Diets are over-rated. I’ve learned from doing Whole 30 and counting calories than I feel much better when I just eat like a normal person. I’d rather not worry about breaking my diet by eating some pizza or punishing myself because I ate french fries with that burger. I eat healthy foods regularly.
But, I also eat foods I enjoy because I love myself.
With that being said, it’s easy to get pulled into the diet that your friends are doing. I get it. You want to look good in a swimsuit, you need to lose weight for that wedding, etc. There’s always a reason to lose weight.
So you start counting calories, or working out excessively. You start limiting your fat intake, or your carb intake. You keep track of everything you eat, like a crazy person.
Then you go shopping and only buy gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, fat free foods and tell yourself that you’re going to lose so much weight.
And then you don’t.
All your effort feels wasted and you end up giving up and eating like a normal person again.
You bought all the right “diet” foods. You spent all that money on foods that didn’t taste good and you still didn’t lose weight.
But why didn’t it work?
In school I learned that if you want to lose weight, it’s simply calories in, calories out. That it really doesn’t matter what its ingredients are, or how your food is made.
Calories aren’t everything. They do exist, and they do matter to a point. But, what is much more important is ingredients, and nutritional value of the foods you eat.
These are some of the most unhealthy “healthy” foods ever.
Margarine is one of the most processed foods in the grocery store. It’s supposedly healthy because it has less unhealthy fats than butter, and is usually made from vegetable oil. However, it’s insanely processed, has tons of additives, chemical coloring and preservatives, and can even contain trans fats. When in doubt, grab some unsalted butter instead. Not that butter is a health food, but natural fats are waaaay better than processed ones.
2. Fruit Smoothies
I’ve said this before, but fruit smoothies just aren’t that filling. They aren’t that good for you either. Smoothies with fruit, protein powder, and a few spinach leaves are just loaded with sugar. Starting your day off with over 30 g+ of sugar just causes your blood sugar to spike and then crash by mid-morning. Sugar spikes cause insulin in your blood to rise, which causes your body to start storing fat quickly. When your blood sugar crashes, you get insanely hungry and start that vicious cycle all over again. If you’re going to have a smoothie, make sure you add healthy fats like avocado or chia seeds. Limit your fruit to 1/2-3/4 cup AT MOST, don’t use juice, and add some veggies. And don’t forget some added protein like plain Greek Yogurt or a high-quality protein powder.
3. Gluten-Free Foods
Going gluten-free has certainly been a hot trend the last 5-10 years. There are so many gluten-free products on the market now, and they’re almost always marketed as “healthier” than traditional gluten-filled products. But are they? Not usually, no. Actually, quite often, gluten-free breads, cookies, and crackers are ultra-processed and loaded with sugars. If you are going to buy gluten-free products, make sure that you aren’t buying chemical s!@# storms. Gluten-free does not mean healthy.
4. Veggie Chips
I’ve heard countless times that veggie chips are way better for you than traditional potato chips. While this can be true, not all veggie chips should be considered equal. Just because it says “made with vegetables”, doesn’t mean it’s an actual vegetable dried and turned into a chip. Look at the ingredients. If the first couple are “potato starch” or “potato flour”, you may as well get regular baked potato chips instead. One good brand of veggie chip is Terra, which actually uses whole vegetables instead of compressing each chip to a uniform size and adding food dyes to make they look green like a vegetable. Always read the ingredients.
5. Frozen Yogurt
Oh my larwd, Fro-Yo! It’s seriously amazing and I love it. But let’s get something straight, it is NOT A HEALTH FOOD. Yes, it is usually less fatty than ice cream, but it’s still loaded with sugar. Honestly, it’s not any healthier than ice cream. If anything, it’s probably worse for you than ice cream because of all the candy and sauces you put on it at the Fro-Yo toppings bar. Just eat it in moderation, and consider it a dessert and not a “healthy alternative”.
6. Egg Substitutes
Whole foods are better. Plain and simple. Eggs have gotten such a bad rap the last 10 years because they are “full of cholesterol and fats”. Well, the fats in eggs are healthy fats, and the cholesterol has minimal affect on your cholesterol levels (unless you eat like more than 8-10 eggs per week). Honestly, food affects your cholesterol minimally. Your body actually produces cholesterol when you don’t eat enough of it. So there’s that. Plus egg substitutes are heavily processed. They have flavors and colors that are added to make it look like “real egg”. Honestly, I’d rather have a high protein, high fat natural egg any day.
7. Sugar-Free Foods
Ugh, sugar-free foods. They can be super great for controlling blood sugars when those are out of whack, but honestly, they’re so bad for you. Sugar substitutes cause your body to think it’s getting something sweet when it’s really not getting any sugar at all. This causes insulin to be released, which causes fat storing and your blood sugar drops. When your blood sugar drops, but you didn’t eat anything to help it go back up again, you get CRAZY HUNGRY. Like, hangry. This causes you to keep eating and reach for anything you can to feel like a normal person again. it’s safe to say, whole, natural foods are better.
It’s amazing to me that Nutella continues to be marketed as a “healthy” food. It’s literally spreadable candy. Yes, it’s delicious. Yes, it has hazelnuts. But it’s mostly sugar. Just because something is “made from hazelnuts”, doesn’t mean it’s mostly hazelnut. It means they added it in for flavor when they wanted to sell spreadable chocolate in a jar. Don’t believe me? Look at the ingredient list. If you didn’t know, ingredients are listed in order of amount used in the product. So, the first ingredient on any food label is what the product contains most of, in weight. The list goes down in that order. The first ingredient in Nutella is sugar, then palm oil. So essentially, it’s just oily sugar when some flavors.
9. Sport Drinks
So many sport drinks are packed with sugars and artificial colors and flavors. Many people believe that if they work out for 20 or 30 minutes that sports drinks are better than just water. It’s actually the opposite. Sport drinks are designed for hard work outs longer than 45-60 minutes, to replete electrolytes. They’re designed for endurance athletes. After a 20-30 minute cardio work out, you’ll be fine just drinking plain water and eating a snack. Drinking a sport drink afterward is just not necessary. They may actually have more sugars than you need to recover, which will just cause you to store fat. Post workout recovery is important, so if you want to know what to eat afterward, check out my post about it here!
Well, there you have it. Remember that whole foods are always the best bet for you and your health.
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