10 Foods and Drinks That Are Messing With Your Metabolism (And Making Those Beautiful Muffin Tops)
New year, new you. Or at least, that’s what you’re hoping for when you drum up your resolutions. One of them is likely to lose weight. (Hey, no shame. We blame quarantine.) To that end, you might have decided to hit the ground running, bike more, or lift weights. But no matter how hard you sweat, if your diet is suboptimal, you won’t drop those pounds. (Weight loss is, after all, about calories consumed versus calories burned.) Even worse, if you eat the wrong foods, your metabolism (aka your body’s incinerator) will get wrecked, rendering your efforts useless.
That’s why we’re here – to shine a light on the dark underbelly of eating and expose the foods that are holding you back from your beach bod. Cut these edible devils out of your diet and you’ll start reaping the benefits of a well-tuned metabolism immediately. (Dad bod is so 2015.) These are the 10 foods that are messing with your metabolism (and making those beautiful muffin tops).
Cover Photo: Jonathan Knowles (Getty Images)
This one food is in a plethora of your favorites, including pizza dough, pasta, white bread, and baked goods. Why is the white stuff so evil? Because it’s a simple carb, which means your body doesn’t have to work as hard to break it down. It also spikes your blood sugar, stimulating fat storage. Go for whole grains, which take longer to digest.
Who doesn’t love a juicy burger or bloody hunk of steak? Your metabolism doesn’t. Why? Because you are what you meat, and your beef is probably coming from cows shot up with antibiotics, which can damage your good gut bacteria. Opt for grass-fed beef instead.
You may think you’re doing yourself a favor by eating Lean Cuisine instead of fast food for dinner, but the health halo of frozen meals is an illusion. To make that food edible – and keep it frozen – companies use all sorts of fillers, from extra sugar, sodium, and trans fat in the food itself to BPA in the plastic packaging, all of which bring your metabolism to a standstill over time. Eat fresh, not frozen, food.
Most fried foods take a long, hot bath in partially hydrogenated oils, which contain high levels of trans fat. Translation: they seriously slow down your metabolism. Studies have shown a link between fried food consumption and abdominal obesity and weight gain. Ditch the fried stuff and man the grill instead.
Granola bars (and the granola they’re made with) often seem healthy on first glance – it’s just oats and nuts and fruit, right? Well, yes, but to bind all those ingredients together (and make them taste good), you need a lot of high fructose corn syrup and sugar. Even natural and organic bars often contain obscene amounts of “natural” sweeteners – which are a death trap for your metabolism. Stick to low-sugar protein bars or a handful of nuts of dried fruit.
Fruits and veggies are fantastic for your health – but not if they’re covered in pesticides. Conventional produce is sprayed with chemicals like organochlorines, which has been show to slow metabolism and make dropping pounds more difficult. If you can afford it, splurge on organic, especially when it comes to the “dirty dozen” (strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, and potatoes).
This chunky, flavorful condiment lacks iodine, which helps regulate metabolism. Stick to table salt instead.
That morning glass of OJ isn’t doing you any favors. Fruit juice packs a shocking amount of sugar, which sends your blood glucose levels skyrocketing. Grab whole fruit instead; it contains fiber, which keeps you fuller longer.
Carbonated, sugary beverages are a diet disaster, mostly due to the high fructose corn syrup content, which is linked to metabolic disorders. Try unsweetened tea, chug black coffee, or sip on water infused with cucumber or lemon instead.
Beer bellies got their name for a reason. But it isn’t just brewski ruining your waistline. For men, more than two drinks a day can be the difference between fat and thin. That’s because downing booze lowers your body's ability to burn fat by 73 percent! Switch to non-alcoholic beverages, or better yet, cut out anything beyond water, tea, and coffee.
Visit the Mandatory Shop for great deals on your very own Mandatory merch.