By Shane Ellison, M.Sc.
The People’s Chemist © 2007
My wife recently consumed her body weight in beef jerky. What was supposed to be light, healthy snacking turned into an all-out eating binge. Her ravenous consumption of the stuff made me think it must be an especially good brand. I was in a hurry when I bought it at my local health food store – and that’s where I messed up big time. Ignoring the label, I was caught by the number one grocery store fat trap – which was the cause of my wife’s abnormal appetite.
A grocery store fat trap is nothing more than a scheme designed by food manufacturers to make you eat more of something that you think is healthy. These foods and food additives are fat fertilizer. They are great for a company’s bottom line, but really bad for your “bottom.”
Right before she threw her head back to dump the last crumbs of the beef jerky into her mouth, my wife turned the bag over to read the fine-print ingredients. She gasped, “Why the hell did you buy this! It’s loaded with high-fructose corn syrup!”
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is fat fertilizer on steroids. And she knows it. A very fit mom, she keeps her lean and muscular build by avoiding grocery store fat traps.
HFCS transforms people into eating machines. Once consumed, it sets into motion a chemical cascade that begins with spiked insulin and ends with feel-good molecules known as “endorphins.” Intoxicated by artificial feel-good, the brain is unable to sense overeating and demands more, more, more – and the excess calories get stored in your body.
I’ve even heard of kids accidentally taking bites out of their fingers when under the influence of HFCS. Worse yet, many children who overindulge in Frankenfoods that contain HFCS and other sugars eventually become diabetic.
From beef jerky to bread and even spaghetti sauce, HFCS has infiltrated most processed foods and turned them into fat traps. Avoid this ingredient at all cost!
But that’s not the only trap lurking in grocery stores.
These hoodwink millions of unsuspecting victims, and have been a goldmine for the food industry since 1993. The obese seek out this label in hopes of waking up skinny. It never happens – but that doesn’t stop them from getting ensnared over and over again. I can hear the rationale: “It just seems so plausible. I’m fat, so I should eat fat-free foods.” Wrong.
After the fat is removed, sugar is added. Sugar is great if you’re at a birthday party, but that’s it. Like HFCS, it is nothing more than fat fertilizer and a heart attack waiting to happen. Look for it listed as sucrose, dextrose, or cane sugar on the labels of your favorite foods. Then buy something else – like an all-natural food high in healthy fat.
Healthy fat – which you can find in grass-fed beef, seeds, nuts, avocados, and eggs – is essential for proper growth, development, and the maintenance of good health. It provides your body with vital energy, without causing you to gain weight. In sharp contrast to carbohydrates, sugar, and trans-fats, healthy fats tell your body to burn fat and make you feel fuller quicker. Add them to your grocery list.
This trap gets most weekend warriors. “Energy” bars, protein powders, and sugar-free goodies – each and every one of them is loaded with drugs disguised as sweeteners. The widespread belief that these nicely packaged foods and drinks are good for you is a perfect example of how marketing strategies supersede medical science and common sense.
Artificial sweeteners make your body lose its natural ability to count calories. If athletes cannot distinguish between proper eating and overeating caused by artificial flavors, they will never reach their fat-loss or muscle-building goals, period. Exercise becomes a waste of time. Artificial flavors include sucralose (Splenda), aspartame, acesulfame K, saccharin, and neotame.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has several aliases you should be on the lookout for, including hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, plant protein extract, sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate, yeast extract, textured protein, autolyzed yeast, and hydrolyzed oat flour.
This white, crystalline amino acid is made in a lab and then added to meat products and most canned or packaged foods to “enhance flavor.” One small problem: It doesn’t have any flavor. It just enhances overeating – and the food manufacturer’s bottom line.
Once consumed, this fat fertilizer not only spikes insulin, it also lowers the hormones that ward off obesity, premature aging, and diabetes: IGF-1 and human growth hormone. And if that’s not enough to scare you off, it can be damaging to brain cells too.
Consider the shocking findings by German scientists who recently warned that their country should abandon the use of MSG at once. Why? They found that pregnant mothers consuming this fat trap were giving birth to children who were insulin-resistant.
Apparently, fetuses can be doomed to overeating for life, thanks to neuronal damage caused by Mom’s MSG-eating habit. The damage was most prevalent in a specialized group of nerve cells in the medulla oblongata, thalamus, or hypothalamus – the areas of the brain that control proper eating and metabolism. This might be one explanation for the drastic increases in childhood obesity worldwide.
Some things are worth dying for. Fat traps are not. If you want to live thin and slim, be alert to these common grocery store fat traps. You might have to dedicate some extra time to carefully reading food labels… but you’ll never fall victim to them again.
About the Author
Shane “The People’s Chemist” Ellison has an MS in organic chemistry and has first hand experience in drug design and synthesis. He is an internationally recognized authority on therapeutic nutrition and the author of Health Myths Exposed, The Hidden Truth About Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs and The AM-PM Fat Loss Discovery. Get his free Secret Cures eLetter at .