Making good choices is the key to successful weight loss. If you choose wisely, the weight will come off, and you will be less hungry. If you chose poorly, you will be ravenously hungry and end up not only less satisfied but will also gain weight. The following is a short list of foods I recommend that you reduce their consumption.
Sugar-free products: I know I said a few weeks ago that sugar should be avoided, but I did not say to replace them with these “sugar-free” products that are full of artificial sweeteners. These products are low in calories, but often we compensate by eating something else. Most of these sweeteners increase your insulin level and there by making you hungry. Also, we really do not know the long term ramifications of eating.
- Any Snack Food Sold in a Bag: I am not talking about broccoli. I am walking about chips, tortillas, popcorn, and pretzels. I am sure you can think of more of these items. They are full of fat and carbs and nothing more than empty calories. These little salty treats induce mindless eating and will pack on the pounds. These things are in a feed bag literally. If you must have them, measure out a serving and but the rest of the bag out of sight. I have found that if I can’t see them, I am less likely to eat them.
- High Salt Sauces: Barbeque sauce, hot sauce, teriyaki sauce, ketchup, and soy sauce are examples. Salt causes bloating and water retention. This mechanism is why is terrible for you blood pressure. I don’t care if your blood pressure runs low. Unless a doctor recommends you have more salt, I would recommend that you should avoid these foods. I recommend that you choose a low salt alternative and use them sparingly.
- Fruit Juice: Fruit juice, whether it is from the grocery story or homemade, have very little in common with whole fruit. Fruit juices are highly processed, and the calories are almost 100% from sugar. Fruit juices contain nearly as much sugar and calories as soda. The worst part about fruit juice is that the juicing process removes the best parts of fruit and that is the fiber that slows the digestion. Fruit juice is full of nearly empty calories so; I would stick to whole fruit.
Multi-grain bread, crackers, snacks: Be leery of the claim that something is multi-grain. The grains could be white rice and corn, and that certainly does not add to the nutritional value of the food you eat. Those little seeds sitting on top do not add much but make them look more healthy. The term you should be looking for is whole grain. If the nutrition label does not indicate 3 grams of fiber or more, look else where for your meal.
- Fat-free products: I remember is the 1980s and 1990s, a variety of these snacks were released and sold as healthier alternatives. These products may be lower in fat, but they have replaced them with more sugar. They are definitely not healthy, and I would add these to the empty calorie category. If you must have them, consider the higher fat version. It will be more fulfilling, and you will likely eat less of them.
- Candy: Candy is extremely unhealthy and a form of empty calorie. Candy comes in many forms. It may be all sugar or a mixture of fats or oils, refined flours, and sugar that is packed into a small dense delight. Candy bars are dense in calories and low in nutrients hence the term empty calories. If you must partake, consider a piece of dark chocolate instead.
- Salads: Salads are commonly portrayed as being healthy, but to be honest, it is only as healthy as what you place in one. If you chose the ingredients wisely, they could be the center of a healthy meal. If you do not, a salad will give you a false sense of security in the quality of your meal. To increase the healthiness limits the cheese and choose lean meat. If you need dressing, avoid creamy and high-fat dressings.
- Limit White Foods: White bread, pasta, potatoes, and rice are of limited nutritional value. Of them, I would say that potatoes are the most nutritious with white bread being the least. If you must, limit your portion size or choose a higher fiber version. For potatoes, leave the skin on them.
- Cakes, Cookies, and Pastries: These bake goods not very satisfying, and they are very dense in calories. Once you eat them, you will become more hungry shortly after eating them and will likely eat more of them than you planned to consume. Just say no, but if you must, stick to 1/2 to 1 serving.
The bottom line: You must choose your foods wisely if you plan to lose weight. The foods you choose must promote proper nutrition and satiety. This list is not an all-inclusive list, so I am sure you will think of more.