10 Food Ingredients to Avoid if You Want to Get Lean

When you are trying to get lean, often times what you don’t put into your body is just as important as what you eat. There are certain food ingredients that can impair your ability to lose fat and put on lean muscle. In this short article, I’m going to discuss 10 food ingredients that you should avoid when trying to optimize your fat loss diet. Many of these ingredients are found in processed foods. Be sure to read labels and keep foods with these ingredients to a minimum:

High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup contains up to 50% fructose. Fructose from high fructose corn syrup has to be converted to fat or glycogen (stored carbs) by the liver before it can be used for fuel. While the small amounts of fructose naturally found in fruit are fine, the large doses of fructose in high fructose corn syrup can cause fatty liver and visceral fat, which surrounds your organs. Bad stuff.

Hydrogenated Oil
Hydrogenated oils are vegetable oils that have been chemically altered to prevent rancidity in foods and increase shelf life. They are high in trans fats, which work against the body by increasing bad cholesterol and decreasing good cholesterol. They also cause inflammation and have a negative impact on your health. Like all fats, hydrogenated oils have calories. Foods with hydrogenated oil should be avoided.

Corn, Peanut, Soybean Oil
These are found in many salad dressings and in foods such as mayonnaise. They are high in omega 6 fatty acids. Too much omega 6 can raise blood pressure, and lead to blood clots that can cause heart attacks and stroke, not to mention causing your body to retain water.

Butter and Margarine
Both butter and margarine are high in saturated fat calories. In the case of margarine, it contains hydrogenated oil and trans fats, so if you have to eat one or the other, choose butter. Best not to consume either.

MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate)
MSG is a flavor enhancer, that may help increase food consumption. It has also been linked to weight gain. MSG is commonly found in Chinese food, but can also be found in many processed foods.

Sugar in foods can cause blood sugar to rise quickly, resulting in spikes in insulin, a fat storing hormone. Insulin spikes will interfere with fat burning. Sugar has been associated with increasing inflammation in the body, which can lead to degenerative diseases. High sugar in the diet is one of the leading cause of adult-onset diabetes. It is best to keep sugar in your diet as low as possible.

Commonly found in breads, crackers and baked goods, flour is high in calories, and is an ‘empty starch’ with little nutritive value apart from the calories. Most flour products are broken down quickly and easily by your body, and tend to increase blood sugar and insulin.

These are chemicals that are used as food preservatives. They can cause water retention and weight gain and are suspected carcinogens. They are commonly found in processed meat products such as cold cuts, bacon, ham, and sausages.

Modified Food Starch
Made from a variety of foods including corn, maize, tapioca, potatoes or wheat, these are empty starch calories that don’t add much nutritional value to food.

High Sodium
While some sodium is necessary for your health, most diets are too high in sodium, an electrolyte, and mineral. Excess sodium increases water retention, bloating, and increases blood pressure. Stay away from the salt shaker and try to keep sodium intake under 3 g per day.

In Conclusion: While it’s difficult to eliminate all of these food ingredients from your diet, it’s a lot easier to do so if you avoid processed or packaged foods, and eat predominantly unprocessed natural foods such as fish, chicken or turkey breast, egg whites, beans and rice, lentils and peas, yams and sweet potatoes, oatmeal, vegetables and fruits. These are many of the foods that we recommend in the Lean Body Transformation program, which you can download by clicking here.

About the Author: Lee Labrada

Lee Labrada is the founder and CEO of Labrada Nutrition, makers of Lean Body protein shakes. Lee’s mission is to empower you with the nutritional products and the know-how to get into great shape and be healthy for life.

One of the world's best-known bodybuilding legends, Lee Labrada holds 22 bodybuilding
titles, including the IFBB Mr. Universe. Lee is an inductee of the IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Hall of Fame. He has appeared on the covers of more than 100 fitness magazines and has been featured on CNBC, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and ESPN as a fitness and nutrition expert. Lee is the best-selling author of The Lean Body Promise and co-founder of Lean Body Coaching. He is also the Host of The Lee Labrada Show. Check out his podcast here.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.