6 Foods That Derail Your Diet & Productivity

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship Health & Fitness / November 20, 2013
junk food diet pizza

Being a young entrepreneur isn’t only about the web, networking, outreach, socializing, interacting, or “influencing” (is that even a verb?). Every once in a while, we need to take a step back and look after ourselves, recharge our batteries, and make sure that every day we’re on top of our game, experiencing the best productivity of our lives. So how do we do it? Exercise? Diet? Meditation? Coaching? Finding a mentor? Reading Lifehack.org?

Sure, all of the above works. But the best solutions are often the simplest. So the thing I advise you to do first is take a look into your fridge and identify everything that can have a bad impact on your mental and physical health.

Not that long ago, we talked about 10 awesome foods to keep you going, so today let’s really take it the other way around. Instead of telling you what to eat, I’m going to list some things to avoid whenever possible (hey, we’re all human…and we all have our moments of weakness, so avoiding these foods completely probably won’t be possible).

The problem with most of the following forbidden foods is that we’re accustomed to consuming them every day, therefore we don’t think they can ruin our day-to-day productivity, not even to mention our weight loss efforts.

Let’s start the list with the biggie:


Sodas are the ultimate killer of every diet. They are high in calories, yet provide no nutritional value.

Some things sodas contribute to include obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, and weakened bones.

Just to give you a quick example. A standard can of Coca-Cola (or any other similar drink) contains around 150 calories and 35g of sugar. By doing some simple math, we can find that if you drink one can a day, you end up with additional 4,500 calories and 1kg of sugar every month (sugar is one of the main elements that prevents you from losing weight, as well as it gives you a very brief surge of enthusiasm that runs out almost instantly, making you feel bad a moment later).

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Sodas are actually so bad that they alone can stop any weight loss you’re after.

However, diet sodas are no perfect substitute either. Maureen Storey, Ph.D. (senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association) says that “Drinking diet beverages alone, however, is not enough to counter overeating – the only way to maintain a healthy weight is by balancing calories consumed with calories burned.”

Refined grains

To save you all the technical description let me just list some refined grains foods: wheat flour, white bread, white rice, any sort of baked goods, white pasta, and cereals sold in standard supermarkets.

The problem with refined grains is that they are practically devoid of natural fiber, enriched with synthetic vitamins, and essentially imbalanced. This is all due to the processing these foods need to go through before they can end up on our plates.

As a matter of fact, refined grains are a known factor causing abdominal fat, and they can also increase your visceral adipose tissue (a type of fat found around the organs), this may eventually lead to diabetes and heart disease (as the study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals).

What’s the solution? Replace refined grains with whole grains. Such as: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, brown rice, colored rice, wild rice, rye, and triticale. Essentially, more whole grains in your diet mean lower visceral adipose tissue (confirmed by the Framingham Heart Study).

Processed Meat

Fresh, grass-fed meat is among the best foods you can eat. It’s healthy, nutritious, and has enough protein to keep you going for hours.

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Processed meat…not so much.

And by processed, I don’t mean things that you’ve processed yourself; as in cooked a steak and then put it in the fridge to consume later. That kind of processing is fine.

What I mean is factory-processed food. Things like cheap ham, hot dogs, bologna, dinner meat preserved by salting, etc. The sodium content in all those “goodies” is through the roof. For a quick comparison, 100 grams of a nice Porterhouse steak has 65 mg of sodium. The same 100 grams of pork bologna is 907 mg. That’s nearly 15x more.

What’s so bad about sodium? It increases the risk of high blood pressure, which is a major cause of heart disease and stroke.

In short, avoid processed foods. Eat fresh, eat grass-fed.

“The obvious group”

I bet you’ve seen this one coming. There are certain types of foods that we all know are bad, and we do feel bad eating them, yet we still can’t eliminate them completely.

I’m listing these as a reminder (and to keep the message complete): alcohol (which is actually just refined juice), trans fat, potato chips, popcorn, candy, chocolate bars, cakes, toffee, ice cream, smoothies, all kinds of fast food.

Actually, whatever you do, just don’t consider fast food as your go-to place for everyday meals. If you need proof, here’s an article talking about how these so-called restaurants serve extremely unhealthy meals. Some of the “modern” meals contain as much as 3,500 calories in one serving. This is actually more intake than a healthy human requires in an entire day!

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“The surprise” – Diet supplements

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that diet supplements physically prevent you from losing weight (especially when they’re advertised as some weight loss aid). The problem with supplements is of philosophical nature.

The issue is that people who depend on diet supplements as THE thing that will make them look good tend to not pay that much attention to their eating habits, and find easy justification for skipping a day (saying that it’s okay because they’ve taken their supplement).

In short, don’t base your weight loss and healthy lifestyle on supplements. Diet (what you eat) is always the most important thing.

Furthermore, weight loss pills/diet supplements, don’t have the best publicity among nutritionists who see and understand the dangers of using them.

For instance, Connie Diekman, RD (director of nutrition at Washington University, St. Louis) says that “Most diet pills are nothing more than a quick fix loaded with caffeine and diuretics that can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.”

What’s next?

I guess the best way to use this resource would be to treat it as your personal do-not-eat list. Even if you’re not on any weight loss-specific diet, keeping this information in mind will surely help you to be healthier and more productive every day. You can start slow, eliminating just one group at a time. The small wins should keep you going forward.

This is a contribution by Yasir Khan. He has been involved in content marketing for over 5 years and now runs QuantumSEOLabs an online marketing and SEO agency that is dedicated to helping businesses reach bigger audience online.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.


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