Diet, a cornerstone of our overall well-being, plays a pivotal role in maintaining a healthy weight and minimizing inflammation in the body. However, not all dietary choices lead to the desired outcomes. Certain diet mistakes can inadvertently result in weight gain and exacerbate inflammation.
To learn more about three diet mistakes you could be making that may accelerate weight gain and worsen inflammation, we spoke with functional nutrition practitioner, Courtney Saye. Saye revealed that errors such as drinking coffee before breakfast, not consuming enough food, and eating ‘naked carbs’ are some of the unexpected mistakes that could wreak havoc on your weight loss goals and make inflammation worse.
Coffee Before Breakfast
Several common diet mistakes, such as starting the day with a cup of coffee before eating, not consuming enough food throughout the day, and indulging in ‘naked carbs’ (carbohydrate-rich foods without adequate protein or fiber) can have unintended consequences. These habits may lead to weight gain and heightened inflammation.
In regards to starting your day with coffee, Saye says, “Our cortisol levels are elevated when we wake up in the morning. Coffee makes them higher on an empty stomach leading to disregulated blood sugar and inflammation. Start your day with a high protein breakfast BEFORE downing that morning cup of joe.”
Not Eating Enough
Not eating enough can be a counterintuitive dieting mistake that often results in weight gain and heightened inflammation. When the body is consistently deprived of essential nutrients and calories, it perceives this as a form of starvation, prompting it to slow down its metabolic rate.
“I see so many women who are frustrated by their inability to lose weight that tell me they are on a calorie restricted diet. You HAVE to eat enough calories and nutrients to support your daily needs or your body will hold on to excess pounds. It literally thinks it is going to starve. Aim for ~2000 calories, 100 grams of protein, and 7-10 servings of produce daily,” Saye states.
Indulging in “naked carbs,” which are carbohydrate-rich foods lacking sufficient protein or fiber, can inadvertently contribute to weight gain and heightened inflammation. Especially processed and refined carbohydrates, which can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels followed by quick crashes. These fluctuations trigger hunger and cravings, often leading to overeating and, subsequently, weight gain.
Saye implies, “Look, carbs are fine. They are not the enemy. But carbs that aren’t paired with fat and protein are a nightmare for your blood sugar. When you send your blood sugar skyrocketing and then it tanks, this slows your metabolism. If you want to have an apple in the afternoon, add some peanut butter or a piece of cheese. If you want to have a slice of toast add some avocado and smoked salmon.”
To promote weight management and reduce inflammation, opting for whole, complex carbs with fiber and pairing them with balanced protein sources is a wiser dietary choice.
Avoiding these pitfalls is vital in maintaining a balanced diet and reducing the risk of unwanted health outcomes. To maintain a healthy weight and minimize inflammation, it’s crucial to ensure that your body receives the necessary nutrients and energy it requires for optimal function.