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Things You Never Thought Would Make You Fat

Shreyas Bhide Oct 14, 2020
On a diet, exercising regularly, still putting on? A lot of factors other than food and lack of exercise go into weight gain. Some of them surprisingly unsuspected!
Have you been religiously following a proper diet and still putting on weight? Some unusually shocking things you never thought would make you fat are doing you a great deal of harm.

Weight gain doesn't always happen due to fatty foods. It's not always the butter and the potato that is contributing calories to your curve of obesity.
A simple can of diet soda considered to be 'calorie-free' is probably your worst enemy. None of the fat-free foods available in the superstore are fat-free in the truest sense. Not just do these food items make you obese, they cause innumerable health problems you may not be even aware of.
The smallest of your daily habits like chewing gum to your lifestyle that involves partying with friends and staying up late at night may be the culprit if observed closely.
None of them are on the absolute-don't list, but a little leeway on the frequency and quality of these components of your lifestyle are sneakily accumulating fat in your body, which can be pernicious in the long run.


Diet Foods/Fat Free Foods

Fat-free mayo, zero-cholesterol chips, diet soda, anyone? The fat-free version of your favorite food item may contain half the calories of its normal version, but do not end your analysis there.
Substitutes for Fat
A little deeper digging will tell you these fat-free foods actually do you more harm than good. For every fat-free/diet food you buy from here on, read the label and you will be faced with an ugly reality.
Fat-free food items do your body more harm than the regular stuff. Most of the so-called diet foods contain corn syrup which is high in fructose.

Such food items usually replace the fats in their ingredients list (oils, butter, etc.) with starches and sugars, which is even worse than the real deal.
These substances are added to make the fat-free product more appealing; since removing fat takes the food item's natural taste away. Believe it or not, one spoon of fat-free mayonnaise does your body as much harm as a spoon of regular mayonnaise.
As appealing as it sounds, fat-free yogurt burgeons your waist more than normal yogurt.
This is because, in an almost compulsive obsessive lieu of reducing the fat in the yogurt, manufacturers end up adding almost double the amount of sugar to fat-free yogurt than its natural counterpart; and if we are talking of flavored fat-free yogurt, may your health rest in peace!
The plain, natural yogurt itself contains a decent amount of sugar; adding more sugar flavors for taste and pumping it with calorie-rich artificial flavors only makes it more dangerous.
Baked Chips
Chips create the same ruction - the baked ones are NOT in any way better or healthier than their fried counterparts. A baked potato may be healthier than home fries, but the same principle does not apply to processed potato chips.
Baked chips are not fried in oil - to make up for the apparent lack of taste, manufacturers bombard them with tons of genetically modified items such as corn syrup, corn oil, cornstarch and soy lecithin, etc.
All these have been known to cause kidney and liver related disorders. Not to forget, higher amounts of sodium means an increased risk of blood pressure.
Fat-free foods also create a conceited binging pattern. Your mind is wrapped around the fact that you are indulging in fat-free stuff, and hence, you may keep binging under the misnomer that it won't affect your weight in any way.

Sports/Energy Supplements

So you are working out on a hot morning and are carrying your favorite energy drink along with you to keep you hydrated? Think twice before you do that the next time - you are wasting your money and doing incorrigible damage to your body.
Sports or Energy Drinks
To begin with, do you really know if you are dehydrated? If you are not and are still sipping the energy-boosting liquid, you can be walking into a pit called hypernatremia, a condition where brain cells swell up due to excessive liquid in the body.
Sports drinks, energy boosters, energy bars, protein supplements, etc., will help you only to a certain extent, but the harm they cause you is irrevocable.
These products contain high amounts of sugar - which at the rate that they are consumed can almost be considered toxic. Since decades of these products have entered the public life, and there has been no solid scientific evidence to prove that they boost energy, increase immunity, or enhance performance.
Energy Bars
Energy bars are not as healthy as they look either. Stuffing up on a granola bar for a mid-afternoon snack may seem sensible, but, if anything, is exactly the opposite. A single protein bar contains high amounts of fructose sugar levels and brown sugar - primarily used to keep the bar together.
A single granola bar can contain more than 300 calories. To understand the seriousness of eating 300 calories in a go as an afternoon snack, sample this - you need to run about 3 to 3.5 miles to burn 300 calories; about a mile more if the 300 calories have been induced by sugars and/or starches.
Protein Supplements
A similar travesty can dawn upon you if you are into protein supplements. Protein supplements, too, contain added sugars which increase bloating in the body. A normal person needs a little more than half a gram of protein per pound in body weight per day.
Technically, this means an average person weighing about 130 pounds requires approximately 75 - 80 grams of protein in his daily diet, which can easily be achieved by proper nutrition - one hard-boiled egg has about 6 grams of protein content.
One scoop of whey protein fills your body with around 24 grams of protein in a single go. As opposed to numerous arguments that proteins help burn down fat (which is logically true), protein powders are in fact fattening. This is because of the added sugar to optimize taste and the extra calories packed in it.
A scoop of protein powder has anything between 100 - 120 calories, and if mixed with milk, can take the calorie count up to 250. A protein shake turned into a berry or banana smoothie can even top off 500-something calories.
Protein supplements almost double the body's protein intake, which often stresses the kidney's functioning, and more often than not, fails to do its actual job - burning down fat in the body, triggering a reverse effect of rapid weight gain.


Coffee is an integral part of our daily life, and an almost indispensable item included in most diet charts. So what gives? Why is caffeine on the hit-list? The coffee-shop coffee is the culprit. Black coffee in itself smacks of innocence, but add milk and sugar to it, and the calorie count almost triples.
Mind you, if you are ordering a caramel or hazelnut-flavored latte with whipped cream at your favorite Starbucks, you are consuming almost 350 calories in one go.
Accompany that with an oatmeal cookie, and your total calorie intake shoots up to more than 700 calories! 700 sugar-stuffed calories takes about 8 miles of running to burn. Think for yourself - is it worth all that effort?
Caffeine is consumed through other sources too. A 12-fl. oz. A Diet Coke can contains 45 mg. caffeine. The recommended daily caffeine intake is around 200 - 250 grams, which is usually covered by three regular-sized cups of black coffee.
If you have indulged in even 2 cups of coffee and a can of soda in a day, the amount of caffeine that is entering into your body easily exceeds the body's daily requirement.Caffeine in itself may not be harmful, but the medium through which it gets consumed needs to be checked and reconsidered.
Shocked? Those greens you order for lunch may look deceitfully scrumptious, but beware - they pack a bagful of calories. The greens and veggies in a salad are innocent, but the add-ons and the toppings spoil the nutrition they bring to the table.
Some of the felons include mayonnaise, candied nuts, cream and cheese dressings, shaved Parmesan, etc. If you like topping off your salad with something for the extra crunch, think about that twice too. The deep-fried croutons, the crisp bacon bits, etc., are all adding to the calories, and you are blissfully unaware of it.
Half a cup croutons contain approximately 100 calories and contribute enormously to the extra fat you put up. Similarly, a cup of fried bacon bits packs in approximately 320 calories, a slice of processed cheese about 79, and a whopping 200 calories in 2 spoonfuls of creamy ranch dressing.
Salads in their purest forms are the most healthy meal an individual can have, but all that gets negated due to the fancy additions and toppings that are usually served in restaurants.


Eating with the TV On
Studies have shown that watching television is known to induce food cravings. Studies have also shown that approximately 52% of American pre-teens and 89% of teenagers eat their lunch and/or dinner while watching TV.
You tend to lose orientation of what you are eating and how much you are eating while watching TV. This leads to higher-than-normal quantities of food being consumed without any regulation.
Spending excessive time in front of the TV also leads to unhealthy munching in inordinate amounts. Chips, cola, and pizza are known TV companions, and all are infamously unhealthy food items.
Many research reports indicate that eating in front of the TV leads to consumption of about 350 - 400 calories more than normal.

Random Napping
Nothing wrong with a short afternoon nap. However, the timing and frequency of such naps could cost you, dear. Random naps slow down your metabolism rate. The body clock gets used to a certain routine, according to which it sets its metabolism cycle.
If this routine is punctured by an untimely nap, the metabolism rate takes a hit, thus gradually increasing your body weight.
A nap immediately after eating makes your body and its functions sluggish. A brisk walk is recommended after eating before taking a very short nap.
Again, in case of many people, lazy naps tend to turn into hours of sleep, which is unhealthy unless done at night, when the body actually expects you to sleep continuously for long hours (6 - 7 hours).
As much as an afternoon nap (JUST ONE, post lunch) is recommended to freshen up your body, a habit of napping at random hours and for long durations causes undue weight gain.
Eating Fast
Teens and office-going people eat fast. This causes steep weight gain, which obviously cannot even be traced back to fast eating. Weight gain is usually attributed to eating and lifestyle habits, and such incorrect ways of eating go unnoticed.
Signals, in the form of hormones, travel from the stomach to the brain to keep the brain updated about the stomach. Food takes time to reach the stomach, and the receptors take even more time to signal your brain that the stomach is full.
If you are in the habit of eating quickly, through this entire process, you will end up overeating almost 30% more than required. Also, eating quickly implies less chewing of food. Food must be chewed properly and broken down into small fragments. Smaller food fragments are easier to digest and process for the stomach.
Our science textbooks have repeated this fact many times over. Larger food morsels reaching the stomach take more time to digest, thus slowing down digestion, and as a result, the metabolism rate, leading to furtive but ceaseless weight gain.
Chewing Gum
As guiltless as chewing a mint sounds, that product is literally a factory of sugar secretion, which leads to sneaky fat accumulation over a long period of time. Of course, you do not swallow a gum, but the sugar juices secreted while you chew it all travel inside the body, and in fact are known to travel through the bloodstream faster than many other items.
The sugar-free varieties are no good either. Innumerable studies have shown irrational weight loss, skin problems, and improper bowel movements as possible side-effects of sugar-free chewing gums. Moreover, these sugar-free gums tend to saturate you off the stored sugars in the body and give you a sugar craving.
So, after spitting it out, you may actually end up binging on sweet food items to satiate the sugar craving. At the same time, to satiate this sugar craving, you may end up consuming so much sugar, that it may give you a sugar rush.


Late Nights
The human body follows a circadian rhythm that is naturally synchronized with the earth's 24-hour rotation period.
If this rhythm is disturbed, the body is bound to experience difficulties in carrying out certain processes.

The body is programmed to rest at certain hours after dark. If an individual doesn't sleep and give the body enough rest, the metabolism is bound to slow down, thus, increasing body weight.
A Northwestern University research states that late sleepers tend to put on two pounds every month. The research also found that late sleepers tended to binge more on unhealthy snacks, and ate lesser fruits and veggies than people with normal sleeping patterns.

Late night lifestyle also encourages smoking, substance abuse, and alcoholic tendencies, all of which are criminally unhealthy.
Peer Pressure
You don't give much of a thought to this one, but you tend to eat more when you are with friends. Also, since it's your time out with friends, more often than not, it involves junk food. Eating out with friends, or hosting your friends for a Super Bowl night, increases the emphasis on unhealthy snacking like pizza, chips, and soda.
Furthermore, your mind is so occupied with all the fun and frolic, that you lose track of what you have consumed and how much you have consumed.
A similar pattern can be observed between couples too. If one partner eats more than the other, the other unknowingly tries to match up, ignoring his/her own appetite. This leads to overeating in some partners, due to which, they put on weight. This pattern is especially prevalent in newly married couples.
Alcohol has no nutritional value. Unlike other foods that tend to blister your calorie count, alcohol just makes you fat - with zero effect on the calories. Alcohol also damages the nutritional absorption capabilities of your body.
The body is not programmed to store alcohol, so the metabolism process gives it a top priority while metabolizing, thus relegating to the backseat important nutrients that are needed to be processed first. Sugars and fats, if not metabolized properly, cause heavy weight gain.
Anything done in excess is bad, and heavy drinking more so. A little alcohol (although not recommended) at social meetings is okay, but habitual drinking and haphazard patterns/schedule of drinking should be avoided.
Stress is known to lead to irregular eating patterns. To divert your mind away from stress, you try to keep your mind occupied with other things like eating, which leads to incessant weight gain.
Chronic stress is known to increase appetite, which leads to excessive eating. Stress activates a series of hormones, which make the body doubly active than usual.
This includes adrenalin - which gives us instant energy. Another hormone released during stress is called cortisol. Cortisol is known to slow down metabolism, thus increasing body weight.
Stress also means that the individual is so occupied with certain things that he has little or no time for physical activities. Lack of physical exercise also contributes greatly to weight gain.
While doing some of these things, you don't even give a second thought; not knowing that they are the perpetrators of your unwanted journey towards obesity. You need to revise the foods you eat. Get into the habit of reading the labels on those so-called fat-free foods.
Work out the reason you overeat and sort it out. Crosscheck some of your habits and make changes to your lifestyle to come back on track.