In his class, Attaining Optimal Health in the 21st Century , nutritionist David Getoff uses a self-coined term, sabotage foods, to help his students realize the dastardly effects of having too much of these food types in their daily diet. What are these food types? Starches, Sugars, and Alcohol. These are also known as sugar converters because they convert into sugars when metabolized by the body. There are many sugar converters in modern diets , but the sabotage foods are those foods which rapidly convert into sugar and have a detrimental effect on your health and wellbeing.
Here’s a short list of Sabotage Foods to give you an idea of what we’re talking about:
- Cereals Tortillas Cookies
- Fruit Juice Muffins Pastries
- Refined Grains Bagels Buns
- Corn White Rice Beer
- Pastas Ice Cream Wine
- Candy Cake Liqueur
- Junk/Fast Food Granola Bars Hard Alcohol
- Pancakes Sugar
- Breads Honey
These foods convert to sugar quickly in your body and raise your blood sugar too high and too fast causing an inflammatory response. This makes you more susceptible to conditions such as diabetes, cancer, high cholesterol, heart disease, hypoglycemia, thyroid problems, acne, a depressed immune system, neurological issues such as multiple sclerosis and other degenerative diseases.
Our bodies are designed by nature to use fats as one of the primary sources of energy. If the body is not fed proper fats, and instead subsists on a diet of starches, sugars and alcohols for several years, it will shift over and begin making most of its energy conversions from starches and sugars. This causes the inflammatory response mentioned earlier and throws your whole system off balance. Avoiding, or greatly reducing, these items in your diet can bring about dramatic changes in how you feel and promote long-term health and disease prevention. Another benefit of staying away from sabotage foods is weight loss. Sabotage foods make you feel hungry more often making it difficult to consume a consistent and appropriate amount of calories. Want proof? Try this easy, four-day experiment.
Pick some type of animal protein that you really prefer. You’re going to be eating this for breakfast four days in a row so you might as well make it one you enjoy. Most people end up choosing eggs because they’re the easiest—but any protein will do. We’ll use eggs for this example. You will want to eat an adequate portion of eggs so that you are full. You don’t want to be stuffed, nor do you want to be hungry in an hour—you want to feel full. Depending on your size and stature, and how much energy you expend, you could eat between three and five eggs. No muffin; no bread; no orange juice; no fruit; nothing else. The idea is to replace those items with enough eggs so that you are comfortably full. Cook them to your preference. You’re allowed to season them with sea salt, garlic, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme—whatever you like. Just be sure to use organic seasonings. That’s the breakfast. If you’d like a little bit of something to drink, have a little bit of water. As soon as you finish your breakfast, write down what time it is and then, later, write down whatever time of day you begin to feel hungry. Make sure you are hungry…don’t fall into the trap of thinking you are hungry because you usually have a snack at 10:00 A.M. We all get into habits. If at a certain time of day you usually go and grab a handful of some snack, stop yourself and say, “Wait a minute. Am I really hungry?” Likely, you won’t be. Write down the time that you actually felt hungry. How long did those eggs hold you? Did they hold you for 3½ hours? 4½ hours? 5 hours? However long it was, write that down for two days in a row.
On days three and four of the experiment, eat the same breakfast with one minor change. Prepare the same amount of eggs—exactly the same as on days one and two. On days three and four, include a sabotage food such as some type of fruit, sugar, or starch—you can use the list above for ideas. You’re going to be a little bit fuller because you’re adding a sabotage food on top of your usual amount of eggs. Now you’ve had more food and more calories, for breakfast. Again, write down what time you finish breakfast and then write down when you first start to be hungry. You will be duly surprised when you are hungry sooner, even though you ate more calories. It’s because you ate a sabotage food, or a food that sabotaged your body’s ability to take those beneficial macronutrients (proteins and fats) and hold you at an even blood sugar and energy level. This is why so many people struggle with their weight. They’re hungry over and over again during the day and they have to grab more food throughout the day because they’re eating sabotage foods.
Most people can jump-start their weight loss by cutting out all starches, sugars & alcohols while consuming more proteins and fats. Sometimes we have to look at thyroid problems and a lot of other factors. But, the sabotage foods are often the most significant issue.
So, avoiding, or greatly reducing, these sabotage foods allows the body to switch back over to using fats and proteins as its primary source of energy as it was meant to do. In addition, it reduces the amount of inflammation in your body making you healthier and stronger and less susceptible to the degenerative diseases that are plaguing our society today.
Making changes in the way you eat can be very challenging. Habits and traditions can be difficult to break. If you feel you need to consume starches, sugar, or alcohol now and then, minimize the effects of such dietary choices by including a good amount of high-quality fats and proteins in the same meal. This will slow down the sugar conversion and lessen the negative effects of these sabotage foods.
Every step you take toward avoiding or limiting the sabotage foods in your daily diet is progress. Pat yourself on the back. You’ve taken a step towards improving your health and your future.
We know that the list of foods one should avoid is rather lengthy and disconcerting to some. Stay tuned for our next blog coming up this week on the healthy grain and sweeteners you can include in your meal plans. After all, we don’t want to just tell you what not to eat-we want you to thrive on the traditional diet of your ancestors which is full of quality, health-promoting foods.