Fat-Burning Hormones, As mentioned before, margarine and butter substitutes and spreads that contain partially hydrogenated oils should be strictly avoided for their trans fatty acid content. Healthier choices for margarine include various brands that use canola oil as a base, such as Promise or Benecol. These can help you lower your cholesterol levels and optimize your fat-burning hormones. A few companies also make “fat-free” margarine spreads. While they actually do contain a small amount of fat, it is so low that calories content is negligible.
Fortunately, the egg and dairy section of the grocery store usually provides you with a greater variety of healthy alternatives. For example, you can always find milk in at least three varieties-whole, 2 percent, and skim (non-fat)—some healthier than others. Many people often mistake the meaning of the fat percentage on milk labels, as it is a different method of fat measurement than on many nutritional labels. If you buy 2 percent milk, that actually means that 2 percent of the total weight of the milk comes from fat, not that 2 percent of the calories in the milk come from fat. In fact, one-third of the calories in 2 percent milk comes from saturated fat – an unhealthy figure. Skim milk, with 0 percent fat, is obviously a much better option.
Most grocery stores offer milk alternatives, such as soymilk, for those of you who are lactose intolerant or vegans. However, you must be careful when choosing soymilk, as most brands are loaded with sugar and carbohydrates and have very little protein. Try to choose a brand of soy milk that gets at least one-third of its calories from protein. To calculate this yourself, take the total amount of protein grams per serving shown on the label and multiply it by four. This will give you the total amount of calories coming from protein. If this number is more than one-third of the total amount of calories per serving then this brand is a good choice. Typically the best choices of soymilk are the ones labeled “plain” or “unflavored”; the vanilla-or chocolate-flavored soymilk is usually the highest in sugar and carbohydrates. I recommend brands such as Silk, Vitasoy, and Whole Foods.
The breakfast cereal section is a dangerous part of the grocery store. Almost all breakfast cereals are extremely high in carbohydrates which little or no protein or fiber. This holds true even for cereal widely touted in natural food circles as being healthy, such as granola and muesli, both of which are very high in calories and carbohydrates. Unless you plan on using breakfast as your magic Window Meal after exercising, most breakfast cereals should be avoided.
The exception is the few bowls of cereal that are actually quite high in fiber-those that have a minimum of 5 grams of fiber and less than 100 calories per serving. One brand of cereal, fiber One, even has 13 grams of fiber per serving. Steel-cuts oats, such as McCann’s Irish Oatmeal, are another option a high-fiber cereal, but make sure you avoid processed, quick-cooking oat mill, such as quaker or McCann’s instant oatmeal, which has had most of the fiber removed or broken down.
These high-fiber cereals can be very filling and will not produce a strong insulin response in your body, thus allowing your hormones to stay in a fat-burning mode. Most other low-fiber cereals are loaded with so much starch or sugar that they will push your insulin levels through the roof, making fat burning almost impossible.