The foods you eat can have a major effect on your weight.
Other foods, especially processed and refined products, can make you gain weight.
Here are 11 foods to avoid when you're trying to lose weight.
1. French Fries and Potato Chips
One study even found that potato chips may contribute to more weight gain per serving than any other food (5).
Bottom Line: French fries and potato chips are unhealthy and fattening. On the other hand, whole, boiled potatoes are very healthy and help fill you up.
2. Sugary Drinks
Sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, are one of the unhealthiest foods on the planet.
Even though sugary drinks contain a lot of calories, your brain doesn't register them like solid food (12).
Liquid sugar calories don't make you feel full and you won't eat less food to compensate. Instead, you end up adding these calories on top of your normal intake.
If you are serious about losing weight, consider giving up sugary drinks completely.
Bottom Line: Sugary drinks can negatively affect your weight and general health. If weight loss is your goal, then giving up soda and similar drinks may have a big impact.
3. White Bread
White bread is highly refined and often contains a lot of added sugar.
One study of 9,267 people found that eating two slices (120 grams) of white bread per day was linked to a 40 percent greater risk of weight gain and obesity (14).
Bottom Line: White bread is made from very fine flour and can spike your blood sugar levels and lead to overeating. However, there are many other types of bread you can eat.
4. Candy Bars
Candy bars are extremely unhealthy. They pack a lot of added sugar, added oils and refined flour into a small package.
Unfortunately, you can find candy bars everywhere. They are even strategically placed in stores in order to tempt consumers into buying them impulsively.
If you are craving a snack, eat a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts instead.
Bottom Line: Candy bars consist of unhealthy ingredients like sugar, refined flour and added oils. They are high in calories, but not very filling.
5. Most Fruit Juices
Most fruit juices you find at the supermarket have very little in common with whole fruit.
Fruit juices are highly processed and loaded with sugar.
In fact, they can contain just as much sugar and calories as soda, if not more (16).
Also, fruit juice usually has no fiber and doesn't require chewing.
Stay away from fruit juice and eat whole fruit instead.
Bottom Line: Fruit juice is high in calories and added sugar, but usually contains no fiber. It is best to stick to whole fruit.
6. Pastries, Cookies and Cakes
Pastries, cookies and cakes are packed with unhealthy ingredients like added sugar and refined flour.
Pastries, cookies and cakes are not very satisfying and you will likely become hungry very quickly after eating these high-calorie, low-nutrient foods.
If you're craving something sweet, reach for a piece of dark chocolate instead.
Bottom Line: Pastries, cookies and cakes often contain large amounts of added sugar, refined flour and sometimes trans fat. These foods are high in calories but not very filling.
7. Some Types of Alcohol (Especially Beer)
However, the evidence for alcohol and weight gain is not clear (19).
Bottom Line: If you are trying to lose weight, you may want to consider cutting back on alcohol or skipping it altogether. Wine in small amounts seems to be fine.
8. Ice Cream
Ice cream is incredibly delicious, but very unhealthy. It is high in calories and most types are loaded with sugar.
A small portion of ice cream is fine every now and then, but the problem is that it's very easy to consume massive amounts in one sitting.
Consider making your own ice cream, using less sugar and healthier ingredients like full-fat yogurt and fruit.
Also, serve yourself a small portion and put the ice cream away so that you won't end up eating too much.
Bottom Line: Store-bought ice cream is high in sugar and homemade ice cream is a better alternative. Remember to be mindful of portions, as it's very easy to eat too much ice cream.
Pizza is a very popular fast food. However, commercially made pizzas also happen to be very unhealthy.
They're extremely high in calories and often contain unhealthy ingredients like highly refined flour and processed meat.
If you want to enjoy a slice of pizza, try making one at home using healthier ingredients. Homemade pizza sauce is also healthier, since supermarket varieties can contain lots of sugar.
Another option is to look for a pizza place that makes healthier pizzas.
Bottom Line: Commercial pizzas are often made from highly refined and processed ingredients. A homemade pizza with healthier ingredients is a much better option.
10. High-Calorie Coffee Drinks
However, the negative effects of adding unhealthy ingredients like artificial cream and sugar outweigh these positive effects.
High-calorie coffee drinks are actually no better than soda. They're loaded with empty calories that can equal a whole meal.
If you like coffee, it's best to stick to plain, black coffee when trying to lose weight. Adding a little cream or milk is fine too. Just avoid adding sugar, high-calorie creamers and other unhealthy ingredients.
Bottom Line: Plain, black coffee can be very healthy and help you burn fat. However, high-calorie coffee drinks that contain artificial ingredients are very unhealthy and fattening.
11. Foods High in Added Sugar
Foods high in added sugar usually provide tons of empty calories, but are not very filling.
Examples of foods that may contain massive amounts of added sugar include sugary breakfast cereals, granola bars and low-fat, flavored yogurt.
You should be especially careful when selecting “low-fat" or “fat-free" foods, as manufacturers often add lots of sugar to make up for the flavor that's lost when the fat is removed.
Take Home Message
The worst foods for weight loss are highly processed junk foods. These foods are typically loaded with added sugar, refined wheat and/or added fats.
This article was reposted from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
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When hurricanes and other extreme storms unleash downpours like Tropical Storm Beta has been doing in the South, the floodwater doesn't always stay within the government's flood risk zones.
New research suggests that nearly twice as many properties are at risk from a 100-year flood today than the Federal Emergency Management Agency's flood maps indicate.
Flooding Outside the Zones<p>About <a href="https://furmancenter.org/files/Floodplain_PopulationBrief_12DEC2017.pdf" target="_blank">15 million</a> Americans live in FEMA's current 100-year flood zones. The designation warns them that their properties face a 1% risk of flooding in any given year. They must obtain flood insurance if they want a federally ensured loan – insurance that helps them recover from flooding.</p><p>In Greater Houston, however, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1539-6924.2012.01840.x" target="_blank">47% of claims</a> made to FEMA across three decades before Hurricane Harvey were outside of the 100-year flood zones. Harris County, recognizing that FEMA flood maps don't capture the full risk, now <a href="https://www.hcfcd.org/floodinsurance" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">recommends that every household</a> in Houston and the rest of the county have flood insurance.</p><p>New risk models point to a similar conclusion: Flood risk in these areas outstrips expectations in the current FEMA flood maps.</p><p>One of those models, from the <a href="https://firststreet.org/flood-lab/research/2020-national-flood-risk-assessment-highlights/" target="_blank">First Street Foundation</a>, estimates that the number of properties at risk in a 100-year storm is 1.7 times higher than the FEMA maps suggest. Other <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aaac65" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">researchers</a> find an even higher margin, with 2.6 to 3.1 times more people exposed to serious flooding in a 100-year storm than FEMA estimates.</p>
What FEMA’s Flood Maps Miss<p>Understanding why areas outside the 100-year flood zones are flooding more often than the FEMA maps suggest involves larger social and environmental issues. Three reasons stand out.</p><p>First, some places rely on relatively old FEMA maps that don't account for recent urbanization.</p><p>Urbanization matters because impervious surfaces – think pavement and buildings – are not effective sponges like natural landscapes can be. Moreover, the process for updating floodplain maps is locally variable and can take years to complete. Famously, New York City was updating its maps when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012 but hadn't finished, meaning flood maps in effect <a href="https://projects.propublica.org/nyc-flood/" target="_blank">were from 1983</a>. FEMA is required to assess whether updates are needed every five years, but the <a href="https://www.fema.gov/cis/nation.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">majority of maps</a> <a href="https://www.oig.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/assets/2017/OIG-17-110-Sep17.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">are older</a>.</p><p>Second, binary thinking can lead people to an underaccounting of risk, and that can mean communities fail to take steps that could protect a neighborhood from flooding. The logic goes: if I'm not in the 100-year floodplain, then I'm not at risk. Risk perception <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ab195a" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">research</a> backs this up. FEMA-delineated flood zones are the major factor shaping flood mitigation behaviors.</p><p>Third, the era of climate change scuttles conventional assumptions.</p><p>As the planet warms, extreme storms are becoming <a href="https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/" target="_blank">more common and severe</a>. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at a high rate, computer models suggest that the chances of a severe storm dropping 20 inches of rain on Texas in any given year will increase from about 1% at the end of the last century to 18% at the end of this one, a chance of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1716222114" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">once every 5.5 years</a>. So far, <a href="https://www.rstreet.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/195.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">FEMA hasn't taken into account the impact climate change is having</a> on extreme weather and sea level rise.</p>
Racial Disparities in Flooding Outside the Zones<p>So, who is at risk?</p><p>Years of research and evidence from storms have highlighted social inequalities in areas with a high risk of flooding. But most local governments have less understanding of the social and demographic composition of communities that experience flood impacts outside of flood zones.</p><p>In analyzing the damage from Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, I found that <a href="https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aba0fe" target="_blank">Black and Hispanic residents disproportionately experienced flooding</a> in areas beyond FEMA's 100-year flood zones.</p><p>With the majority of flooding from Hurricane Harvey occurring outside of 100-year flood zones, this meant that the overall impact of Harvey was racially unequal too.</p><p>Research into where flooding occurs in Baltimore, Chicago and Phoenix points to some of the potential causes. <a href="https://www.nap.edu/read/25381/chapter/4#16" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">In Baltimore and Chicago</a>, for example, aging storm and sewer infrastructure, poor construction and insufficient efforts to mitigate flooding are part of the flooding problem in some predominantly Black neighborhoods.</p>
What Can Be Done About It<p>Better accounting for those three reasons could substantively improve risk assessments and help cities prioritize infrastructure improvements and flood mitigation projects in these at-risk neighborhoods.</p><p>For example, First Street Foundation's risk maps account for <a href="https://firststreet.org/flood-lab/research/flood-model-methodology_overview/" target="_blank">climate change</a> and present <a href="https://floodfactor.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ratings</a> on a scale from 1 to 10. FEMA, which works with communities to update flood maps, is <a href="https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1521054297905-ca85d066dddb84c975b165db653c9049/TMAC_2017_Annual_Report_Final508(v8)_03-12-2018.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">exploring rating systems</a>. And the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently <a href="https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2019/03/new-report-calls-for-different-approaches-to-predict-and-understand-urban-flooding" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">called for a new generation of flood maps</a> that takes climate change into account.</p><p>Including recent urbanization in those assessments will matter too, especially in fast-growing cities like Houston, where <a href="https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1boBRyDvMFW6W" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">386 new square miles</a> of impervious surfaces were created in the last 20 years. That's greater than the land area of New York City. New construction in one area can also <a href="https://scalawagmagazine.org/2018/01/city-in-a-swamp-as-houston-booms-its-flood-problems-are-only-getting-worse/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">impact older neighborhoods downhill</a> during a flood, as some Houston communities discovered in Hurricane Harvey.</p><p>Improving risk assessments is needed not just to better prepare communities for major flood events, but also to prevent racial inequalities – in housing and beyond – from <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/03/05/688786177/how-federal-disaster-money-favors-the-rich" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">growing</a> after the unequal impacts of disasters.</p>
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