If you’re already eating healthy, stuff like cheeseburgers, chips, fries and soda was probably crossed off your dietary don’t list long ago. It’s what might be on your current grocery list, however, that is still hurting your weight loss and fitness goals. It’s the not so obvious foods that appear to be a health conscious solution that are actually, well, not so healthy. We examine 10 of these incognito items, which you should avoid or at the very least tweak.
Traditionally considered a health food, rice cakes contain considerable amounts of high glycemic index carbohydrates. When eaten, foods rated high on the glycemic index will cause a rapid rise in your blood sugar level. These simple carbs may stimulate unwanted fat storage and slow your body’s fat-burning capabilities. So choose your snacks wisely and eat in moderation.
Fruit juice is not only calorie-dense, but also high in sugar. And consuming too much of it may not be the best choice for your weight loss plan. Notably, one primary sugar found in fruit juice is fructose, which has some unique characteristics that cause it to be stored as fat. By replacing juice with water, you will not only be saving between 110 and 200 calories per cup, but you’ll be cutting down significantly on your sugar intake as well.
Oatmeal is a staple in many nutrition plans. However, sugar is usually high on the ingredient list of flavored oatmeal packets, turning what could be a nutritious source of high fiber into a high-sugar food that invites fat storage. A wise choice would be to cut down on the packets or stick with non-flavored oatmeal, adding some ground cinnamon or fresh berries for that additional flavor.
Although alcohol itself doesn’t contain fat, it is loaded with calories! When you add in mixers like soda, juice, sugar, and other ingredients, the calories can really add up. The more calories you consume in the form of alcohol, the less likely you are to eat enough food to obtain adequate nutrients. To make matters worse, excessive alcohol consumption can interfere with the body’s metabolism of nutrients, especially protein. This also has a profound effect on your body’s ability to tone muscle, and it drastically inhibits fat burning.
While the greens and other veggies you load up your salad with are perfect additions to any weight loss plan, it’s what you put on your lettuce that could make your salad as deadly as a cheeseburger. A typical salad dressing contains about 6 to 8 grams of fat and around 75 calories just per teaspoon! Multiple that by the 3 or 4 teaspoons most people usually put on their salads, and you’re adding upwards of 30 grams of fat and 300 calories for that perceived healthy, leafy green serving. Stick to the low-fat options, but make sure you still read the label. An olive oil based vinaigrette is usually a safe bet, or go the homemade route, which is easy, fresh and lets you know exactly what you’re putting in your salad and body.
Muffins can be very calorie-dense, and a large one can often pack up to 400 calories before even adding any butter. If you can’t resist, go for a low-fat muffin, but be aware that many of them contain more sugar to compensate for the lack of fat, increasing their calorie count.
Breaded Chicken or Fish
Breaded chicken and fish might contain a good serving of protein, but they’re also usually loaded with a lot of unwanted fat. In fact, a typical 6-piece meal of breaded chicken (approximately 3.8 ounces.) can contain 20 grams of fat, and that before adding any diet unfriendly dips. Stick to a grilled chicken breast or fillet of salmon to avoid sky rocketing your fat and calorie count.
If you watch Seinfeld, you know the hazards of indulging in frozen yogurt, even the ones that are labelled nonfat. Frozen yogurt has long been one of the most popular “health foods” available. What many don’t realize is that while nonfat frozen yogurt might have less fat, that doesn’t mean it’s calorie-free. Nonfat frozen yogurt can still contain carbohydrates that can be converted into fat. Many frozen yogurt varieties are also low in protein and even calcium. Try sticking to regular yogurt, which is which is higher in both protein and calcium and is lower in calories.
A fresh submarine sandwich may seem like a healthier option than a lot of fast foods today, but that foot long has some hidden dietary downfalls. It’s the meat! Many commercially available deli meats are high in fat and sodium, some also contain sugar. Marbled cold cuts like salami are even worse, due to their higher fat content. Stick with a lean chicken or turkey breast option, or better yet, have a veggie sub.
While many sports drinks do a good job rehydrating you, they can also do an equally “good” job filling you up with added calories thanks to the sugars and artificial sweeteners they’re usually loaded with. Stick to water, or at the very least, water down your sports or energy drinks so you’re not gulping quite as many sugars per sip.