The road to fitness is long and challenging. If you’ve embarked on it, then chances are you’ve cleared your schedule for a workout session everyday and watched a lot of inspirational “transformation” videos.
And, if you’ve vowed to eat clean, you’ve probably switched to healthier foods as well. But, if you have been working hard at shedding those pounds only to see no change in your weight, some deceptively “healthy” foods might be at play. Here are a few of them.
Sure, granola is a quick, easy, and oh-so-delicious breakfast option. But, one cup packs about 270 calories. That’s more calories than a bar of chocolate and a can of soda. The calories also come staggeringly close to a cheeseburger!
Furthermore, if there’s one thing we know about granola, it’s the fact that we can never have just one serving. So, save your stock of granola for a cheat meal and opt for low calorie, low fat options like oatmeal.1 2
2. Fruit Juice
It’s easy to switch a can of soda with a glass of juice. But, if your fruit juice is coming out of a carton and not fresh out of a juicer, you might be having more sugar than you should.
Most commercial juices have high levels of sucrose and sodium in them. They might also remove all fiber from the juice.3
While fiber is necessary for weight loss, sucrose and sodium are linked to weight gain.4 5 6 The United States Department Of Agriculture recommends that you get your fruit intake from whole fruits, so whenever you can, opt for a whole fruit or juice your fruits yourself.7
3. Salad Dressing
Salads have become synonymous with weight loss and diets. But, not all salads are created equal. While leafy greens and vegetables are good for you, we often douse them in dressing to mask their taste. And, most salad dressings are high in sodium, fat, and sugar. A simple ranch dressing contains 64 calories and 901 mg of sodium in just 1 tablespoon.8
Choose to make your own salad dressing with vinegar and a little oil. Ask for your salad dressing on the side in restaurants to monitor how much you eat.9
This popular health food has featured in desserts, salads, and sandwiches. But, while Avocado is high in vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and fiber, it can easily be overdone.10
Owing to its high fat content, avocado is high in calories, 240 in a cup to be precise. Too much avocado, and you’re looking at weight gain.11 Instead, stick to half an avocado a day, which has 161 calories. Research shows that eating half an avocado after lunch improves satiety and prevents overeating.12
Yogurt is a good source of lean protein and gut-friendly bacteria. But, processed yogurt often contains added sugar, honey, fruit juice concentrates, and the worst of them all – high-fructose corn syrup.13
Just one tablespoon of high-fructose corn syrup has 53 calories and 14.37 grams of sugar.14 Studies have shown that it increases weight and fat deposits significantly. Instead, choose to have plain yogurt without any added sugar.15
6. Peanut Butter
Peanut Butter has a story very similar to that of avocado. While it is a good source of protein, healthy fats, potassium, and fiber, it is calorie dense. Just one tablespoon has 95 calories. That’s more calories than a tablespoon of chocolate syrup!
Some processed options contain unhealthy ingredients like hydrogenated vegetable oil, added sugar, and salt.16 So, ensure you have peanut butter in moderation. Opt for unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter or make your own.17 18
7. Energy Bars
Supermarkets are lined with a diverse set of options when it comes to energy bars. They’re convenient, delicious, and seem perfect when you don’t have the time to sit down for lunch. But, most energy bars are highly processed mix of protein powders, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and synthetic ingredients.
Most bars also taste incredibly sweet because they have high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, or sucrose added to them. These ingredients cause blood sugar imbalances and weight gain. This is why most studies have concluded that there really isn’t much of a difference between a bar of chocolate and an energy bar. Instead, make your own at home or look at the ingredients list to find the healthiest alternatives.19 20
A good rule book when it comes to eating healthy is to look at the ingredients list when you buy something. By keeping a track of your calorie intake and where most of your calories come from, you’re sure to lose weight and reach your goals quickly.
|↑1, ↑16||What are Calories Anyway? Get Fit Tennessee.|
|↑2||Low-Calorie, Lower Fat Alternative Foods. US Department Of Health And Human Sciences.|
|↑3||Densupsoontorn, Narumon, Pipop Jirapinyo, Nuchnoi Thamonsiri, Renu Wongarn, Panarat Phosuya, Amornrat Tritiprat, Siriphan Patraarat, Pannee Pidatcha, and Lerson Suwannthol. “Comparison of the nutrient content of fresh fruit juices vs commercial fruit juices.” Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand= Chotmaihet thangphaet 85 (2002): S732-8.|
|↑4||Raben, Anne, Tatjana H. Vasilaras, A. Christina Møller, and Arne Astrup. “Sucrose compared with artificial sweeteners: different effects on ad libitum food intake and body weight after 10 wk of supplementation in overweight subjects.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 76, no. 4 (2002): 721-729.|
|↑5||Navia, Beatriz, Aránzazu Aparicio, José Miguel Perea, Napoleon Pérez-Farinós, Carmen Villar-Villalba, Estefania Labrado, and Rosa María Ortega. “Sodium intake may promote weight gain; results of the FANPE study in a representative sample of the adult Spanish population.” Nutrición Hospitalaria 29, no. 6 (2014).|
|↑6||Slavin, Joanne L. “Dietary fiber and body weight.” Nutrition 21, no. 3 (2005): 411-418.|
|↑7||Juicing 101: Nutrition Tips for Consumers. United States Department Of Agriculture.|
|↑8||Basic Report: 04639, Salad dressing, ranch dressing, regular. United States Department Of Agriculture.|
|↑9||Sodium in Your Diet: Use the Nutrition Facts Label and Reduce Your Intake. US Food And Drug Administration.|
|↑10||Dreher, Mark L., and Adrienne J. Davenport. “Hass avocado composition and potential health effects.” Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 53, no. 7 (2013): 738-750.|
|↑11||Basic Report: 09037, Avocados, raw, all commercial varieties. United States Department Of Agriculture.|
|↑12||Wien, Michelle, Ella Haddad, Keiji Oda, and Joan Sabaté. “A randomized 3×3 crossover study to evaluate the effect of Hass avocado intake on post-ingestive satiety, glucose and insulin levels, and subsequent energy intake in overweight adults.” Nutrition journal 12, no. 1 (2013): 155.|
|↑13||How to choose a healthy yogurt. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑14||Basic Report: 19351, Syrups, corn, high-fructose. United States Department Of Agriculture.|
|↑15||A sweet problem: Princeton researchers find that high-fructose corn syrup prompts considerably more weight gain. Princeton University.|
|↑17||Is peanut butter healthy? Yes, says the Harvard Heart Letter. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑18||Cabot, Sandra. Can’t Lose Weight?: Unlock the Secrets That Keep You Fat!. Scb International, 2002.|
|↑19||Eating to boost energy. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑20||Rubin, Jordan. The Maker’s Diet for Weight Loss: 16-week strategy for burning fat, cleansing toxins, and living a healthier life!. Destiny Image Publishers, 2013.|