5 “Healthy” Foods That Sabotage Weight Loss
Making bad food choices will not help with anyone’s diet. Just a note, it’s not all about the calories, if it were you could drink light beer and eat jerky until you reached 1200 each day. We’re just going to jump right in with this, okay?
1. Going gluten-free. Crackers, cookies, pasta, flour, hot dog buns, and more. We wouldn’t be surprised if there’s soda labeled gluten-free soon. We want to stress that IN NO WAY do the words gluten-free equal healthy, more nutritious, or less “fattening.” Having a triple cheeseburger but opting for the gluten-free bun makes zero difference. For those of you with Celiac disease or a proven gluten intolerance – of course you should be going out of your way to find gluten-free items, however in the general population, it is completely unnecessary. You may have been buying products that are twice as expensive and offer you no additional nutritional benefits. A handful of gluten-free crackers made with 35 ingredients (most of which you can’t pronounce) are not good for you. A gluten-free chocolate chip cookie is no better for you than a regular old Chips-Ahoy.
2. Fat-free cheese. It’s Tuesday and you’re making tacos. You opt for the fat-free shredded Mexican cheese because you’re on a diet. Good choice, right? Wrong. You’re more likely to use twice as much of the flavorless fat-free cheese as you do the regular trying to achieve the same flavor or texture, and you’re still not satisfied. Have you read the ingredients in those types of cheeses? Depending on the brand, you can find things like potato starch, “processed cheese food” whatever that is, inulin, cellulose powder (which is wood pulp, aka sawdust), artificial colors, yeast, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, plastic… do I need to go on? You know what I want in my cheese? Cheese. Cultured milk, enzymes (which turn the milk into cheese) and maybe some spices. If you read an ingredient and your brain doesn’t register it as food, neither will your body.
3. Reduced-fat peanut butter. Nuts have GOOD, healthy fat. Why would you want a product that takes out the good fat and adds in more sugar? If you’re looking for a healthy peanut butter, go to the bulk section of the grocery store and find the stuff thats ground right then and there, with the only ingredient being peanuts. No added oils, sugars, salts, nothing. Just nuts, the way it should be.
4. Fat-free Ranch and fat-free mayo. Similar to peanut butter, most of these dressings have the fat taken out and sugar added. They’ve got to make the product palatable and taste good somehow, so they take out the fat and sneak in more sugar. Your best bet is balsamic vinegar and a splash of extra virgin olive oil on a salad. As far as mayo goes, most of the fat-free versions’ first three ingredients are water, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. Try adding some healthy fats to your sandwich and use avocado in place of your creamy spread. Add hummus or whole grain mustard if avocados aren’t your thing (even though they should be). Fat has been demonized in the past few decades, leading us to buy anything and everything labeled reduced fat or fat-free. The irony is, as a nation we’ve only gotten fatter. There is commercial mayonnaise available made with olive oil, this is a healthier option, it is naturally lower in fat and the fat is the healthy kind.
5. Rice cakes. One question: why? Does anyone actually enjoy eating rice cakes? Sure, they’re 3 calories a pop but have you ever had a rice cake then thought, “Dang, I’m glad I ate that?” Stop eating “filler” foods that have no actual nutritional value just because they’re low in calories or fat. Instead go for a whole, natural, unprocessed food filled with nutrients that’s going to satisfy your tummy and your taste buds. If you’re hungry, truly hungry, then eat something! Pay attention to your body and listen to your hunger cues. There’s a difference between a craving and hunger. When you’re having a craving, you want a particular food, i.e. chips, chocolate, lasagna, etc. and only that food or something similar will do. Hunger is when anything will do. An apple, a bowl of cereal, a steak, whatever. If you’re trying to decide whether you’re hungry or you’re having a craving, ask yourself, would an apple satisfy me? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably hungry. If the answer is no, but a Snickers bar would, then you’re just having a craving.
The key idea here is to eat healthier. Pay attention to labels – stay away from corn syrup and xanthan gum – and be nice to your body. It has a difficult job, don’t make it harder.