and I automatically want to believe what they say. I have fallen for it before!
I have done some research to find out what’s so amazing about these shakes that’s helping people lose weight! The 6 main ingredients in a slim fast shake are milk, sugar, cocoa (more sugar), canola oil, fructose (more sugar), & hydrogenated soybean oil (trans fats & Genetically Modified).
One can of Slim Fast is 190 calories, 10 grams of protein, and 18 grams of sugar. Would you pay for milk with added sugar and added trans fats?
The sugar is absorbed very quickly into the bloodstream and this is what contributes to accelerated aging, weight gain, cellulite, hypoglycemia and ultimately diabetes. Fructose and especially high fructose corn syrup have been studied and found to be converted into fat more than any other sugar.
Another couple other well known and popular meal replacement drink are Ensure and Boost. These are those drinks your doctor would recommend you drink if you needed more nutrients in your diet.
Take a look at the main ingredients of Ensure and Boost (which are pretty much exactly the same as Slim Fast). The ingredients are: water, sugar (sucrose), corn syrup, maltodextrin (corn), calcium caseinate (milk derived), high-oleic safflower oil, canola oil, soy protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and corn oil.
Notice that sugar comes first before protein on some of the ingredient lists.
This isn’t what I would put in my protein shake if I made it at home.
Watch out for:
• Slim Fast
• Special K Protein Shake (18 grams sugar)
• Boost energy drink (high sugar, artificial flavor, sweeteners)
• Carnation Breakfast Drink
Tomorrow I will send you part two of this article with six more foods that you must not eat if you want to lose weight.
But before I post that, I want at least 60 comments on other foods that you should be avoided if you want to lose weight. It’s okay if you repeat the same answer as someone else.
Vince Del Monte
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