Have your efforts at dieting sapped your energy without moving the scale at all? That can happen when you follow claims and promises made by diet food manufacturers rather than sound nutrition principles.
Sticking to reasonable portion sizes and filling up with healthy food are always preferable to relying on diet foods. If you want to maintain a healthy weight or shed pounds, avoid these 6 kinds of “diet” foods and snacks:
1. Drinks with calories
This includes many vitamin drinks that are loaded with various types of added sugars. Choose drinks that contain zero calories. Water is always a great option. If you need to jazz it up, add some fresh lime, lemon or mint.
2. Store-bought smoothies
Before you order that smoothie, check the calories; some smoothies contain up to 1,000 calories and use ingredients only a world-class bodybuilder would need! Your best bet is to grab your blender and make your own smoothie with fresh fruits and vegetables and plain, low-fat yogurt. In Lifestyle 180, we add chia seed to one of our smoothies to get an omega-3 fatty acid boost as well.
3. Trail mix
If the mix contains yogurt-coated ingredients, it probably has partially hydrogenated fat (trans fat). Trans fat has been shown to decrease your good cholesterol and increase your bad cholesterol. You’ll do better making your own trail mix with peanuts, walnuts, raisins and chocolate bits that are at least 70 percent cocoa. Don’t overdo the dark chocolate, though — research shows that you need just a few ounces a week to benefit heart health.
4. Frozen diet entrees
These are typically loaded with sodium. And while they may be low in calories, they’re also typically low in nutrients (for example, refined grains may be used instead of whole grains). Instead, take some time on your days off to make nutritious meals that you can freeze and bring to work throughout the week.
5. Fiber/protein bars
These bars are about two steps away from a candy bar! Skip the bars and fill up with an apple or another piece of fruit. If you do choose a bar, look for the bars with the fewest ingredients. That’s often a sign that they are better for you.
6. Fat-free sweets
Fat-free cookies and cakes are deceiving. People think that ‘fat-free’ means ‘calorie-free,’ so they tend to eat too much. What’s more, sugar replaces the fat in these products — so you’re still getting a high number of calories.