Deciding to lose weight is the start of a difficult journey for many people. From stopping yourself buying your favorite junk food in the grocery store, to passing on dessert when eating out. Weight loss is usually something we have to work hard for - both physically and mentally.
Nothing is more disappointing or depletes your motivation faster than not seeing results on the scales week in and week out. Yet unfortunately, this is what many Americans are facing every single day.
The reason why? Even though you’re being good in the grocery store and buying “low sugar” and “fat free” foods, many of these seemingly good meal choices are simply masquerading as healthy options. The truth is, they’re secretly destroying your chances of seeing a lower number on the scale. It was only when I was doing research for my article on alternative sweeteners that I realized the extent of this problem.
In order to kick start your weight loss you need to kick certain “diet” foods to the curb and avoid the “low sugar” options that are sabotaging your diet.
#1 - Diet Soda
The sweet satisfying fizz of refreshing full fat soda without the calories? Sounds like an no pain, all gain, dream-come-true for every soda lover. But sadly, science tells us that may not be the case.
Although seemingly aimed at dieters, diet soda has to be the all time worst “low sugar” option which is most definitely sabotaging your diet.
Research conducted by the The San Antonio Heart Study examined 3,682 adults over an eight year period in the 1980s. When matched for initial body mass index (BMI), gender, ethnicity, and diet, drinkers of artificially sweetened beverages consistently had higher BMIs (source)
In addition, consensus from interventional studies suggests that artificial sweeteners do not help reduce weight when used alone (source)
Instead of filling your fridge with diet soda, stick to good old fashioned water to aid your weight loss. If you need a beverage with a little bit of flavor, try filling a pitcher full of water and adding slices of fresh lemons and limes, cucumber and a handful of fresh mint. Refrigerate for one hour and enjoy the naturally fruity flavor.
#2 - Protein Bars
In today’s fitness obsessed society, most of us are aware that getting more protein in our diets can help us achieve our fitness goals. Because of this, protein snack bars have popped up all over the place.
There are literally hundreds of brands, flavors and types of bar to choose from all claiming to be a wonderful addition to your diet that will leave you feeling full for hours. It’s easy to be mislead into thinking they will help you to stay healthy while keeping the number on the scales low.
Let’s face it, your average Joe isn’t a nutritionist. Most of us are not fully aware of the ins and outs of protein. It’s reasonable to assume that the bold health claims on the shiny packaging of protein bars is totally true.
Unfortunately though, these are often nothing more than glorified candy bars. They’re packed with empty calories, sugars or artificial sweeteners which can actually lead you to gain weight.
Some bars are designed as meal replacements for hardcore bodybuilders and even with zero sugar, still contain up to 300 calories in one bar. You can see how eating these regularly would sabotage your diet.
If you want to add protein to your diet, try swapping a protein bar for a handful of fresh almonds. These are high in protein and will leave you feeling full.
#3 - Dried Fruits and Fruit Juice
Multiple studies have shown that eating fresh fruit has an anti-obesity effect in adults (source). Despite the natural sugars found in fresh fruit, they are shown time and time again help with weight loss.
Most people think that any getting fruit into their diet in any form is the healthy option. However, the same can not be said for dried fruits and fruit juices. Research has shown that fruit juice in particular has a pro-obesity effect - it actually promotes obesity (source).
Moreover, dried fruits tend to be sweetened and are preserved to give them a longer shelf life making them higher in calories and lower in nutrition than the fresh alternative.
Therefore, avoid the fruit juices and stick to the fresh option in order to promote weight loss.