We've been taught to think that some people are gifted with a quick metabolism while the rest of us have to struggle. And there's nothing we can do about it, right? Not quite.
While the prevailing wisdom that metabolism is something you're born with still circulates widely, there are actually some foods that may be doing more than their fair share to tank your metabolism. Even 'bad genes' are no excuse.
As it turns out, some of the biggest culprits behind your body's slow rate of turning food into energy may be foods you thought to be healthy! Some diet-friendly foods you may be noshing on can actually be full of bad ingredients that slow the metabolism and prevent weight loss.
If you're trying to lose weight, check out this list of 10 foods you should be avoiding to reap the true benefits of nutritious meals and give your metabolism a boost.
Soda is a prime culprit for introducing high-fructose corn syrup into your diet. This ingredient is a sweetening agent that, compared to consuming an equal quantity of sugars, can have more damaging effects on the metabolism.
In fact, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition linked high-fructose corn syrup to obesity because of its pronounced effect on the metabolism.
White sandwich bread:
White bread is a refined grain and simple carbohydrate. Carbs often get a bad reputation, but it's only these simple carbohydrates that can spike your blood sugar, leading to more sugar to be stored as fat, and you'll become hungry faster.
Instead of using white bread or highly refined grains, opt for whole grains (a complex carbohydrate) to hold your sandwiches together or use lettuce as a low-carb option!
Loaded with antibiotics, conventionally farmed beef is a no-no for many reasons. Among them is its effect on your metabolism.
Conventionally-farmed cows are pumped full of antibiotics to keep care costs lower, which can then be passed along via the meat to human consumers, exposing us to a low-level of antibiotics year after year. In addition to making us resistant to the antibiotics we might need to receive if we fall sick, this constant exposure also hurts the delicate gut bacteria we need to process our food. This, in turn, can lead to slowed metabolism.
Unless you're juicing at home or looking for high-quality organic cold-pressed options from a local source, chances are the fruit juices you're drinking are loaded with sugars, artificial colors and flavors and other questionable ingredients (in some cases, more than even sodas).
Be sure to read the ingredient list carefully and seek out responsible alternatives to that brightly-colored juice in your nearest big box store.
For the same reason that white sandwich bread makes the list, so does any other items made with white flour—and that includes typical pastas.
Because white flour is stripped of antioxidants and fiber, it "is incredibly low in nutrient quality," as Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN, CPT, told Prevention. To keep your metabolism working efficiently, seek out healthy swaps like whole-wheat pasta so your body has to burn more calories to process it.
By that same token, white rice is another refined grain that may be to blame for slowing down your metabolism. Opt instead for grains that still have their complex carbohydrates intact. For example, order your sushi rolls with brown rice and switch out your pantry stock for something that will take your body a bit more time to process.
Vegetable oils and hydrogenated fats seem to be everywhere these days—and the ones hiding in your diet may be the culprits of your slowed metabolism.
Both of these are "high sources of omega-6, which are pro-inflammatory, and the consumption of these are correlated with obesity," as Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, told Prevention. Not only are these associated with weight gain, but they also can lead to insulin resistance, which leads the body to convert many carbohydrates into fat.
Artificial sweeteners may seem like a healthy replacement for sugar, but it turns out their promises are too good to be true. According to the American Diabetes Association, daily consumption of artificial sweeteners like those found in diet sodas can be linked to larger waistlines and a significantly increased risk of Type 2 diabetes—neither of which is good news.
Skip the artificial sweeteners and try natural replacements like Stevia or honey. Just be sure to read the labels and make sure there's nothing else hiding in there.
Most conventionally-farmed corn has been stripped of many of its vitamins and minerals, according to PeerTrainer, so you should be sure to seek out organically farmed corn whenever possible.
Nonetheless, regardless of the method in which it was farmed, corn is very high glycemic—meaning it spikes your blood sugar and can seriously disrupt your metabolism.
Any "diet" food:
Remember what we said about artificial sweeteners? It turns out that most so-called "diet" foods make use of these not-so-healthy substitutes in order to say they're sugar-free or low-calorie. The result? Diet foods that don't do much to help your diet.
Instead, allow yourself to indulge in the "original" version of these foods infrequently as a special treat. It'll end up doing more to help your diet in the long run.