Scott Markey | Fitness
This month I want to address two of the biggest diet killers out there. These are two ingredients that will sneak up on you and rob you of some – if not all – of the progress you have made on your diet and workouts: high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and trans fats. These are two things you may not know you are taking in too much of and should not be.
HFCS is a man-made sweetener that’s cheaper and sweeter than sugar. Food manufacturers love it because it enhances their profits, so they add it into an unbelievable amount of foods. We are talking about a processed sweetener that didn’t even exist in the food chain until the 1970s. And HFCS is really, really, bad for you! That is because although it is packed with calories, your body doesn’t recognize them. In fact, HFCS shuts off your body’s natural appetite control switches, so you can eat and eat and eat, far beyond what your body would normally be able to handle.
The problem with HFCS is not so much the corn syrup – it’s the fructose – a sugar that occurs naturally in fruit and honey. Corn syrup is primarily made up of glucose, which can be burned as an immediate energy, stored in your liver or muscles for later use, or as a last resort, turned to fat. But corn syrup isn’t as sweet as other sugars, which is why HFCS became so popular. It’s cheap and doubly sweet. Unlike glucose, your body doesn’t use fructose as an immediate source of energy it metabolizes it into fat.
Now getting back to what we know about carbohydrates. When you eat any carbohydrate – whether it contains glucose or starch – your body releases insulin to regulate your body weight. First, it tries to push the carbs into your muscle cells to be used as energy and facilitates carb storage in the liver for later use. Then it suppresses your appetite, telling your body that you’ve had enough. Now there are many foods and drinks loaded with HFCS, but too many to list here. Just check your labels on what you might eat and drink. You can also e-mail me and I will send you a quick chart of foods and drinks that are high in HFCS or fructose, and what you should be eating instead.
Trans fats are equally bad for you. They are simply vegetable oil infused with hydrogen. Trans fats are difficult to digest, so they increase the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood and can dramatically boost your risk of heart disease, weaken your immune system, and even cause diabetes.
Since trans fats do not exist in nature, your body has a much harder time processing it than it does other types of fats. In the end, trans fats increase your bad cholesterol and lower your good cholesterol.
So the next time you go shopping for your food, try to eliminate or reduce both the HFCS and the trans fats in the items you choose. Not just for fitness, but for your overall health.
You will feel better, have better workouts, lower your blood pressure, have less chance of adult-onset (Type 2) diabetes, and as I mentioned above, you will help lower your bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol.
I want to thank everyone for all the emails and interest in my health and fitness columns. I love that I have helped so many of you and will continue to provide the most informative information that I can. “Stay Healthy.”
Scott Markey has over 25 years in the Fitness and Health industry. He has graced dozens of magazines covers and specializes in physique management, training, and nutritional consultation. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at email@example.com.