I came across a lecture on a website recently, which reminded us all of the basic yet fundamentally important fact that: ‘just because it says “diet” or “low-fat” does not mean it is healthy for you.’
A diet expert tells those longing for a slimmer body: ‘Don’t be afraid of carbs – quinoa, lentils and barley actually aid in weight loss. High-fat foods are not the enemy either – avocado, fatty fish and coconut oil are actually very good for you.’
So here goes…diet foods the effectively defeat the objective:
- FLAVOURED FAT-FREE YOGART: “When companies take out the fat, they add in sugar. Although they might appear lower in calories, sometimes a single serving of yogurt can contain up to 15 grams of sugar,” a diet expert explains. “Choose plain-Greek yogurt because it is higher in protein and add in your own flavour such as fresh berries or cinnamon.”
2. STORE PURCHASED SMOOTHIES: “Many store bought smoothies are loaded with high calorie ingredients, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners that bring their “health” factor down,” says Roots. “To be safe make a smoothie at home, it’s very easy and then you know exactly what is going in it!”
3. ‘LIGHT’ SALAD DRESSINGS: According to research- “you need to eat salads with fat-based dressings to get the most out of the vegetables. They also contain very few calories, which may be a good thing for weight loss, but a salad with low-calories will not keep you full for long. Therefore, you will end up snacking or eating more at your next meal.”
4. FAST FOOD SALADS: According to ABCNews: “the Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch salad at McDonalds contains 13 grams of fat and 270 calories, and with light balsamic vinaigrette dressing it comes to 360 calories and 21 grams of fat”
5. PROTEIN / MEAL REPLACEMENT BARS: “The general rules are when you flip the bar over and notice the ingredient list takes up almost the entire side (which means it’s loaded with chemicals and fillers), it contains more than 200 calories per serving, and contains more than 8-10 grams of sugar, it is closer to a candy bar and should be avoided,” Roots says.
6. TRIAL MIX: “Nuts, dried fruit and seeds mixed together seem like a great diet food to snack on, but the truth is that it is extremely difficult to stick to the proper serving size. Many people do not realise how much they are eating and they end up consuming almost a half a day’s worth of calories in one sitting.” Now that’s an achievement if you ask me…perhaps not the right one though. Ah well. Next time!
7. ORGANIC COOKIES: “Just because something is organic doesn’t mean it is healthy or if a package of cookies only has 100 calories, most likely it is loaded with artificial sweeteners and chemicals, which make them actually worse for you than eating an actual cookie.”
8. DIET COLA (or ‘soda’ if you are that way inclined): Again, we are reminded of another fundamental fact: “Just because it has the word “diet” in it does not mean its diet-friendly.” The site goes on to elaborate: “Diet soda has been linked to the development of metabolic syndrome and obesity. In a study conducted by the University of Texas Health Science Centre, people who drank two or more diet sodas a day had waist sizes that were six times bigger than those who didn’t drink diet soda.
9. GLUTEN FREE…ANYTHING!: The site expands- “Some gluten-free foods are healthy, but the truth is, there are many foods claiming to be gluten-free that are not diet friendly. Any food that is pre-packaged will never be as good as eating a food in its natural form such as fruits, vegetables, and lean protein,” says Roots. When choosing gluten-free foods make sure you check the nutrition labels for ingredients such as the sugar content, sodium level and calories – “the more ingredients you can’t pronounce, the worse it is for you.”
10. FRUIT JUICE: An expert reports: “Fruit juice isn’t always as fresh and natural as it may seem. It may even contain more sugar and calories that a sugary soft drink.” According to Authority Nutrition, “fruit juice contains some nutrients, but less compared to many plant foods. It contains no fibre and is just as high in sugar and calories as most sugar-sweetened beverages.”
11. GRANOLA: “Granola and granola bars may be one of the least healthy snacks – most are loaded with sugar and have very little fibre. One cup of granola can equal about 600 calories, about 25 grams of sugar and almost 30 grams of fat. If you really want to purchase granola, make sure you read the labels and choose the option low in calories and fat.”
12. FROZEN DINNERS: “most often these pre-portioned frozen dinners are loaded with preservatives and sodium and are lacking enough vegetables to have nutritional value,” says Roots. She suggests creating your own “frozen dinner,” by making a large portion of something like chicken stir-fry and keeping in in a tupperware container in the freezer for the week.
13. DRIED FRUIT: So, it’s a common fact: fruit is great for a diet snack”. This is because, of course “it’s loaded with vitamins and minerals that are good for your health”. A sitte claims: “Dried fruit tends to be high in calories and natural sugar. Also, considering dried fruit is energy-dense, it’s much easier to eat large amounts of it at a time, which in turn can result in excess sugar and calorie intake”- according to Authority Nutrition.
14. RICE CAKES: Perhaps a bit of a shocker to some this one- “Rice cakes rank high on the glycaemic index, making it the kind of carbohydrate that will leave you hungry again in a couple hours, while also sending your blood sugar soaring”.
15. VEGGIE BURGERS: The truth is revealed…”these burgers aren’t made with just vegetables; they are based on processed soy. They also tend to have an excess amount of sodium, and when you add toppings to it, your calorie consumption will go sky high.”