4 ‘Diet’ Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

In a world that is preoccupied with fitness and health, retailers and advertisers are cashing in on the obsession. Many foods that are marketed as super healthy, ‘weight loss’ products offer lots of promises with very little evidence to suggest they’re effective.

In fact, loads of these products actually have the opposite effect on your waistline and overall health.

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, tone up or improve your general wellbeing, here are 4 ‘diet’ foods to avoid, and what you should be eating instead.

1 – ‘Light’ Mayo and Dressings

Mayonnaise and salad dressings are by nature high in fat and therefore in calories, so it can be tempting to opt for the ‘light’ version instead. Anything marked ‘low fat’ is not necessarily healthy; the missing fat is replaced with sugar, salt, stabilisers and water – packed with empty calories, and none of which give you the satiety of the full fat equivalent. It’s much better to have a small amount of the full fat version or avoid the product entirely. If you find it tricky to monitor your portion sizes, rather than oily dressings and mayonnaise, opt for homemade full fat Greek yoghurt dressings or protein-rich dips like hummus.

2 – Low Calorie Ready Meals

If you want to have a healthier diet, be wary of packaged food. These days, there are some ready meals available that aren’t too unhealthy, but anything with lots of additives and strange ingredients isn’t good for your body – whether it’s low in calories or not. ‘Low cal’ versions of your favourite meals will likely be bulked out with flavourings and water, which will leave you feeling unsatisfied and more likely to binge later on. For best results, cook your own meals from scratch using fresh ingredients and watch your portion sizes.

3 – Granola

Granola may seem like a healthful choice – and it is often marketed as being so – but most brands are in fact very high in added sugar and therefore calories. Sugar is also known have an unhealthy effect on your appetite and lead you to make poor food decisions later on. If you really love Granola, try having a small amount sprinkled on top of Greek yoghurt with plenty of fresh fruit, or opt for muesli or porridge with no added sugar. Oats are a great way to keep yourself full for longer and give you the energy and brain power needed to get through the day without unhealthy cravings.

4 – Diet Fizzy Drinks

Fizzy drinks – even ‘zero calorie’ ones – have no nutritional value whatsoever. While diet fizzy drinks may be free from sugar and therefore low in calories, they do contain artificial sweeteners. Yes, if you’re a regular consumer of full-sugar sodas, replacing them with diet pop will cut your calories down, which in theory could help you lose weight. However, it’s a little more complicated than that. Excessive calories cause fat gain but cutting calories in one area doesn’t necessarily lead to reducing your overall calorie intake. The sweeteners used in fizzy drinks stimulate the appetite and can lead you to overcompensate and eat more at meal and snack times. Skip the diet drinks and instead replenish with a glass of iced water, herbal tea or if you must have something with a little flavour, water down a small serving of fresh fruit juice.

‘Diet’ products can lead to an unhealthy mindset about food. No food is inherently good or bad, and just because something is marked as ‘diet’ doesn’t mean you should eat it!

It’s a good idea to be wary of any packaged food that promises miracle weight loss or health benefits. If you’re serious about improving your diet or drop a few pounds, stick to natural foods with as few ingredients and possible, and include as part of a balanced meal plan and active lifestyle.

Rob Lis

FreeGym Founder. Loves football, running, spin and dabbles in HIIT. Rob created FreeGym to help people keep fit, for less. Instagram: @freegymco

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