Losing weight can be difficult for most of us. But what makes it especially difficult is holding on to the misconceptions we have of what a “healthy” food is. Unfortunately, many foods that we’ve come to know as our go-to health foods are simply not doing us justice. They are higher in calories and often times have more sugar than expected, making them a quick source of weight gain in any diet.
So, what are these so called healthy foods you should actually avoid? The list is pretty big, but here are at least 8 “no no’s” for trying to keep the fat off.
1. Multi-Grain Bread
For decades multi-grain breads have been known to be the healthier bread choice. Problem is, many of these breads are actually over processed these days, leaving out the nutrients and fiber they are known for. Instead of multi grain bread, go for sourdough or whole grain bread, which is known to have more fiber to keep you fuller longer.
2. Whole Wheat Pasta
When it comes to pasta, it only makes sense that you grab whole wheat pasta off the shelf, right? Not necessarily! Whole wheat pasta may offer better nutrition, but it also offers more carbohydrates, which digest into sugars in the body, making it more difficult to lose fat. Plus, calorie wise, they are either the same or more than regular pasta. As an alternative, try spaghetti squash. Sure, it’s not the same as the pasta you crave, but losing weight means making food changes across the board where possible.
3. Low-Calorie Snack Packs
You’ve seen these on the shelves. Each packet has only 100 calories! What could be better for fixing a sweet tooth craving and keeping down the calories? Wrong! Like any pre packaged sugary treat, look at the label. Chances are these “low fat, low calorie” cookies are full of sugar and preservatives that just aren’t good for your body, and when considering the amount of carbs in one serving, you’d be better off making your own treats so you know exactly what you’re eating and how much.
4. Sugar-Free Products
Ah, the famous Coke Zero or Sugar Free cookie. If you remove sugar, the product shouldn’t have as many calories or cause weight gain, right? It’s true in theory, but the problem is, the sugar alternatives being used in sugar free products aren’t good for you. Since they are artificial, your body has a hard time processing them, which can leave you feeling bloated and full. Some studies have actually shown artificial sweeteners to raise your insulin levels, which makes you crave more sugar. Sugar free may sound good, but remember, if something’s free there’s usually a catch!
Oh granola, why must you be so delicious? And why must you disguise yourself as a healthy food? Sure, the ingredients in granola are typically healthy… oats, nuts, seeds, some dried fruit. What could be bad? But the problem is, granola is usually made with sugar or honey, and lots of butter. The fat and sugar content of this hearty snack makes it a “no no” when trying to lose weight.
Wait, fruit? Really? Ok, not ALL fruit should be avoided. But believe it or not, not all fruit is created equal. Mangos, bananas, pineapple… all of these have great vitamins and minerals, but they are also really high in sugar. You want to choose fruit that is full of soluble and insoluble fiber. Apples are a great choice as they are lower in sugar, therefore making them have fewer calories per serving.
8. I’ll Have the Salad
When faced with eating out while on a diet, most people opt for the salad. The problem is, many restaurant salads add a lot of ingredients that pack on the calories and fat. Drizzled with fatty salad dressings, or “low fat” dressings that contain a lot of sugar, your bowl of greens is no longer sounding like the best choice for fat loss. So before you order your meal, try to figure out what dish will actually provide you with the best balance of protein, fiber, and vegetables. You might wish you had ordered a grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables and a side of quinoa.
There are a lot of foods disguised as “health foods” that aren’t always going to be the healthiest for you, and may in fact hinder your weight loss results. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your food or that you have fewer options. It just means you need to get more creative in the kitchen and more aware of what you are consuming when buying pre-made food. It’s OK to eat real sugar, whole milk, sourdough bread, and snacks. You just want to eat in moderation and make sure your body is getting enough water and fiber throughout the day to allow for proper digestion, hydration, and that feeling of fullness.