As more and more Americans are being affected by obesity, it is more important than ever to be properly educated on foods we should be consuming and foods we should probably avoid if weight has been an ongoing issue. A lot of “diet foods” that are usually distinctly labeled with low-fat, low-calorie, or fat-free have been marketed to people wanting to lose the extra pounds. Unfortunately, some of these labels are actually misleading and can cause weight gain instead. Keep reading to learn more about these deceptive foods.
1. Smoothies/Pressed Juices
Did you know that many smoothies, juices, and certain protein shakes are loaded with calories and sugar? Although there are some nutritious protein shakes, smoothies or juices available, many protein shakes pack about 400 calories in a bottle. These types of drinks are easy to drink, which can cause an overconsumption in unnecessary calories and sugar your body would benefit from avoiding. Although it is important to include fruits and vegetables in your diet, drinking it usually contains more than the suggested amount of servings per day. Try to stick to non-starchy vegetables such as kale and low-sugar fruits such as lemon to help control your daily calorie intake. You can also take supplements to ensure you are getting the right amount of nutrients without unnecessary sugar and calories.
2. Alternative Sweeteners
Most religious label-readers avoid white table sugar like the plague these days and have been opting for “healthier” alternative sweeteners such as erythritol, stevia, and agave instead. Although these products are labeled as healthy, excess consumption of any sweetener (even natural ones) can lead to weight gain. For example, agave has more calories and are considered extremely high in fructose, a type of sugar that can cause insulin resistance and fat buildup. Sugar alcohols are known to cause digestive problems such as bloating, diarrhea, and gas. A lot of artificial sweeteners can even encourage more sugar cravings. Regardless of what type of sugar you’re consuming, it can contribute to weight gain so it is crucial that we limit our sugar intake, including alternative sweeteners.
3. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit contains lots of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals but it can easily be overeaten since it is smaller in size and sweeter similar to a gummy candy. A single serving of dried fruit actually contains more sugar and calories than an equal amount of fresh fruit. If you enjoy eating dried fruit, a great way to make sure you don’t overeat is to measure ¼ cup (50g) of dried fruit and sticking to it. Overall, however, fresh fruit is considered healthier than dried fruit.
4. Premade Salads
Another shocking diet food that can cause weight gain is a premade salad! Although salads usually come with a variety of super fiber-rich greens and vegetables that can be a great aid in helping you shed unwanted pounds, premade salads found in grocery stores and fast food restaurants can be packed with extra calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats paired with high-calorie dressings. A good tip is to make your own salad with healthy ingredients and have your dressing on the side to help portion control.
Related: 5 Best Foods to Help You Lose Weight
5. Diet Soda
Contrary to popular belief, a beverage that has 0 calories does not always mean healthy. Research has actually determined diet soda consumption increases weight gain and those who drank diet soda had a large waistline than those who did not. In addition, it has been observed in a study that people who consume diet soda have increased risks of high blood sugar, blood pressure, diabetes, and other metabolic problems but there is no solid evidence that diet soda is directly the cause of obesity.
6. Low-Fat Foods
It makes sense to cut out foods that are high in fat while losing weight, but doing this can be considered counterproductive instead. Generally, low-fat or non-fat versions of foods contain more sugar than the original version. Even consuming sugar in small amounts can add to weight gain as well as increase chances of heart disease and issues with your blood sugar.
7. Frozen Yogurt
Many people have chosen frozen yogurt for dessert as a healthy alternative instead of traditional ice cream, but this can also be a bad choice as overconsumption here is also a problem. Most frozen yogurt shops have self-serving fro-yo machines that let you fill your own cups (that are pretty big in size), making it a challenge to stay within a healthy portion. Equally enticing, there are self-serve candy and other sugary toppings to add even more sugar and calories to your dessert. Although frozen yogurt can be healthier than traditional ice cream, try to opt for the smallest sized cup available and skip the toppings or only add a little fresh fruit.
This popular seemingly healthy dish has been a great go-to for people who are health-conscious. Sushi can be healthy, depending on what you order. Sushi rolls with ingredients such as tempura batter, lots of rice, mayonnaise, eel sauce, regular soy sauce for dipping, etc. can add a ton of calories. Instead, choose sashimi (raw fish only), nigiri (raw fish over rice), or rolls with healthier ingredients such as cucumber, avocado, and fresh fish to lightly dip in low-sodium soy sauce as your weapon of choice to help tackle this weight loss plan.
Related: How to Lose Weight with Intermittent Fasting
Many diet foods are marketed as healthy, but in reality, they may really hinder your efforts in losing weight, cause weight gain, and negatively impact your overall health in many ways if you don’t do the proper research first. It is easy to be fooled by “low-fat,” “sugar-free,” or “low-calorie” branded foods, but keep in mind this is not always the way to go. In fact, following a whole foods diet with healthy fats, protein, and fresh fruits and vegetables can help you lose weight instead, with proper portion control and exercise. Weight gain is primarily caused by people eating more calories than they burn. This doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally enjoy some of your favorite cheat snacks or meals, as part of a balanced diet - as long as you can have some self-control without going overboard. Whatever food decisions you make, make sure you keep health a priority to help you continue to look Ageless. Cheers!
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