Food brands are unscrupulous when it comes to marketing their products as healthy. In fact, there are some healthy foods keeping you from losing weight.
They’ll say anything to get you to try an item, even if it’s not quite true. It’s gotten to the point where labels such as “all natural,” “made with real fruit,” and “low fat” raise red flags. These labels don’t necessarily mean a food is good for us, yet they often trick us into buying a product. Some “healthy” foods turn out to be not so good and not so healthy after all.
When I first embarked on my fitness journey, those red flags were invisible to me. Any bag, box, or container that said “all natural”, “made with real fruit”, or “low fat” was on my grocery list and, therefore, in my tummy.
Contrary to popular belief, this did not help me shed the pounds. Instead, it made me feel sluggish, unhealthy, and aided in putting me in a plateau. In other words, it helped me to do everything BUT shed the pounds because those products were not always all natural, they weren’t made with only real fruit, and although some were actually low fat, they still were not healthy.
Since I don’t want any of you following in my first footsteps toward weight loss, I’m sharing these 5 healthy foods that might be keeping you from losing weight. I’m doing so in hopes that you will follow my recent footsteps toward weight loss–you know, the footsteps that actually lead to losing weight. My first 5 steps were eliminating these foods from my grocery list, my pantry, and, therefore, my tummy.
These 5 foods are common offenders when it comes to marketing. They’re branded as health foods, but in reality are loaded with unnecessary calories, sugars, and fats. Read on and steer clear of these “healthy” foods that might be keeping you from losing weight.
1. Dried Fruit
Fruit is the perfect sweet treat for weight loss. However, when it comes to dried fruit, it’s too easy to overeat. Dried fruit is missing all of the water of regular fruit, which means it’s not as filling. When you take out the water, you make concentrated fructose (sugar). A handful of raisins has about 25 grams of sugar, with little fiber or protein.
And, let’s be honest, no one just eats a handful when they do munch on dried fruit. The sugar in it just tastes too good!
But, whole fruit tastes just as good and contains natural sugar that’s good for you and fills you right up without overeating. When I grab an apple as a pre-lunch snack, I have no issue staying full until lunch time rolls around, and I feel a burst of energy–something that dried fruit doesn’t provide.
2. Granola and Granola Bars
Granola is often marketed as healthy, but in reality, most store-bought granola is packed with added sugar. When I first started working to lose weight, I was buying boxes and boxes of different granola bars and bags and bags of different granolas. Like many people, I wasn’t even paying attention to the labels. I just knew that granola bars and granola were considered health foods, so I bought them and ate them.
Instead of making me feel like a healthier me, I actually felt too full after eating them. They bloated me right up! Instead of walking around with a flat stomach after eating them (how I imagined), I was walking around looking like I had an entire bag of granola underneath my shirt. It was disappointing and demotivating.
I just recently learned that even homemade granola can be too sugary to be considered healthy. According to the USDA, a single cup of granola can be as high as 600 calories! Now I know that it wasn’t just the excess sugar that was causing me to feel and look bloated after eating granola bars and granola. It was also the immense amount of calories I was consuming. Yikes!
3. Fat Free and Low Calorie Snacks
Not all store-bought snacks are bad for you, but many are no better than dessert. Companies market single-serving snacks as healthy by labeling them “fat-free” or “low-calorie.” Nevertheless, when you look at the nutrition facts you’ll be surprised at how terrible these snacks really are. Fat-free snacks are usually loaded with refined sugars. Low-calorie bars are often too small to be filling.
These snacks will taste great for two or three bites, but leave you hungry after five minutes. It’s for that reason that when I used to snack on them, I ended up eating two or three of the snacks–which ended up being two or three times the amount of calories I should have been consuming.
4. Veggie Burgers and Other Veggie Meals
It’s easy to assume that since veggies are healthy, anything made from veggies is good for us. That is not always the case. Many companies flavor their veggie products with cheap low-quality ingredients, adding unnecessary fats and carbs. Always study the nutrition label before you dig in. You might be surprised what you find.
I sure was surprised. I even stopped eating them altogether when I found out what was actually in them:
- Caramel coloring
- Canola oil
- MSG/hydrolyzed protein
- Textured vegetable protein
- Artificial colors and flavors
Once I could no longer resist my cravings for my beloved veggie burgers, I started excessively reading food labels and only bought veggie burgers that were non-GMO and didn’t contain any of the above ingredients.
Fix It: Check the nutrition label before you buy a product, or try making veggie burgers at home. Grilled stuffed mushrooms are a great option for weight loss, or you can try a traditional meatless burger patty, such as this black bean and mushroom veggie burger.
I love making my own veggie burgers too!
Whole wheat is better for you than refined pasta. Nevertheless, food companies don’t have to do a lot to label a product “whole wheat.” In fact, pasta doesn’t have to be 100% whole wheat to carry the label. This means that while you think you’re making the healthier choice, the benefits are actually marginal.
You might still be consuming tons of refined carbs with little nutritional value. As someone who is now much further along on her fitness journey, I know that nutritional values should always be high in the foods that I’m eating. I’m just always trying to get the most from the foods I’m eating. So, with that being said, I try to stay away from pasta all together.
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