Are you starting a new diet? Time reports that nearly one-third of the world’s population is overweight or obese. If you want to lose weight, you’ll generally have to eat fewer calories and burn more. You could eat less food. However, it’s just as important to make sure you’re eating the “right” healthy foods. That includes foods that are high in nutrients like vitamins and minerals. There’s nothing wrong with “cheat” meals sometimes but certain ones like five food felons will certainly prevent you from losing weight. These foods are often loaded with sugar, salt, or fat—sometimes all three. They can even sabotage a mostly healthy diet.
It’s interesting that some foods don’t really seem too bad. Bacon double-cheeseburger pizza probably isn’t a good option if you’re trying to lose weight. Other foods don’t seem too unhealthy at first. However, if you take a close look at the ingredients you’ll find the foods are a bad idea if you’re trying to lose weight. For example, it’s important to remember that sugar turns to fat in the body. So, you can still gain weight from so-called “low-fat” foods.
Ingredients to Avoid
The main reason you should avoid certain kinds of foods is based on the ingredients they contain. In some cases, it’s the ingredients themselves but other times it’s the amount. For example, the body needs salt but it’s another story when highly-processed foods are loaded with it.
Watch out for these ingredients:
Manufacturers often focus on producing foods that are low/no fat. A better approach when dieting is to try and avoid “bad” fats like trans fats and saturated fats. A better option is “good” fats from foods like:
- Olive oil
The problem with white sugar is it’s been highly processed compared to options like raw sugar. If you’re going to eat sugar then types like muscovado and turbinado are closer to the original sugarcane plant.
What’s wrong with white sugar? It’s highly refined so the nutritional value is much lower than cane sugar. The processing also causes your body to process it faster, which explains the “sugar rush” people often have when eating sugary foods.
Another problem is how much sugar people eat. When you eat more sugar than recommended for your gender/age it can lead to health conditions like type-2 diabetes.
The human body needs a small amount of salt. However, the problem is many of today’s foods are loaded with the stuff. That includes pre-packaged foods and restaurant meals. This can lead to various health issues like high blood pressure and kidney problems.
Artificial Colors, Flavors, and Preservatives
These additives make food look and taste better or last longer. The problem is they’re made from ingredients don’t exist naturally. It can cause problems like food allergies.
Another issue is scientists don’t fully understand the long-term effects of artificial food additives. So, it’s better to be on the safe side and avoid such ingredients when possible.
Five Food Felons
Here are some foods that can surprisingly sabotage your diet:
Sugary Fruit Juices
This might sound healthy since the word “fruit” is in the beverage. If you have a juicer at home and make fresh juice with fruits and green leafy veggies that’s one thing.
The problem is most store-bought drinks are loaded with additives. Commercial fruit juices can have even more sugar than soda. They also are highly-processed and lower in nutrients vs. whole foods.
This might be surprising since bread is made from wheat. The problem is white bread contains highly-processed grains compared to whole wheat bread. It also frequently includes lots of added sugar.
A 2014 study found that eating 2 slices of white bread/day increased the risk of weight gain/obesity by 40%. Some better options are cornbread, Ezekiel bread, and almond flour bread.
We’re not talking about brewing your favorite blend. These are high-calorie store-bought versions of the popular drink from coffee beans.
The problem with these beverages is stuff like white sugar and non-dairy creamer. It’s these ingredients that make the coffee drink high-calorie and unhealthy.
A better option is freshly-brewed black coffee. Can you add a little real milk or cream? That’s not a problem.
Potato Chips and French Fries
Aren’t these foods somewhat healthy since they’re made of potatoes? If you bake or boil a real potato it can be healthy. They’re chock-full of potassium and fiber.
The problem is how French fries and potato chips are prepared. They’re often deep-fried so they’re high in “bad” fat. They’re also usually loaded with sodium and artificial flavors/preservatives. Finally, no potato skin means less fiber.
This food can be healthy but it usually isn’t. for example, you can make healthy pizza with whole wheat dough, made-from-scratch sauce, homemade mozzarella, and fresh meat/veggie toppings.
The problem is a restaurant and store-bought pizza pies are usually unhealthy. That’s because they’re loaded with salt, sugar, and fat. They also tend to contain processed meats instead of the real stuff.
Foods to Eat
While you should avoid foods that are loaded with unhealthy ingredients there are many healthy options you can swap in including these:
This is a healthy dairy product that’s loaded with “good” bacteria known as probiotics. When picking a yogurt it’s a good idea to go with plain yogurt.
Watch out for yogurt with added fruit. These products tend to be loaded with sugar even if they have “real fruit.” It’s better to add your own fruit so it’s even fresher.
Fruits and Veggies
The US government’s nutrition guide MyPlate recommends that about half of people’s diets include fruits and vegetables. They’re loaded with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
It’s also good to eat different kinds of fruits/vegetables. This allows you to get different vitamins/minerals from them.
Finally, when preparing veggies, it’s important not to over-cook them. That results in fewer nutrients and a mushy mess.
Real and Lean Meats
If you eat meat it’s important to eat real meat. Avoid processed/canned meats since the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) reports they’re cancer-causing.
Low-fat meats like chicken and fish are generally better. If you’re going to eat beef or pork make sure they’re lean cuts.
A good diet also includes a variety of meats. This provides you with different amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.
Another important issue is how the meat is prepared. Watch out for fried foods and deep-fried in particular. Better cooking options include boiled, broiled, steamed, baked, and grilled.
MyPlate recommends that at least half your grains be whole grains. They’re healthier than processed and refined grains since the husks have been removed. These are loaded with nutrients like Vitamin Bs and fiber.
Some options include popcorn, whole wheat bread, barley, oatmeal, and brown rice. Whole grains are super-healthy and a better option than the five food felons.