Today’s market is flooded with foods that are overly processed and lauded as the newest weight loss sensation. “Eat this and lose the weight!” they scream from supermarket shelves. We know the healthiest way to achieve weight loss is through a balanced approach of adhering to a natural, organic, whole foods diet coupled with exercise, and whenever possible, natural supplements.
It’s becoming harder and harder to try to figure out just what to eat! Here is a short guide of five foods marketed as diet aids that will not help you in your weight loss efforts.
1. Anything low fat or fat free
Low fat or fat free foods compensate for their lack of proper texture and fat by adding extra sugar and fillers. They are not actually healthier for you at all. The difficult part is many of them DO taste good. So good that you have to eat about twelve of them to really feel satisfied (both emotionally and physically) thus negating the lower calorie factor of that particular “diet food”. You’ve also just consumed a whole lot of chemical which leaves you worse off than before you started. You would be far better off consuming a little bit of the “real” food than a whole lot of the low fat or fat free substitute.
Many low fat or fat free items also contain a chemical that makes them somewhat irresistible. So once you start eating them, it becomes that much more difficult to stop.
Not all yogurts are created equally. Many people are surprised to discover that that delicious serving of frozen yogurt is actually higher in fat and calories than a scoop of ice cream!
When choosing a yogurt, carefully read the label to check for appropriate fat and sugar contents. It is best to choose a plain yogurt and sweeten it yourself with fresh fruit or a natural sweetener such as honey. Many commercial yogurts contain a lot of artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners that can have a huge impact on your calorie count and weight loss efforts.
Many single serving size containers are loaded with enough calories for two snacks!
3. Trail Mix
Trail mix disguises itself as a diet food because it of its plethora of nuts. But while nuts are high in protein, they are also very high in fat. Many of the add-ins along with the nuts are not healthy at all and can range from chocolate covered candies to deep fried fruits.
Trail mix will provide more sustainable energy for you than some other snacks you could choose, but be sure to weigh and measure before you enjoy. Better yet, pick up a bag of natural almonds instead.
4. Diet sodas
Diet sodas seem like they would be the perfect answer for people who love something sweet but don’t want to spend the calories on a beverage. However, diet sodas are loaded with chemical sweeteners. These chemical sweeteners are the enemy of our bodies.
Our bodies are not able to recognize many of the sweeteners added to diet sodas and have no idea how to process them. Many doctors believe that the prevalence of artificial sweeteners in the North American diet is a leading reason why we have seen such an increase in cancer these days.
Also, many regular diet drink consumers report that they suffer from more impulsive eating than those who simply avoid these sodas altogether. Many also went on to develop issues with a sluggish metabolism which is the enemy of weight loss.
We really don’t know the full effects of artificial sweeteners on our bodies. Best to avoid them altogether.
Many who are craving a “sweet fix” but who do not want to spend the calories on a soda will choose a smoothie. Theoretically, smoothies are great for you. They contain whole fruit, typically lots of different varieties. They also contain dairy which promotes eating satiety. However, when you consume your fruit in a liquid form, you miss out on the benefits of a lot of the fiber because the blender has done the processing for you.
In addition to this, it takes a lot of fruit to make one regular sized smoothie. Would you get more eating satisfaction and fullness from eating it whole or from having a blended treat? Could you even eat all of the fruit that goes into a smoothie in one sitting?
Smoothies typically contain a lot more sugar than you would think they might. Enjoy one for a special treat, but for best weight loss results, skip the smoothie and snack on the whole fruit instead.
If you absolutely must stick with your smoothies then here’s a couple of useful tricks –
- Always use the full fruit and avoid juicing. Juicing removes the fruit fiber and we’re starting to see that this isn’t such a good thing for dieters. Fiber helps with nutrient assimilation and also provides a feeling of fullness, which is important if you’re using your smoothie as a meal substitute.
- Add some extra protein if you’re dieting. Many of us unwittingly cut out important proteins when we’re dieting and it can be very counter-productive. It can lead to muscle mass loss and other issues. A good source of protein and the perfect accompaniment for any smoothie is bee pollen. Simply add a heaped teaspoon of bee pollen into the processor alongside your favorite fruits and enjoy the weight loss benefits of bee pollen. While you’re at it, why not add a teaspoon of honey and some royal jelly powder to your drinks! For more information on bee pollen and dieting, read our article here
- Use ice in your smoothie to reduce the amount of milk or yogurt. Ice can give you the creamy texture you crave, without the calories. Obviously blend the ice in the processor with the fruit, but don’t over-process.
Choosing foods that are both healthful and nutritious for us can feel like a minefield at times. By avoiding these potential diet disasters, you are well on your way to a healthier you!