The main causes of obesity have to do with an unhealthy lifestyle and high calorie intake. While the lifestyle changes may take weeks or even months to incorporate, you can make changes to your diet from day one itself if you know which food causes obesity. Avoiding or cutting down on certain food items can make a world of difference to your weight loss efforts. But first let’s briefly tackle an important question about food that causes obesity.
Can Food Cause Obesity?
Obviously it is food that causes obesity. But that’s not what we mean by that question. The idea that food causes obesity is a little twisted and bent out of proportion today. There are many myths surrounding the foods that cause obesity, many foods are slammed for being bad for you and completely banned from diets, and many people go to extremes and completely cut out on a lot of food items from their diets in the misguided belief that it causes obesity. These misconceptions are further fed each day as frequent studies reveal conflicting information about the same food items.
First off, there’s no such thing as a “bad” food item. Our bodies need whole, natural foods from all the food categories. From carbs to fats, veggies to meat, grains to greens – our body needs it all. You can and should be eating a variety of foods each day from all food groups for optimal functioning of your body. Even when trying to lose weight, there is no need to fully exclude anything from your diet. However, the proportion or frequency with which you can eat or drink a certain food item may have to be minimized due to its high calorie content.
Plus, there are several other obesity causes apart from food that have a much greater impact on our weight. So it is not really fair to blame food that causes obesity alone. Read up on some other obesity causes to get a broader view of the whole picture.
That being said, there are certain foods that exist in our modern culture that just do nothing for you apart from cause obesity because these foods are refined and processed and have zero or negligible nutritional value. They are also very high in calories and yet highly unsatisfying, which means you end up eating or drinking more of the same, taking in far more calories than you will burn with your level of activity, which is one of the major obesity causes. And although there is plenty of conflicting information on foods that cause obesity, there is a general consensus that there are indeed some foods that really do contribute to ever-expanding waistlines. So let’s take a look at what all the warring food researchers do agree on. Here’s a short life of food that causes obesity that you should cut out on completely if possible.
Food That Causes Obesity #1 – Sugar
Sugar may just be the number one food that causes obesity. Now we are not talking about the natural sugar that’s in all fruits, dried fruits and veggies. We’re talking about refined sugar and other forms of sugar such as fructose corn syrup – a highly toxic, addictive, zero-nutrition ingredient that is used in a lot of packaged and processed foods. Check that ingredient list the next time you buy packaged food. Just because it’s ‘corn’ does not make it a healthier form of sugar. Sugar in the form of fructose is actually the main source of excess calories in the developed nations of the world, which indirectly makes it one of the main food items that causes obesity.
One of those foods that is simply useless, sugar is an addictive and toxic food item that not only causes obesity but is responsible for various other health problems. Here’s the scary bit. There is a huge body of research that says sugar can literally get right into your cells and chemically alter your metabolism, making it sluggish to the point of slothful. And that is what puts it on the top of the list of foods that cause obesity in our book.
Think you have your sugar intake under control? Think again. Some of the most common foods that we take for granted and eat almost every day have sugar in them in quantities that would make a nutritionist cringe in disgust.
- Breakfast Cereals – A majority of the global population start their day with a bowl of corn flakes or wheat flakes or some kind of breakfast cereal. But these cereals are full of sugar to make them tastier and more appealing to children, who are the major demographic that breakfast cereal companies target with their advertising. Since kids largely influence the grocery list in most households today, you are very likely to keep on buying these high sugar breakfast cereals that cause obesity.
- Sodas – The bane of modern culture and probably one of the main obesity causes in children, sodas are very high in sugar and have somehow replaced water. Most people will not drink two glasses of water a day, but they can’t do without their sodas. Anyone else seeing the addiction here?
- Tea and Coffee – Just because it’s one or two spoons ‘only’ does not make it OK. It adds up. How many people actually drink just one cup of coffee or tea a day? Those multiple cups of tea or coffee with sugar add up to a whole bunch of empty calories that cause obesity. Do you like to sip your coffee at one of the fancy coffee shops in your neighborhood? The cold coffees and sinfully tasty hot coffee creations in these places have loads of sugar that most folks do not think twice about. You call it a treat; we call in a food that causes obesity that the world is blind to.
Food That Causes Obesity #2 – Processed Food
There’s a simple way of identifying processed food items. One main indicator is that they are packaged. The second is that the food looks unnatural i.e. it looks nothing like the natural foods that it was purported to have been made from. So when you look at a packaged food item that has the word “natural” or “wholesome” on it but the food inside looks nothing like any natural food you have ever seen, put it back on the shelf and walk away. Processed foods may be convenient, but they are one of the worst inventions of the modern world. High in calories with god alone knows what kind of ingredients in them, processed foods are very low in nutrition and can greatly hamper your weight loss efforts.
Food That Causes Obesity #3 – Alcohol
There is no point to alcohol. It has no place in a balanced diet. Except for wine, all other kinds of alcohol do nothing but give you a bit of a high. Alcohol is high in calories, obviously addictive, and it can make some people overeat. Alcohol also makes your liver and other organs sluggish, which is what makes it one of the foods that cause obesity.
Food That Causes Obesity #4 – Bakery Products
Cakes, biscuits, doughnuts, croissants – you might want to spruce up your tea time with yummy treats from your favorite bakery. But you are only taking the short cut to obesity. Bakery foods are high in calories and sugar, they have no nutritional value, they are addictive, and they are not even filling so you want to eat more. Having a pastry once in awhile is not a problem; perhaps once a month or so. But making bakery products a regular part of your life is the biggest diet mistake you can make. Bakery goods are definitely one of those foods that cause obesity.
Food That Causes Obesity #5 – Processed Snacks
Chips, cheese balls, other crispy snack items that are salty, zesty, or sweet – all those little packages that we love to gorge on when the munchies hit are one of the major causes of obesity. There’s a reason they are called junk food. Want a healthy snack? Eat an apple. Or make your own sandwich with fresh ingredients and whole wheat or multi-grain bread.
Food That Causes Obesity #6 – French Fries
Potatoes are not bad for you. If they are baked or boiled. But french fries, especially of the fast food variety, completely destroy any nutrition in potatoes and instead turn them into globs of zero-value rubbish that will go straight to your thighs. And since a lot of fast food and junk food comes packaged with french fries, it gets very hard to avoid them if you do happen to eat out a lot. French fries, as any one who has eaten them can verify, are highly addictive, full of salt, and deep fried for far too long in oil that has been used again and again.
Myths About Food That Causes Obesity
Here is where we tackle a short list of some food items that most people think cause obesity. Following are the foods that are falsely maligned for obesity causes, but which are actually quite good for you in moderation.
Going on a diet does not have to mean cutting out on oil completely. The body needs good fats to function. And all types of oil are good for you provided they are used minimally i.e. about two teaspoons a day. Olive oil is purported to be the healthiest oil in the world. But it won’t make a difference to your diet or your health if you otherwise have an unhealthy lifestyle. The key is always moderation and balance in everything. It does not matter what oil you use as long as you use just a little. However, use fresh oil each time you cook. Cooking in oil that has been cooked in before is toxic sludge that you really should not be putting into your body.
Nuts and Seeds
Although nuts and seeds are known to be super-foods, many people will shun this whole incredible food group because nuts and seeds are known to be high in fat and calories. While this is true, you have to consider the health benefits of eating nuts and seeds on a daily basis and the long-term advantages of including them in your diet. The health benefits of nuts and seeds are simply mind-blowing. Although tiny, nuts and seeds pack quite a nutritious punch, putting most other food groups to shame. Plus, research has shown that those who eat nuts and seeds on a regular basis will be less likely to regain the weight that they lose. This may have something to do with the fact that nuts and seeds make you feel satiated which means you will not snack unnecessarily, and since they are high in nutrition your body will function properly and you will not experience cravings and cause you to binge.
Many vegetarians feel that they are in better health because of their diet choice. And that meat is one of the food items that causes obesity. This is simply not true. Plenty of vegetarians suffer from obesity too. And although it is true that a vegetarian diet is healthier, there are plenty of facts to support the nutritional value of a non-vegetarian diet as well. If you eat lean meats like chicken, turkey, fish or mutton and pork stripped of its fat – again in moderate proportions – it is not going to cause obesity. Red meat can be one of the food items that causes obesity if it is consumed too often and if no efforts are otherwise taken to balance the negative effects.
We all know the diet drill with eggs – use egg whites, discard the yolks because it’s fatty and will cause heart disease. But there is nothing wrong with egg yolks. They will not cause obesity. In fact, egg yolks are simply bursting with nutrition and eggs make great appetizer, meal or snack. So boiled, scrambled or sunny side up, don’t bother separating that yolk.
If we continue to live by these myths of food items that cause obesity, we’ll be unhappy, unhealthy and irritable because we are not giving our bodies the nutrition they need to function properly. But keep in mind that apart from the food that you eat, there are several other obesity causes such as lack of sleep and exercise, unhealthy lifestyles and stress. Changing these factors should be an integral part of your plan if you are concerned with losing weight. And as for the food that causes obesity, it has more to do with the quality and proportion of food that you eat rather than banning whole food groups from your diet, which is unrealistic and will not work in the long run. Just limit your intake of food that causes obesity, learn how to listen to your body so you know when your stomach is full, and eat sensible proportions from all food categories.