What do “Iron” Mike Tyson, The Terminator, The Rock and hamburgers all have in common? (Okay, they’re big and beefy, but what else?) They’re all former villains who’ve turned into good guys.
See, sometimes characters we think of as irredeemably “bad” just need a chance—some reprogramming, some recasting, maybe one of those Maori face tattoos. And in the case of the humble hamburger, updated science researched for our Eat This, Not That! 2015 book tells us that this once “bad” food might actually be one of your best friends when it comes to weight loss. In fact, the world is filled with “bad for you” foods that can actually boost your health and help you lose weight immediately, if you just give them a chance.
So learn the truth about some of these misunderstood foods with this definitive Eat This, Not That! list—and lose your belly guilt-free, starting today!
Fat-Blasting “Bad” Food #6
“Cut back on booze” is usually directive #1 when it comes to losing weight, but if your drink of choice is red wine, maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to restuff the cork. Purdue University researchers discovered that this shade of wine contains a compound called piceatannol that binds to fat cells’ insulin receptors and prevents them from maturing and growing. In short, the booze helps block the growth of new fat cells—enjoy one drink a day if you’re a woman; two if you’re a man. And that’s not the only weight loss elixir out there: Drop two sizes with these 4 Teas That Melt Fat Fast.
Fat-Blasting “Bad” Food #5
White potatoes are one “common tater” that have been blacklisted unfairly. After taking a second look into the science, you’ll see there’s no need to be scared of the spuds—they’re actually powerful hunger tamers that can play a substantial role in a smart weight-loss plan. In an Australian study that measured the satiating index of 38 popular foods, researchers discovered that potatoes were more filling and satisfying than traditionally “healthy” carbs like brown rice and oatmeal. As a result, research participants ate fewer total calories on the days when potatoes were a part of their diet. Spuds are also studs when it comes to potassium, vitamin C and belly-filling fiber. Ditch high-cal potato toppings like sour cream and bacon bits, and enjoy your taters with olive oil, rosemary and fresh pepper instead.
Fat-Blasting “Bad” Food #4
We’ve had it pounded into us for a generation: cut down on “saturated fat.” And since coconut oil contains more saturated fat than most other cooking fats, it’s got a bad rap. But here’s a villain with a true heart of gold: the saturated fat in coconut oil is “medium-chain” fat, which means your body revs up its metabolism to burn it off, leading to weight loss. Go coconuts, and watch your belly burn away. The oil is just one of the essential Eat This, Not That!-recommended 10 Daily Habits That Blast Belly Fat.
Fat-Blasting “Bad” Food #3
What’s CLA? If you guessed “clandestine league of awesomeness,” you’re only partly wrong. CLA is a superhero nutrient that hardly anyone talks about, but which studies indicate can promote fat loss, decrease body fat and reduce cholesterol levels— oh, and it happens to be found in burgers, particularly those made from grass-fed beef. The nutrient (its real name is conjugated linoleic acid, although we like ours better) goes hand-in-hand with protein, another fat-burning component in burgers. And a beefed-up slider contains another supernutrient that most of us, particularly women, don’t get enough of: iron. Being short on iron causes your body to burn fewer calories, yet as many as 1 in 5 American women are iron-deficient. To keep the metabolism humming, a woman needs 18 mg/day (men need about 8mg/day). Just one average-sized 4-ounce burger gets you 25% of the way there.
Fat-Blasting “Bad” Food #2
To accommodate our girth, movie theater seats have increased by six inches over the past two decades, and popcorn gets a lot of the blame. But when you’re fighting fat, this is one kernel you should follow into battle. Air-popped popcorn is actually a low-calorie, fiber-rich, whole-grain snack that can ward off hunger-causing crashes in blood sugar, says Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., founder of The NY Nutrition Group. She recommends sprinkling 2 1/2 tablespoons of grated parmesan onto three cups of air-popped plain popcorn; it’s a favorite snack that helps keep her full between meals and ward off cravings. For other slimming salty or sweet treats, indulge in this list of the definitive 14 Snacks Diet Experts Eat to Lose Weight.
Fat-Blasting “Bad” Food #1
When it comes to eggs, it seems we’ve been given scrambled messages. Many of us opt for egg whites over whole eggs because word on the street is that the rich yellow center contains too much cholesterol—and that means “bad-for-you.” But current research shows that blood cholesterol levels are dictated by the fat we eat (rather than dietary cholesterol), so yellow shouldn’t mean “caution.” In fact, yolks contain nutrients that may help lower the risk for heart disease, including protein, vitamins B12 and D, folate and riboflavin. What’s more, egg yolks contain a nutrient called choline that boosts metabolism and actually turns off belly-fat genes. If the thought of eating whole eggs still makes you uneasy, try making an omelet with one whole egg, two egg whites and some chopped vegetables.
by David Zinczenko
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