Things that Mess With The Hormones and What To Do About It. Part 2.- Anti-Nutrients

9:10 PM Posted by jo


This post is part of my series about the metabolic hormones and how they especially influence the weight. This time I will cover more detail information about the anti-nutrients that disrupt the body's natural biochemistry. 

Refined grains

There are many reasons for stop eating refined grains. First of all, they don't contain any nutrients since the refining process removes the bran and the germ of the grain. They have to enrich the products with synthetic vitamins to replace the nutrients lost from when they removed the bran and the germ. Refined grains are easy to digest and they will increase your blood sugar and insulin rather quickly. This may eventually lead to insulin resistance. People who eat refined grains have about 40% higher levels of C-reactive protein, which is an indicator of chronic inflammation in the blood vessels.

Corn and wheat are by far the worse when it comes to influencing the insulin. The amount of corn has almost double in thirty years and wheat products have increased by 20% while high fiber barley has dropped by one third. 

Read labels carefully. Products labeled as whole wheat only need to included 51% whole grain. Better yet, try the Paleo Diet.

High fructose corn syrup

When Dr. Atkins in the late 70's said that it is the carbohydrates that make people fat and not the fat, less than 15% of the American population was considered obese. Of course people thought he was nuts. I am not in favor of the Atkins Diet, but he was right about fat not making us obese.  Thirty years or so later after being told that low fat is the way to go, the obesity rate is about 32%.

Hight fructose corn syrup is really good at boosting our fat storage hormones. A study performed at the University of Florida found that a high fructose corn syrup diet directly causes leptin resistance in lab rats. It has also been discovered that fructose does not suppress the gherlin (hunger hormone) levels like glucose does. Women eating fructose instead of glucose had higher gherlin levels.

Fructose is metabolized by your liver while glucose is metabolized by all the cells. HFCS  manages to convince the body not to release the two hormones leptin and insulin that are normally released when you are done eating. It also makes sure that the gherlin level is not reduced, so the rising level of gherlin makes you eat more. That's not all, HFCS also increases the triglycerides which stops leptin from doing its job in the brain and tell you when you need to stop eating.

Artificial sweeteners

It may come as a surprise that the fake sweetener can make us gain weight, even though more news are being released that the artificial sweeteners are worse than regular sugar for our metabolism. People who drink just one can of diet soda have a 34% higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome compared with people who didn't drink any soda. Animal studies have shown that rats fed yogurt with saccharin gained more weight, ate more, and put on more body fat compared with rats fed yogurt sweetened with glucose. When people who often drink diet sodas are eating regular sweets,  the body thinks it needs to eat a lot of the sweet things to get the needed calories. It is re-trained to think sweetness doesn't have many calories, and "forgets" how many calories sweet things have and make us overeat. Actually, eventually the body's metabolism forgets that sweet things have calories. 

We also know that aspartame that may cause permanent damage to the brain's appetite center so avoid everything with aspartame.


I'm sure most think they don't eat MSG anymore, but did you know that hydrolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed corn gluten, hydrolyzed protein, and calcium caseinate are sources of MSG? I have stumbled across some of these ingredients in so called natural foods placed in the natural section of grocery stores. It is important to remember that glutamates do exist in natural foods such as meat and cheese, but they are not even near as bad as the glutamates found in processed foods. I recently learned that Doritos have 5 different kinds of glutamates, is that insane or what?

Glutamates are flavor enhancers and not preservatives. They are considered to be exitotoxins, which people already back in the 50's knew were bad for us. High levels of glutamates really mess with our brain chemistry and can even cause cell death. The hypothalamus, where the hunger hormones neuropeptide Y reside,  is extremely sensitive to excess glutamates,  Sadly, it is not hard to ingest high levels of glutamates when they are included in so much processed foods. 

Animals that were fed MSG damaged their hypothalamus which lead to endocrine problems and obesity.

Artificial colors and preservatives

Benzoate salts are added to sodas to prevent mold growth. When plastic soda bottles containing these salts sit in the hot sun or in the heat,  dangerous levels of benzene can form. If you drink Coke you can relax a little since they removed this substance from many of their products. Watch out for sodas containing sodium benzoate, or potassium benzoate and vitamin C since the combination of the last two ingredients can form benzene. 

We are surrounded by artificial preservatives and new information about their danger are constantly being released. Artificial preservatives have been linked to MS, autoimmune disorders, cancer and aging. These chemicals are also believed to most likely destroy our bio-chemistry, inhibit the metabolism and make it harder to lose weight. 

Some chemicals to watch out for:

BHA is considered safe to use by the FDA (in case you still trust their opinion, I don't), but is anticipated to be a human carcinogen. This antioxidant is added to keep food from going bad, but it is also an endocrine disruptor. The more BHA a male rate was exposed to, the less testosterone and T4 were circulating in the body. The rats had weaker and fewer sperms, the testes shrunk, and they wanted to have sex less often. Their adrenal glands and livers were also swollen and their thyroids were messed up.

We are exposed to hundreds of food items that contain BHA, such as beer, baked goods, potato chips, sweets, snack foods, sausage, flavoring agents, chewing gum, active dry yeast and many more. You can also find BHA in food packaging, facial creams, lip glosses, lip sticks, mascara and eye shadows. There are many other names for BHA that are impossible to remember.

Processed meats have by far the worse preservatives for your metabolism. A NIH study of 9000 people discovered that a diet of hot dogs, burgers, and processed meats was the strongest indicator for developing metabolic syndrome. The American Cancer Institute analyzed thousands of studies, and came to the conclusion that for every 3.5 ounces of processed meat a person eat per day the chance of colon cancer rise by 42%. As most of us know, processed meat contain sodium nitrite and and nitrate.

Additives have also been linked to behavioral problems in children.

Hydrogenated fats

They blast regular fats like corn or palm oil with hydrogen to make hydrogenated fat. This will make the oils solid at room temperature. Hydrogenated fats are the real bad guys when it comes to increasing your bad LDL and triglycerides, and unfortunately it decreases your good LDL at the same time. Like that is not bad enough, they also shrink the size of the LDL particles and make them more likely to clot which increases the heart attack risk. The shocking thing is that only 2% of trans - fatty acids is enough to increase the risk of a heart attack by 23%. The risk of getting metabolic syndrome increases by 25% if you eat fried foods regularly.

Unfortunately these fats also increase the inflammation in the body. People with a higher intake of trans fats have been shown to have a  higher level of the hormone like substance interleukin-6. It has been linked to hardening of the arteries, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and Ahlzeimer's. Animal studies discovered that inflammation induced by interleukin-6 also caused the liver to stop responding to growth hormone which means that the muscles fade away. With the disappearing muscles goes the metabolism. 

It is tricky to discover trans fats in products because companies are allowed to say that their products don't contain any trans fats even if they do. You'll see, as long as the amount of trans fats is less than 500 milligrams per portion the manufacturer doesn't have to list it on the ingredient list. If you take a look at the serving size of packaged foods you'll also  notice that it is ridiculously small and is not enough to fill you up. It's not enough to fill you up, but small enough that the manufacturer can trick you to believe you are eating something without trans fats.

Read the labels and stop using shortening and partially hydrogenated fats. 


Unless it is fermented I don't recommend to eat soy. The opinion about soy is split and both sides are passionate about their opinion. I don't think a little bit soy here and there is going to hurt you too much, but the problem is that soy is everywhere. It is often used as a cheap alternative instead of good protein in shakes and snack bars. Anyone with a thyroid problem should stay away from soy since it is a goitrogen. Isoflavones are endocrine disruptors.  The estrogenic activity of isoflavones may encourage abnormal cell growth in those at risk for breast cancer or are menopausal. 

Alcohol, starchy root vegetables, and  caffeine should be enjoyed in moderation.

Here are some quick info to consider about the thyroid:

  • It is important to avoid flouride, chlorine, bromides, and unfermented soy.

  • Be aware of uncooked cruciferous vegetables, The  Healthy Home Economist has a great article about what vegetables to avoid uncooked if suffering from hypothyroidism.

  •  Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist,  also has a great article about millet and how it actually is a goitrogen.

    What it really comes down to is to live as natural as possible and cook our foods from scratch. According to a study conducted by the Breast Cancer Fund, you can reduce the exposure to BPA by 60% by cooking from scratch. Several families were provided fresh foods without cans and packaging, and their BPA level in the blood dropped by 60%. As you can see it makes a difference by getting rid off the offending chemicals in our lives.

  • Thanks for visiting!


    Johanna is an aromatherapist and an independent distributor of Young Living Essential Oils and Nature's Sunshine. She is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. 
    She also runs Naturally Sports & Wellness together with her husband.  
    Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information. Don't forget to explore her new aromatherapy new blog

    This post is linked to:
    Simple Lives Thursday
    WFMW hosted by We Are THAT Family 
    Fight Back Friday hosted by the Food Renegade 
    Monday Mania hosted by The Healthy Home Economist
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