According to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, 1 in every 3 American adults is obese. The good news is millions of people across the nation are trying to lose weight by exercising and changing their eating habits. You may be one of these struggling people.
When you go to the grocery store, you will find a plethora of processed foods that are marketed to dieters. You will see buzz words like low-fat, sugar-free, light, and even healthy. Since you fill your cart up with these supposedly good foods, why is it the scales are not budging? Here is a list of foods that you thought were helping you, but are actually hurting your efforts:
With all the media attention given to probiotics, you would think yogurt would be the number one choice for dieters. Even if you choose plain yogurt, you can be consuming at least 17 grams of sugar per serving, says a report from the Huffington Post. That is as much as what you would get in a popular snack cake! The sugar content soars even more when you add syrupy fruits and nut toppings. This can be especially problematic for type 2 diabetics, who need to watch their sugar intake.
Better Choice- If you love to have a yogurt in the mornings, try low-fat Greek yogurt. Instead of extra sugar, you will get a powerful punch of protein. Add fresh berries or honey for a touch of sweetness.
If you pass the pre-sweetened cereals and reach for "healthy" granola, think again. Most store bought granola is packed with fat and hidden sugar.
Better Choice- Make your own granola at home, where you control the ingredients and portions.
When you read the label on your favorite diet soda, you will see zeros for calories, sugar, and fat. You may guzzle them daily without guilt. What you may not know is your brain processes artificial sweeteners the same way it does sugar. It can cause intense cravings for sweets, says Authority Nutrition.
Better Choice- You cannot go wrong with a refreshing glass of water. If you really miss the fizz, try a bottle of sparkling mineral water.
Many health gurus tout smoothies as a way to get your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. You can go to the grocery store and buy them by the bottle. You may get some good vitamins, but you can also get a lot of added sugar.
Better Choice- Blend your own at home, so you can control the ingredients and calories.
While it is a good idea to eat less red meat, turkey still has calories and fat. Regular ground turkey can have as much fat as ground beef, plus it is higher in cholesterol, says Livestrong.
Better Choice- Choose low-fat ground turkey or 95% lean ground beef.
You can indulge in your favorite cookies and candies that are sugar-free! Or can you? What the manufacturers are not telling you is there is as much fat in them as their sugar-laden cousins. Even if you eat candies with sorbitol, you can suffer from indigestion.
Better Choice- A couple graham crackers will help your cookie cravings with a limited amount of sugar. You can also have a Hershey's Kiss if you need a little chocolate fix.
When veggie slices are deep fried, you are no better off than eating a bag of potato chips. Some veggie chips actually use potato and corn flour with a dab of food coloring. You are not doing yourself any favors with the extra salt, either.
Better Choice- Be sure your brand is actually sliced vegetables, and they are baked and not fried. A few baked tortilla chips can also give you a satisfying crunch.
The bottom line is to carefully read ingredient lists. Just because something says it is "diet" does not mean it actually is. When in doubt, stick with whole foods with the least amount of processing. Dump these false healthy foods and your body will thank you.