Diet foods to avoid. So you’ve decided that summer is here and that you are going to start eating healthy and that the diet starts today. You clean out your pantry, head over to your local grocery store and stock up on all the low fat items you can find. Sounds like a great plan, right? I’m going to counter this with a big fat WRONG. I’ve done those diets where you eat half real foods, nothing tastes great, but you keep going until one day, when it all stops and you bail hard. Then the whole cycle begins again. So I’m here to tell you to stop the madness and start eating real and healthy foods instead of stuffing yourself with so called “diet foods.”
DIET FOODS TO AVOID
Rice cakes. Okay, I admit that I do enjoy the occasional rice cake (something about the crunchy texture), but if that’s what you are relying on then you are making a mistake. How many times do you eat just one rice cake? I’m guessing never and two rice cakes equal roughly one small slice of whole grain bread. Not only that, but because they are high on the glycemic index they’ll cause your blood sugar to rise, which means that you’ll feel hungry much faster than you would with the a fore mentioned bread. I’m not saying that rice cakes are inherently bad, it’s just that they aren’t really filled with nutrients either and when you are switching to a healthy diet, your goal is to stick with foods which are actually good for you. Other great options are carrot sticks with hummus or even rice cakes with natural peanut or nut butter and apple slices.
Low fat salad dressing. Why do we use salad dressing in the first place? It’s really there to enhance our food. An ideal salad will be rich with delicious flavours, as it seamlessly blends your choice of oil, spices and vegetables. When it comes to a great dressing, simple and natural is better. Why would you ever want to mask the taste of yummy vegetables with an artificial sauce? Besides, you aren’t able to absorb some of the nutrients found in your vegetables without the fat from an oil. Pick up any generic bottle of low or fat free salad dressing, flip it over and read the ingredients. You won’t find a whole lot of natural. Usually, the bottles are filled with all sorts of preservatives and flavour enhancers and even sugar. Who needs that? Your body is unable to function properly when it takes in a lot of crap, so it’s best to stick with the simplest ingredients or none at all.
Cereal bars. When I see commercials for cereal bars being a healthy diet option, I go a little mad. Sure, on paper, granola and dried fruit and nuts sound great, but take a look at the ingredient list and you’ll find that these bars often have as many calories, sugar and fat as a candy bar. When you are trying to be healthy and trying to lose weight, this can be detrimental to your progress.
Low fat peanut butter. Peanut butter contains monounsaturated fat which is good for you and therefore a healthy option for when you are trying to lose weight. The caloric difference in low fat and full fat peanut butters is minimal, but what you’ll get instead is added sugar and other fillers to replace the fat. Your better option is to eat less of the full fat, more natural version.
Fat free cheese. I love a delicious slice of cheese. There may be nothing better than a dinner that’s comprised of a fresh baguette, olives and some mouthwatering cheese. So many of us are afraid of the full fat versions that we opt for their highly processed, artificial counterparts. Most of the time, they are tasteless and because they are low fat, we have a tendency to eat more of them. So, whatever calories you are saving per slice, you will make up in the amount you eat. Not only that, but low fat cheeses are usually much higher in sodium. If you are worried about your cholesterol levels but desperately want some cheese then it’s better to have a few slices of full fat, flavour packed cheese than a sub standard pizza that’s drenched in greasy cheese.
Turkey bacon. This one was prompted by a recent conversation with friends who were saying that they had tried to switch to turkey bacon as a healthier option. While there may be some brands that do provide you with fewer calories and less sodium, most are roughly the equivalent to regular bacon or (surprise) even fattier. If you can’t live without the occasional strip then it’s best to opt for the real thing, just look for a leaner slice and keep it down to two or three max.
Diet soda. Personally, I am not a fan of diet soda, so I don’t really understand how anyone would want to drink it, but if you have switched to it as healthier option from its full calorie laden, high sugar counterpart, you might want to rethink that. Over and over again, studies have shown that artificial sweeteners wreak havoc on our bodies. Basically, they confuse the body and cause us to want to eat more calories as they pass through our system. If you are trying to lose weight then it’s best to reach for a cool glass of water with a few slices of orange or lime or mint.
The problem with many diet foods, unhealthy fillers aside, is that psychologically we feel like we can eat more of them and that turns into a vicious cycle of overeating, reaching for more unhealthy options and then gaining weight instead of losing it. The best thing you can do when you are trying to lose weight is to reach for tasty foods that you love, but diminish the portion sizes while upping your daily movement.