We all know eating a healthy diet can dramatically improve our metabolic health. Nutrient-dense whole foods can restore our body’s energy reserves, allowing us to fight infection, regulate hormones, and stimulate bone and muscle growth – all while reducing annoying belly fat.
By eating metabolically-healthy meals, we give our bodies the nutrients we need to be our best selves.
But do you ever try and try to follow a healthy diet, yet don’t notice any changes? You’re not alone. Sometimes foods we don’t even consider unhealthy foods can negatively impact our bodies!
Certain foods even jeopardize our metabolic health, leading not only to stubborn belly fat, but also to higher blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Some even have chemical additives, preservatives, and sugars that can lead to whole-body inflammation.
The best thing to do – as you’ll soon learn– is to avoid these 5 types of food in their entirety.
Now, I’m not saying you can never have a frozen meal or a small dessert ever again! But what is essential is giving our body a detox from foods like this. And detoxes can be way easier than you think.
To simplify your diet and reduce some of the most harmful foods like those listed below, try my FREE 14-day detox program. Even just 2 weeks of your life can massively turn around your metabolic health.
Now, let’s dive into the 5 worst foods that cause stubborn belly fat, and worsen your metabolic health. And again– you won’t find any of these in my detox program!
5 Worst Foods for Metabolic Health + Belly Fat
It may be no surprise that sugar comes in at the top of this list. We all know that sugar in excess can negatively affect us in a multitude of ways. Studies show that the consumption of added, or even naturally-occurring sugars increase inflammatory markers in the body, which can be a precursor of chronic disease.¹ Even sugars we consider “healthier” like honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar still affect us in the same way. It’s essential we pay attention to all forms of sugar we put into our bodies.
On average, the US population still consumes more than 300% of the recommended daily limit of added sugar. ² 300%! A number like this is unbelievable. And it’s something that needs to be addressed.
A diet high in sugar can lead to obesity, prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and more. The most common sources of added sugars in an American Diet are sweetened drinks like sports beverages, coffee and teas, desserts, sweet snack foods, and candy.³
However– sugar is also in many foods you may not often think of, like:
- Salad dressing
- Energy bars
Limiting consumption of sugar overall, but especially avoiding added sugars, is essential to improve your long-term health, beat the bloat, and rid your body of belly fat.
Best ways to avoid sugars: Check your labels! Eat foods with five ingredients or less. Better yet, eat foods that don’t even need a label to begin with.
#2 Wheat Flours
Wheat Flours are easily digestible carbohydrates. They lack the fiber, fat, and other nutrients that commonly occur naturally in whole grains. Whole wheat flour– like several other flours– has a high glycemic index (GI), a measure of how quickly and how much a food raises your blood sugar.
A study from 2021 found that foods with a high GI, like whole wheat flour, increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. ⁴
Best ways to avoid wheat flour: Substitute wheat flour in recipes for other flours that are lower in carbs and have a less pronounced effect on blood sugar levels.
Some examples of these alternatives are:
- Almond flour
- Hazelnut flour
- Coconut Flour
- Chickpea Flour
Another way to limit wheat flour intake is to check your labels! Limit packaged snacks or breads that have wheat flour as the main ingredient.
#3 Ultra-Processed Foods
Processed foods of course can have a poor impact on our bodies. We know that natural foods are a much better choice. But, so often packaged foods and frozen meals feel like the easiest option. We need to be more proactive about checking the facts on several grocery store items.
That being said, OVER 70% of foods sold in U.S. grocery stores are considered ultra-processed. ⁵
These ultra-processed foods often:
- Have few whole-food ingredients
- Have little nutritional value
- Are full of fat, sugar, and sodium
- Can have other additives and preservatives to enhance flavor or extend shelf life.
Especially dangerous foods are hot dogs, deli meats, and bacon.
These processed foods also may contain trans fats that are made in manufacturing. Trans fats are dangerous to our bodies and can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancers.
Best ways to avoid ultra-processed foods: Eat whole foods! Choose natural or minimally processed items when grocery shopping.
Make sure to pick foods with:
- No added sugar
- No trans fat
- Less than 600 mg of sodium
- Lots of vegetables
#4 Vegetable Oils and Refined Seed Oils
Several refined vegetable and seed oils are high in Omega-6 fats. And an omega-6 fatty acid that is the most questionable is called linoleic acid. ⁶
Some evidence has shown that linolic acid can⁷:
- Lead to insulin resistance
- Increase inflammation
- Elevate risk of cardiovascular disease
- Stimulate appetite
- Potentially lead to obesity and diabetes
Oils with more than 20% of this linoleic acid include safflower, grapeseed, sunflower, corn, cottonseed, soybean, walnut, sesame, rice bran, peanut, and canola oils.
Best ways to avoid these kinds of oils: Do just that! Avoid buying and consuming these oils. And again– check the labels of your packaged foods to make sure they don’t contain the oils listed above!
#5 Fast Food
No shocker here! Fast foods are ultra-processed and loaded with flours, fats, salts, and hidden sugars. You get a dose of added sugars with every bite of a fast food menu item. Research has shown when a population increases the amount of fast food in their diets, diabetes rates skyrocket. ⁸
Ingredients used to make cheap fast food are rarely sourced from organic, sustainable, or ethical farming practices. So they can lead to damaging implications for your health. Not to mention, they’re a major culprit for stubborn belly fat.
Best ways to avoid fast food: pack healthy snacks from home when traveling. Or look up healthy and quick recipes to make at home!
The Bottom Line
We KNOW these foods are bad for us. And though this list may have been no surprise to you, hopefully being aware of the research backing each one sticks with you next time you’re buying groceries.
It can be hard to remove these 5 items from your diet. But trust me, you will feel the difference if you do. Next time you reach for a processed and packaged dinner, or you want to pull through the drive-through, remember how poorly these decisions can affect you over time.
And think about the life-changing way you’ll feel without these 5 types of food in your day-to-day life.
Without these, you can experience:
- Reduced inflammation
- A healthy liver and gut
- Decreased stubborn belly fat
- Weight loss
- A healthy and detoxed body
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