There are some things that you should just avoid when trying to lose fat. Wheat is one, but that applies to every goal really. Wheat is bad for your health, not just fat loss. Alcohol is another. Alcohol is basically a toxic sugar, so consuming it makes no sense when trying to lose fat. I advocate tee-total periods when trying to hit fat loss goals as fast as possible, but would never expect anyone (nor myself) to give up from booze altogether. I’ll save wheat and alcohol for another day perhaps, because in this piece I want to cover some research I recently read which can be found here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/20029382/
Some researchers looked at the effects of over eating in rats. They set up three groups. Group 1 had access to standard rat food, plus as much high fat food as they wanted. Group 2 had the same amount of rat food plus as much high sugar food as they wanted. Group 3 had the same amount of rat food again plus as much of a combined high fat and sugar food as they wanted. This combination is the important bit.
All three groups over ate and gained weight from the excess in calories. Groups 1 and 2 however soon started to self regulate in response to their weight gain and lowered their calorie intake by shutting off their hunger at a hormonal level. It should be noted that this reduction in calories has NOTHING to do with will power. The rats did not see themselves in the mirror and think “Oh gosh! How will I fit into my Christmas frock, I had best cut back at meal times!” Their bodies responded at a hormonal level and made them less hungry (the hormones responsible for hunger and satiety are grehlin and leptin). Group 3 ate themselves into oblivion. Nothing could stop them. They never felt full and I like to think that they are still eating right now and will soon be featured on Channel 5 in a new series called ‘My 20 Stone Rat’.
What this means is that the combination of fat with sugar disrupted the body’s ability to respond to our appetite hormones. Even if the body is desperately saying it’s had enough, the mechanisms by which the appetite is shut down fail to work. Fat + sugar is like an appetite driving drug, driving us (at a biological level) to keep on eating as we never feel full and keep feeling hungry. Yes, with enormous will power, someone could try and resist these urges (and they do, diets normally start off OK). But to continue resisting these urges (a lot of diets force you to use will power alone) is nigh on impossible. The body has these hormones in place to keep us alive. Resisting hunger is like resisting going to the toilet, or resisting sleeping. It’s madness and works against our bodies’ natural rhythms.
Food manufactuers know this. They know that the combination of high fat and high sugar/starch keeps people eating, and keeps the money rolling in. Hidden fats and sugars in foods give them an addictive quality. One well known crisp has the slogan “Once you pop, you can’t stop!“.
This is literally the truth! Just another of the billion reasons to avoid processed food!
If you are aiming to lose fat, you MUST avoid high fat, high sugar/starch foods. These foods will not only deliver you a ton of calories (through high levels of fat), they’ll also tell your body to store those calories as fat (due to the insulin response to the sugar). Then, to top it all off, they block the signal that tells you you’ve had your fill. Consuming these foods when aiming to lose fat is metabolic suicide! Avoid!
High fat high sugar/starch foods:
All fast food
Most processed food
Even things like full fat milk and yoghurt may fall into this category, although at a smaller scale.