Written by Calvin Sun
1. Stop eating sugar. Studies suggest that sugar is more addictive than drugs like cocaine and heroin [1,2]. When it comes to fat loss, you’ll want to avoid eating any sweets (whether or not they are labeled “Paleo”). No soda (not even diet soda), no fruit juices of any kind, and definitely no “sports drinks”.
2. Avoid artificial sweeteners. A study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health found that consumption of Splenda (sucralose) resulted in negatively altered gut flora. Sucralose consumption resulted in significantly reduced amounts of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal system as well as alterations in pH . In addition to sucralose, sugar alcohols such as mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, and maltitol are known to cause bloating, gas, diarrhea and other forms of gastrointestinal distress.
3. Stop eating gluten. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat products like bread, pasta, bagels and pretty much anything made with flour. Gluten promotes inflammation, irritates your gastrointestinal system (leaky gut syndrome), and is known to cause auto-immune disorders [7, 8].
4. Do not eat “gluten-free” or “paleo” versions of junk foods. While these might be acceptable as an occasional treat once you are happy with your body composition, they will not help you achieve your fat loss goals. Paleo, gluten-free Oreos are still Oreos. Other gluten-free items to avoid are gluten-free crackers, chips, cookies, muffins, breads, brownies, granola, and pretty much anything that is normally a cheat food.
5. Avoid fructose as much as possible. Fructose is bad for you. Really, really, really bad for you. Studies have found that fructose has been directly linked to obesity and weight gain [4,5,9]. Fructose is metabolized into molecules that readily serve as “backbones” for triglycerides [5,9]. As a result, you can cause your blood lipids to increase significantly if you eat too much fructose. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet of just 17% fructose resulted in a substantial 32% increase in triglyceride levels . High triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease.
6. Speaking of fructose, do not consume agave nectar. Agave syrup actually contains more fructose than high-fructose corn syrup. It’s deleterious to your health and masquerades as a health food. Even moderate intake can result in elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels . Don’t be fooled by the marketing hype.
7. Avoid legumes such as soy and grains such as corn, barley, rye, and wheat. Grains are pro-inflammatory  and contain anti-nutrients like phytates and lectins. Phytates can bind to minerals like calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium and cause deficiencies in your diet . Lectins are a type of protein that can cause all sorts of gastrointestinal issues as well as negatively impact your immune system .
8. Eat the highest quality protein you can afford. Grass-fed is almost always better than grain-fed. And wild-caught is preferable to farm-raised for a variety of reasons.
9. Eat lots of vegetables. Brussel sprouts, celery, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, kale, collard greens, spinach, cabbage, radishes, squash, zucchini, lettuce are great choices. If your goal is to lose fat, avoid starchy plants like sweet potato, yams, and plantains.
10. Hire a nutrition coach. We can help keep you accountable, advise you on your goals, and help develop a nutrition plan that is tailored to your needs.
1. Nicole M. Avena, Pedro Rada, Bartley G. Hoebel. Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Volume 32, Issue 1, 2008, 20–39.2. Jacob Sullum. Research Shows Cocaine And Heroin Are Less Addictive Than Oreos. Forbes Magazine, October 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/
3. Abou-Donia MB, El-Masry EM, Abdel-Rahman AA, McLendon RE, Schiffman SS. Splenda alters gut microflora and increases intestinal p-glycoprotein and cytochrome p-450 in male rats. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2008;71(21):1415-29. doi: 10.1080/15287390802328630.
4. George A Bray, Samara Joy Nielsen, and Barry M Popkin. Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr April 2004 vol. 79 no. 4 537-543.
5. Elliott SS, Keim NL, Stern JS, Teff K, Havel PJ. Fructose, weight gain, and the insulin resistance syndrome. Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76:911–22.
6. Bantle JP, Raatz SK, Thomas W, Georgopoulos A. Effects of dietary fructose on plasma lipids in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;72:1128–34.
7. Jessica R Biesiekierski, et al. Gluten Causes Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Subjects Without Celiac Disease: A Double-Blind Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. Am J Gastroenterol 2011; 106:508–514; doi:10.1038/ajg.2010.487.
8. Mervi Viljamaa, Katri Kaukinen, Heini Huhtala, Sinikka Kyrönpalo, Martin Rasmussen and Pekka Collin. Coeliac Disease, autoimmune diseases and gluten exposure. 2005, Vol. 40, No. 4 , Pages 437-443.
9. D.P. Figlewicz, G. Ioannou, J. Bennett Jay, S. Kittleson, C. Savard, C.L. Roth. Effect of moderate intake of sweeteners on metabolic health in the rat. Phys & Behavior, 2009, Vol. 98, 5, 618-624.
10. Rachel C. Masters, Angela D. Liese, Steven M. Haffner, Lynne E. Wagenknecht, and Anthony J. Hanley. Whole and Refined Grain Intakes Are Related to Inflammatory Protein Concentrations in Human Plasma. J Nutr. 2010 March; 140(3): 587–594.
11. John G. Reinhold, A. Lahimgarzadeh, Khosrow Nasr, Hadi Hedayati. Effects of purified phytate and phytate-rich bread upon metabolism of zinc, calcium, phosphorus, and nitrogen in man. The Lancet, Volume 301, Issue 7798, 10 February 1973, Pages 283–288.
12. Pusztai, A. and Bardocz, S. Biological Effects of Plant Lectins on the Gastrointestinal Tract:Metabolic Consequences and Applications. Trends in glycoscience and glycotechnology, 1996, 8:149-165.