On a little island half way in between Guam and the Philippines there is a rampant epidemic affecting the inhabitants. This tiny island of approximately 8,200 people is not afflicted with famine or a deadly disease as you might think when talking about an
epidemic... the islanders are dying at much earlier ages that at any other time in their history. They have alarmingly high rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Well, the people on this island used to make their living by farming, growing bananas and coconut and lots of fishing. They used to walk everywhere, eat fresh fruits
and vegetables and had lots of daily activity.
Now, with the introduction of "western culture" and the destruction of their normal behavior, the islanders now drive to their computer jobs in mostly cramped offices and eat a diet of highly processed "prepared" foods imported from the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
As you can see, exporting the "American diet" of quick and easy processed food and lack of activity has taken a healthy and active island population, and turned it into a
mini version of America, along with the associated rates of obesity and disease.
--It's What You Don't Eat
You see, when losing weight, we're not only talking about weight loss, we're also talking about better health. It's hard to lose weight without taking steps to increase your healthy habits... right?
One of the most important and effective ways to lose weight
and get healthier is to avoid two groups of foods.
Both of these foods have been directly linked to deteriorating health and specifically weight gain and obesity. The unhealthy ingredients in these foods have steadily (and secretly) been used in greater amounts over the last 20 years... and we haven't known it. More importantly, we haven't known the hidden dangers of eating them.
The first group of foods to avoid are those that contain
Also know as TFA's or Trans Fatty Acids, they are found in partially hydrogenated oils... manufactured and unhealthy fats. They are a silent killer hidden in our food, and have been directly linked to the skyrocketing rates of obesity in both adults and children worldwide.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest reports that banning trans fats from all foods would save at least 30,000 lives each year in the US alone. That's 82-274
needless deaths every day. The web site http://www.bantransfats.com shows an alarmingly clear statistical increase in obesity over the last 20 years as trans fats have become a growing part of our American diet.
The government has admitted that manufactured trans fats have no safe level for human consumption! That's zero. There is no safe level of consumption at all, but it's still in a large percentage of the products we eat every day.
In American, we spend 90% of our food budget on processed foods. The government reports that over 40% of foods found in an average grocery store contain trans fats. Most fast foods contain trans fats. Snacks, chips, candy bars, cookies, crackers, commercial baked goods, pastries and cakes... almost all processed foods contain trans fats.
In the example of the island population above, the effects of eating processed foods and lack of activity turned a healthy population into one with alarming rates of obesity
How can we avoid trans fats and their effects? What do we look out for?
1) Become a label reader.
Read the ingredient labels of foods you buy and look for "partially hydrogenated". If you see those words, avoid that food. Any food that contains "partially hydrogenated"
anything is unhealthy and will negatively affect your weight loss program.
Some common foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils are:
-commercially baked pastries
-most fast foods
Bottom line, you can't lose weight and regularly eat foods containing partially hydrogenated oils.
2) Ask questions.
When eating out, ask if the foods you are ordering contain "partially hydrogenated oil" or "trans fats".
3) Look for alternatives.
The good news is that because of more media exposure about the dangers of "trans fats", companies are starting to replace "partially hydrogenated oils" with alternative
ingredients and creating healthier versions of some of your favorite products.
Restaurants are starting to add more natural oils and are removing partially hydrogenated oils from their kitchens. Ask about it when eating out.
Try to get as many "whole" foods into your diet. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats and avoid processed, prepared and fast foods as much as possible.
Avoiding these hidden oils in the food you eat every day alone will make a significant impact on your health, and specifically in reaching your weight loss goals. Add a few lifestyle changes and imagine where you will be on your journey towards better health.