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The Rule of 5

The Rule of 5

Live and eat by these rules—and get healthier, younger, and slimmer. If any food in your home lists any of the five ingredients below in the first five ingredients on the label, don't let it near your mouth. In fact, throw it out.

  1. Simple sugars: These include anything ending in -ose (like sucrose, dextrose, glucose, maltose, and fructose) as well as sugar alcohols (these end in -ol, such as sorbitol). Even natural sugars, such as honey and molasses, are still sugar, so you should also keep them to fewer than 4 grams per serving, unless it's pure fruit (we make that exception because fruit has so many nutrients). Syrups (maple, corn, blueberry) are also simple sugars, so stay away from those, too.
  2. Enriched, bleached, or refined flour: All three words mean this flour's been stripped of its nutrients. Yes, even "enriched" just means some of the stripped nutrients have been put back. Instead, look for 100% whole grains. Get the scoop on what makes them better.
  3. HFCS: Those four little letters stand for high-fructose corn syrup, a huge contributor to weight gain. Find out what makes it truly that bad.
  4. Saturated fat: This includes palm and coconut oils as well as any fat that comes from four-legged animals (butter, cheese, hamburger, lamb chops, etc.).
  5. Trans fat: It's often listed on labels as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Putting these into your body is like dunking your cell phone in a glass of water. It'll short out your appetite-regulating hormones, sending confusing messages to your brain about eating.

What can you make with the food that's left? Hundreds of delicious, easy meals. Pick a few healthy go-to recipes now. Then, discover more secrets about YOU: On a Diet that make waist management easy.

Medically reviewed in October 2019.

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