Nutrition can be very confusing to many people. While it may seem to be straightforward about total calories input, fats, protein, carbohydrates, and exercise, the reality is that we may be blinded by smart marketing campaigns by food companies.
Many health experts and guides list the following foods in their ‘to eat’ section when they should actually be consigned in their ‘not to eat’ section. We show you 6 foods that are supposedly good for your waistline, but in actual fact, they may pile on the weight for you instead!
1 Breakfast Cereals
The truth about cereals being a healthy breakfast item couldn’t be more wrong.
Cereals are usually rich in refined carbohydrates and sugar, two ingredients that are fattening for your body.
When you eat processed cereal as your first meal, your blood sugar levels and insulin levels spikes up rapidly and then crashes after a few hours, thereby triggering an almost irrepressible craving for foods rich in refined carbs later on in the day.
In other words, you are pushed into a blood sugar roller coaster. You will then tend to eat foods you should really be avoiding and your daily total calorie will be higher than your body requirements, leading to weight gain.
That said though, not all types of cereals are unhealthy as a breakfast item. Pick a cereal which is low on high-refined carbohydrates or sugar, and contain more natural fruits and nuts and other natural ingredients. Read the label carefully before picking a cereal box, and do not be deceived by those claims such as “whole grain” or “low fat” as they often have high sugar contents too.
Pick unprocessed and protein-rich foods for breakfast, for example, eggs with some vegetables or even eggs with steak for breakfast. Gram for gram, protein keeps you fuller for a longer time than carbohydrates and are better food for a weight loss diet.
2 Agave Nectar
Marketed as a healthy alternative to sugar, the truth is that agave nectar is very unhealthy, in fact, more unhealthy than sugar.
Sugar is not good for health because of its high fructose content, but agave nectar has more fructose than sugar. While sugar has 50 percent fructose, agave nectar (or agave syrup) has as much as 70 to 90 percent fructose.
Fruits also contain fructose, but they are healthy foods because the fructose content in them is low. When consumed in small amounts, fructose is not harmful.
It is only when consumed in large amounts that fructose is harmful, because it increases our risk of being insulin resistance, causes high triglycerides, high blood sugars, abdominal obesity, and a host of other health problems related to metabolism.
Instead of agave nectar, use a natural sweetener that has low fructose content, or uses brown sugar or canned sugar that is unrefined.
3 Whole Wheat Bread
A healthier option to refined wheat is whole wheat, according to many experts.
This is not wrong. Without a doubt, whole wheat is healthier than refined wheat. However, the problem is those whole-grain foods may not necessarily really contain whole grains!
Almost every whole-grain food contains grains that have been powdered into fine flour, which increases blood sugar levels in the same way as refined grains.
What works in whole wheat bread favor is that whole wheat has more fiber and more healthy nutrients than refined wheat bread, but these health benefits may not be sufficient to negate the bad effects of its high glycemic index (Glycemic index measures the effect of carbs-rich foods on blood sugar level).
4 Low-Fat Yogurt
Yogurt is a healthy food, but low-fat yogurt found in supermarkets is not.
Removal of fat from yogurt (or for that matter any other food) spoils its taste considerably. To then make low-fat yogurt tasty, food manufacturers add other stuff like sugar or artificial sweetener. This, in turn, makes it bad for your health.
Also, the fat removed from low-fat yogurt is saturated fat which we now know is actually beneficial for our bodies. By taking out the beneficial fats from low-fat yogurt and replacing it with sugar or artificial sweetener, it defeats the purpose of eating yogurt in the first instance.
Do continue eating yogurt as it is healthy and good for your digestive system, just do not go for processed, low-fat yogurt.
5 Fruit Juices
Fruits are healthy and so must be fruit juices, right?
Well, often it is not. Many times, packed or canned “fruit juice” contains no real fruit and is in reality, nothing more than fruit-flavored sugar-rich water.
What about real fruit juice? That must be healthy for sure?
Even real fruit juice is not really healthy, because it does not contain much of the good stuff you find in fruits. They are mainly just rich in sugar, the very thing you must avoid if you are trying to lose weight.
While whole fresh fruits also have sugar, the difference is that in fresh fruits, the sugar is contained in fibrous cells. When eaten whole, these sugars are released slowly into the bloodstream and does not cause your blood sugar levels to spike.
However, fruit juice is devoid of fiber. That is why you can easily down a lot of sugar when drinking fruit juice. A single cup of orange juice is estimated to contain approximately the same amount of sugar as two oranges!
If your goal is to lose weight, eat whole fruits instead. To quench your thirst, replace fruit juice with plain and simple water.
6 Diet Soft Drinks
Sugar-rich soft drinks are a big no-no for anyone wanting to lose weight. To satisfy their craving, many dieters then reach out for diet soda instead of regular soda thinking that this will still keep them on track to achieve their weight loss goals. After all, drinking diet soda is supposedly 0 sugar and calories and should be effective in reducing our total daily calorie count.
However, this is not actually the case. Studies have shown that people who switched to diet soda did not note any weight loss. Why is this so?
The most probable reason for this is that artificial sweeteners, although calorie-free, may actually make you feel hungrier. In other words, the calories saved by drinking diet soda instead of regular soda is compensated by eating more of other foods.
People who are able to lose weight while drinking diet soda are able to do so because of other healthier diet changes they make in their diet. The switchover alone has no positive impact on your weight loss effort.