There are plenty of diet rules out there that most people follow. You have traded in your lunch f burger and fries for a salad, you have cut back on your snack foods and sweets, and you started replacing your full-fat food and condiments with fat-free whenever possible. If you are doing everything right diet-wise, why is it that the scale has been stuck on the same number. For some people, the needle on the scale is going in the wrong direction.
Even if you think you are doing everything right and you have the best intentions, something as simple as having too much of a healthy snack can cause you to gain weight rather than losing weight. If you can find a way to cut just 100 calories from your diet each day, you can lose up to 10 pounds in a year. After taking some advice from a few experts in nutrition, we have put together a list of foods that should be avoided because all they do is keep you from reaching your weight loss goals.
#1 Pre-Measured Snacks
Many snack food companies have 100 calorie snack packs on the market. What you may not know, is that these low calorie, pre-packaged snacks can actually do more harm to your diet than good. A group of researchers in the Netherlands gave TY-watching students either several bags of portion-controlled packaged snacks and they gave the other half two large bags of potato chips. The students who had the pre-packaged snacks ate more than those with the bags of potato chips. Research shows that a person will consume less food if they are able to see how much they have already eaten. Therefore, if you are going to eat 100 calorie pre-packaged snacks, you should keep the empty packages in plain sight. This will keep you from overeating and turn a 100 calorie snack into a 500 calories snack.
#2 “Diet” Tricks
When you see that a product is fat-free or sugar-free, it doesn’t mean that the food is low in calories. For example, there is a brand of reduced fat chocolate chip cookies that contain 46 calories. This is just 6 calories less than a regular cookie. According to a recent study, people who are overweight will eat twice as much of a food if it says that it is fat-free or sugar-free. According to a dietitian named Katherine Brooking who is based in New York City, if you are going to eat cookies, you should avoid the fat-free and sugar-free, however, you should limit yourself to just 150 calories.
#3 Liquid Calories
If you drink two cups of cappuccino with two teaspoons of sugar or if you have two cups of tea with two teaspoons of honey, you would be consuming 150 calories in the sweeteners alone. Katherine Brooking suggests that you either use fewer sweeteners in your drinks or switch to a 0 calorie sweeter, such as Splenda. One drink to really watch out for is alcoholic beverages. These drinks are loaded with empty calories. You should replace beer or wine with sparkling soda or flavored club soda. This is a good way to really cut back on calories.
It’s true that if you eat every few hours that you can keep your metabolism up, however, it is very easy to consume too many calories if you aren’t careful. According to Dawn Jackson Blater, RD, the author of The Flexitarian Diet, you should limit yourself to just two snacks a day and each snack should only have 150 calories. If you are going to snack on an energy bar, you should be careful. There are some energy bars that contain as many as 400 calories. You should always check the number of calories in each bar and only buy the ones that are under 200 calories. Any bar that has more than 200 calories would actually be considered a meal.
#5 Rich Proteins
When choosing foods high in proteins, you should stick to foods that are high in lean proteins. The higher fat proteins have twice as many calories. Even if you measure the proper portion, it can be too much. For example, 3 ounces of sirloin contains 225 calories, and almost half of those calories come from fat. If you were to have 3 ounces of skinless turkey, you would only be consuming 144 calories, and only 10 of those would come from fat. Pork sausage should be replaced with turkey sausage because turkey sausage has 75 percent less saturated fat. Fish and beans are also excellent lean protein choices.
#6 Fat-Free Salad Dressing
When it comes to fat-free salad dressing, the fat is often replaced with sugar, which means that this dressing is still loaded with calories. This makes ordering fat-free dressing, useless. According to Katherine Tallmadge, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Diabetic Association, it is important that you have some fat so that your body can absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as other important nutrients. Instead of using fat-free dressing, you should use a smaller amount of an oil-based dressing. These dressings allow you to consume the fats that you need, and it won’t be the bad saturated fat that is found in many creamy dressings. The ingredients that you should look for are herbs, vinegar, and olive oil.
#7 Baked Potato Chips
Sure, baked potato chips are lower in fat, however, they are high in calories and low in nutrients. They are also low in fiber, which means that you would need to eat more to get full. Popcorn is a much better snack choice. Not only will you get the salt and the crunch that you crave when you eat potato chips, buy you will also get a healthy dose of fiber that will fill you up. Also, popcorn has 65 percent fewer calories than baked potato chips. When choosing popcorn, you should look for oil-free microwave popcorn or the type that is air-popped. You can also go with the type that is popped in the healthier oils, such as olive oil or canola oil. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Diabetic Association, adults who eat popcorn consume over two times as much healthy whole grains than people who don’t.