In general and specifically when on a diet, it is usually a bad idea to deny yourself foods you love and totally abstain, even if they are not-so-healthy. Totally abstaining from foods you truly crave can lead you to binge eat and fall off the diet wagon. So, as long you’re eating in moderation, go ahead and chow down on that piece of dark chocolate. However, there are certain foods which indeed have no redeeming qualities and should simply never enter your body – all the more so if you’re trying to shed a few pounds.
1. Carb-only Snacks
Crackers, dry cereal, bread, or rice cakes, when eaten alone, are immediately converted by your body into simple sugars. The sugar increase in your bloodstream causes your body to produce insulin which helps your body absorb the sugar ASAP. The issue is that after digestion, your blood sugar drops and you begin to crave more of it pretty fast. At that point, you’re much more likely to grab a snack that’s sugary and not nutritious. It’s much better to consume carbs alongside proteins and healthy fats, which lead to a more balanced digestion.
2. Frozen Meals
Frozen foods are often packed with salt – and therefore sodium – to make them taste better after long periods of storage. Sodium causes your body to retain water and makes you bloated. Frozen meals also tend to have a lot of calories packed into small portions, in order to fit into a box or container – sizes too small to you feeling satisfied. You’d be wiser to eat bigger portions of healthier, lower-calorie fresh foods.
3. “Low-Fat” Foods
Studies show that behaviorally, when people are eating low-fat food, they tend to eat 30% more! Furthermore, when food manufacturers remove fat from a product, they tend to fill it with sugar, in order to compensate for lost taste. Bad idea.
4. High-Fiber Snack Bars
Fiber is great; it regulates the digestive system and makes you feel full.
However, the tremendous amount of fiber contained in one average snack bar (25 grams) is just too much! Fiber consumption should be balanced throughout the day. A better source of fiber is fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
5. Fruit Juice
One glass of orange juice requires six oranges – that’s a ton of calories and sugar! Fruit juice also lacks the beneficial fiber that fresh fruit contains, making largely worthless, aside from vitamin C, which is also found in the fresh fruit.
6. Boxes of Cereal
A study out of Cornell University found that any food product that comes in a super-sized package encourages more eating. 22% more to be exact! So, if you NEED to buy a value-pack or saver-size, sit down with a pre-measured amount instead of the whole bag or box.
7. Artificially Sweetened Beverages
Diet sodas that somehow contain 0 calories are simply too far from nature to be healthy. They contain a heap of chemicals and synthetic ingredients. It’s much better for your body to drink seltzer or sparkling water – they have the health-value of water as well as carbonation, which helps you feel full.
It’s agreed by almost all dieticians and doctors that someone conscious of their health and/or weight would be best off abandoning alcohol altogether. Alcohol has no nutritional value and contains tons of useless calories. It also weighs heavy on the liver, which should be focusing on burning calories for energy instead of processing alcohol. However, a zero-tolerance approach to booze might not be realistic. So try to cut back as much as possible, and avoid mixers made from sodas.