We all know that if you want to lose weight quickly and in a healthy way, you need to eat right as well as exercise. However, these foods could be slowing your progress and preventing you achieving your goals.
Seemingly ‘diet friendly’ foods could actually be making your weight loss journey more difficult. This could be because they are deceptively high in sugar, or because they aren’t properly filling, which leads to snacking and a greater challenge to lose weight.
Here, the experts advise us which seemingly ‘diet friendly’ foods we should avoid…
When it comes down to it, sadly, crisps are crisps. While you might think opting for vegetable crisps is a diet friendly option, they can contain more fat and saturated fat than popular ‘normal’ crisps!
In fact, a 40g packet of Tyrrells Mixed Root Vegetable Crisps contains 14.3g of fat, that’s more than a 51g Mars Bar (8.6g) and a 52g Original Glazed Krispy Kreme Doughnut (8.3g)!
This shocking fact was unveiled as part of a ‘Behind the Label’ study by Wren Kitchens alongside nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed.
Charlotte thinks that the psychological danger of believing ‘healthy alternatives’ are guilt free can be as detrimental to our health as the ingredients themselves.
She said: “The concern with products that are often seen as ‘healthier alternatives’ such as vegetable crisps, is they don’t always match up to their reputations. Crisps are crisps, and even if they are made with vegetables, they are likely to contain too much in the way of fat, saturated fat and salt. In fact, the vegetable crisps here have higher levels of saturated fat and salt than some well-known, regular crisp brands.”
Charlotte added: “As a nutritionist, I’ve seen this first hand in weight loss clinics where clients may eat even as much as double a portion size of a product if it’s perceived to be healthy.”
The most obvious healthy choice is a green juice or smoothie – green means healthy, right?! Unfortunately, shop bought smoothies are full of fructose, which means when you’re over that sugar high you’ll be even hungrier than before. Why? Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com, explains:
“Shop-bought fruit smoothies can seem like a healthy choice – fruit is good for us, right? But a single serving bottle of fruit smoothie can easily contain 25 grams of sugar or more – that’s 5 to 6 teaspoons! Therefore, these drinks are not a great idea especially when trying to shed a few extra pounds.”
“Try making your own smoothie at home with 100g of berries, quarter of a large avocado (or half a small one), a small handful of spinach and topped up with unsweetened almond milk. As well as containing less sugar, it will fill you up for longer and make you less likely to want to snack on sweet foods later in the day”
Cereal or Granola Bars
A healthy alternative to a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar to snack on right? Unfortunately not always! Cereal or Granola bars can be full of refined sugar, which can actually see you put on weight if you eat too many!
Shona advises, “Many cereal bars contain a great deal of refined sugar and worse – sugar syrups, such as glucose and high fructose corn syrup. These types of sugar syrups travel through our bodies very quickly and are potentially damaging on a cellular level – which isn’t good for immune system and skin for example.”
A great alternative to cereal bars are almonds, which will keep you fuller for longer and are just as easy to keep in your handbag.
Lily Soutter, nutritionist and weight loss expert at www.lilysoutternutrition.com, explains, “Almonds are often avoided due to their high calorie content, however numerous studies have shown that they can actually help us to lose weight. Those who consume a handful of almonds a day, tend to lose more weight in comparison to those who have none. Their high protein and healthy fat content are responsible for keeping us fuller for longer, leading to a lower overall calorie consumption throughout the day.”
The traditional picture of a healthy morning often includes a bowl of muesli, but often the high sugar content can leave you feeling hungry well before lunch.
Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist and author of ‘Natural Alternatives to Sugar’ (Amazon, £7.17) says, “Muesli conjures up a picture of a healthy breakfast and is often accompanied in adverts in a beautiful alpine setting with trees, bright blue skies, clear lakes and clean air. But not all muesli’s are the same, and as with anything you buy you need to read the label and not just go by the hype on the front of the packet. Many can be laden with high amounts of added sugar and salt and this can turn a healthy breakfast into an unhealthy one.”
California rolls, salmon or cucumber maki, sushi has become a favourite quick ‘guilt-free’ lunch to grab on the go. We’re led to believe that sushi is one of the healthiest lunch options out there. However, whilst it’s certainly healthier than a sandwich, sushi also won’t keep you full for long, which can lead to snacking during the mid-afternoon slump.
Shona advises, “The amount of protein and vegetables you actually get in sushi is often very tiny (if not minuscule) in comparison to the amount of white rice in each serving. Some outlets do have brown rice sushi which would be better but that is still a higher serving of starchy carbohydrates to vegetables and protein. It would be healthier to have a fist sized portion of protein alongside half a dinning plates worth of vegetables and a brown rice portion that fits into an espresso coffee mug
Low Fat Yoghurt
Greek yoghurt with berries is a great low-fat breakfast option, but not all yoghurts are the same! Many yoghurts are promoted as a healthy snack, however not only are they full of sugar, but the sugar crash will inevitably have you reaching for more food.
Marilyn explains, “The label might say ‘low fat fruit yogurt’ and so you would think it would help with controlling your weight, but the yogurt can contain up to 8 teaspoons of added refined sugar. Often sugar is the next ingredient after milk in highest amounts in the yogurt. This type of yogurt will be a high GI food, causing your body to release more insulin to deal with the quick rise in blood sugar (blood glucose) and insulin is your fat storing hormone of the body.