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Health & Wellness

Are Toxins Keeping You From Your Weight Loss Goals?

Written by Shelby Torrese

When most people think of factors that get in the way of losing weight or toning up, sugar and carbs often come to mind. What people fail to realize is that there are so many factors that can get in the way of reaching your fitness and nutrition goals. The main one I’m going to [...]
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When most people think of factors that get in the way of losing weight or toning up, sugar and carbs often come to mind. What people fail to realize is that there are so many factors that can get in the way of reaching your fitness and nutrition goals. The main one I’m going to talk about today is toxins.

Unknowingly consuming toxins can contribute to sudden weight gain, poor sleep, skin issues, and more. In fact, toxins can be the silent killer for many women when it comes to achieving their physique goals. I personally experienced bloat and insomnia from foods and drinks I thought were considered healthy eating choices.

In today’s blog I’m going to break down what are toxins, how they can affect your weight loss goals, and how to help get rid of toxins in the body.

How Toxins Affect Weight

Before we get into toxins and sudden weight gain, let’s first identify a few of them. Toxins like artificial colors, chlorine, fluoride, phthalates, and heavy metals can be found in the air, tap water, and food. These chemicals can disrupt our nervous, respiratory, and endocrine system – all of which play a role in our metabolism, cell production, digestion, and more. 

Our endocrine system, for example, controls our hormones. If hormones, especially estrogen and thyroid hormones, are compromised, they create what acts like an invisible shield around fat cells, making them more difficult to break down. [1] The problem with this is that we’re often unaware of the toxins we’re exposed to.

Another way that toxins can disrupt our ability to lose weight is they can create unnecessary stress in the body. When our nervous system is unable to remain regulated, our body can hold onto unnecessary fat. 

As you can tell, it’s important to clear the body of toxins for a number of reasons – even outside of weight loss. 

Foods That Cause Harmful Toxin Buildup 

My goal is never to make anyone fear food, food groups, or the like. Instead, I hope to take a stance of education where you learn about certain foods so that you can make a conscious choice on what you fuel your body with. Having these foods on occasion is okay, we’re human. If these ingredients are part of your daily diet, it may be time to consider some healthy swaps.


It’s no secret that sugar isn’t a main pillar of healthy eating. A diet that’s high in sugar is more likely to promote weight gain, particularly fat, and contribute to conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. [1] The problem is sugar is hiding in nearly everything – coffee creamer, granola, salad dressings, and other items that are viewed as harmless or even healthy. Keep an eye on ingredient labels, and make your own recipes when possible.

Processed foods

Processed foods are more than just junk food. Alternative meat, like vegan burgers, are often overly processed combinations of artificial ingredients. Even sausage is processed. I’m not saying all processed food is created equal, but the more whole foods you eat – foods as close to their natural state as possible – is best. Processed foods can cause a variety of gut-harming illnesses, and can absolutely contribute to weight gain. [2]

Seed oils

Sadly, seed oils are a huge red flag for toxin overload. Canola, grapeseed, rapeseed, and vegetable oils all can cause inflammation in the body and wreak havoc on the gut. Did you know that canola oil also doubles as a motor oil? [3] Yikes. Many people like to defend seed oils because of their low price point and high smoke point. After one look at the way canola oil is processed, though, it’s hard to reach for it on store shelves ever again. [4] Plus, they’re a major cause of weight gain and metabolic risks. [5]

Tap water

Disclaimer: not all tap water is the same. Tap water in some areas may be great, while others are heavily polluted. Having a good quality water filtration system is an effective way to reduce toxins. There have been wild findings in tap water, including high levels of fluoride, insecticides, antibiotics, and even traces of birth control. [6] Small amounts of these may seem harmless, but over time, they add up.


You’ve probably seen them listed on ingredient labels before. Things like xanthan gum, gum arabic, guar gum, agar-agar, and more are added to foods to help thicken them and keep them shelf stable. Unfortunately, gums can have harmful effects on our inflammatory and immune systems. [7] These two systems play a large role in overall health, including our digestive system and our ability to maintain a healthy weight.

Steps To Getting Rid Of Toxic Weight

Healthy eating is simpler than it sounds. I’m sure you’re reading through this blog and feeling like your pantry needs a major overhaul. While there may be some items worth tossing, don’t fret just yet. I have two effective ways to help remove toxins from the body in a healthy and practical way. 

The first is activated, food-grade charcoal. Charcoal acts as a great binder, carrying harmful chemicals and toxins out of the body. [8] Don’t worry, activated charcoal is not the same as the extra bits at the bottom of your barbecue. Plus, it tastes really yummy in lemonade. You can find my favorite recipe here.

Lastly, herb and superfood-rich teas can be great at eliminating toxins from the body. Detox tea, hence its name, is an effective (and delicious!) way to flush the body in a healthy way. It’s made with metabolism-boosting ingredients that help fight toxins, support the immune system, and reduce stress. The blend is so delicious on its own, but if you like variety, here are 22 ways to enjoy Detox tea

I hope this blog inspires you to pay attention to the foods you’re consuming and how they play a role in your life. We don’t know what we don’t know, and if you found out something new in this post, be excited! Use your newfound knowledge to improve your food choices and help get closer to your goals. Remember your two toxin-reducing solutions when you need them, and don’t stress! 

Mentioned In This Post

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About The Author

Shelby Torrese

Nutrition, Movement & Meditation Coach

Shelby Torrese is a wellness enthusiast (and matcha fanatic!) from Miami, FL. She attributes her love of movement to her mom, a personal trainer, and her love of food to her dad, a farmer. She studied creative writing in college while getting her yoga certification, and went on to pursue fitness and nutrition in grad school. Her go-to advice is, “Balance,” and she is a firm believer that the ocean can cure just about everything.

  • Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher
  • NASM Certified Nutrition Coach
  • M.S. in Human Performance


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