Walk down any supermarket aisle and you’ll find lots of foods with “health” claims on it. Low fat, low sugar, gluten-free, zero calories, vegan etc. Well, they’re supposed to be healthier for you, but are they really?
Don’t be fooled! These “health claims” are mainly a marketer’s way to make you spend more and feel good, thinking that you’re consuming something that’s gonna help with your waistline.
The truth is, a large majority of so-called “diet” foods are actually filled with sodium, trans fats, artificial sugars and more ingredients which we can barely pronounce. If eaten regularly, these foods ,may even sabotage your weight lost goal.
Here are my top 7 Healthy Diet Foods that are making you FAT!
1) Diet Soda Drinks
But, it’s zero calories!! Isn’t weight lose all about calorie in and calorie out? Well yes and no. Yes, diet soda drinks may contain zero calories but do you know that drinking it on a regular basis can stimulate your appetite and increase cravings for more sugary foods?
That’s because most diet soda drinks contain article sweeteners such as Aspartame. And Aspartame ranks 200x sweeter that your white table sugar. And what is does is that instead of satisfying your sugar cravings, it actually PROLONG sugar cravings.
So you’re still being deprived from having real sugar. As a result, you are more likely to consume other sugary foods and drinks, which can lead to weight gain.
A study found that diet soda drinkers had a 70% greater increase in waist circumference compared with non-drinkers.
2) Protein Bars
Gosh, I have no time for a proper meal, but look I’m having a protein bar, it contains 20g of protein and 1g of sugar. So I’m still hitting my protein intake. Can I just say that’s absolute rubbish?
We see those gym addicts often consuming protein bars as their pre-workout or even on-the-go snack for the busy people. But are they really healthy? Yes, it may be lower in sugar, but again, sugar is often replaced by artificial sweeteners. And when you look at the calorie-count, it’s often just as high as a regular chocolate bar, which is typically between 180 - 220 calories!
You might not even feel like you’ve eaten a meal just by eating one bar, so chances are you might even reach for another protein bar and that’s a whopping 400 Calories! You might as well just have a Hamburger, at least you’ll feel satisfied with that!
Remember this, Nothing from a packet can ever replace real nutritious food.
3) Low-Fat or Fat-Free Foods
Low fat milk, fat free yoghurt, zero fat dressing, you name it, there’s always a low fat or fat free alternative for EVERYTHING.
Fat is not your enemy. There are healthy fats which we should be consuming. Your body needs fat to burn fat and also to help with absorption of some essential nutritents and vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E and K and antioxidants from foods such as leafy greens, carrots and tomatoes.
Remember this, low fat DOESN’T mean low calories or sugar-free. When food manufacturers remove the fat from foods, they will inevitably remove some of the flavours. In order to make up for the lack of flavours, they have to add a whole bunch of other stuff such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup or some kind of artificial sweetener.
Low-fat yogurt has had the good stuff removed, only to be replaced with something that is much, much worse. Consume full-fat yogurt, and avoid low-fat yogurt.
The healthiest salad dressings are made without sugar and contain natural healthy fats such as olive oil, which provides benefits for heart health. It is much better to make your own dressing with olive oil, vinegar and some spices. Do check out my healthy dressing video to make your own healthy salad dressing at home.
4) Gluten-Free Processed Foods
I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a girl-friend who was on a diet. Let’s have dinner. Oh I’ve eaten. What did you eat? Gluten-Free Potato Chips.
My mind went…"WHAT???? If you understand where gluten came from and what food contains gluten, you would already know that potato has NO gluten. Hence, ANY potato chips you buy will be gluten-free. Like I said, it’s just another marketing gimmick to put the “gluten-free” label onto a product to make us think that it’s healthy.
Gluten-Free cookies, muffins and cakes. Processed foods, whether gluten-free or not, are not good for us and can cause weight gain. It doesn’t give you the allowance to consume more and it is NOT a good option for weight loss. If you read the ingredient’s list, it will still contain high sugar, unhealthy fat and calories.
Sometimes, gluten-free products might even contain more sugar, fats and calories just to make up for the lack of taste.
Tip: If you want to reduce your gluten intake, opt for naturally gluten-free foods like meats, nuts, fruits and vegetables, instead of processed gluten-free foods.
If you’re eating granola for breakfast, you got to stop! It is constantly being advertised as a healthy choice, but the reality is that, it is NOT! It should be treated as dessert, because the sugar contain is as high as dessert, hence should only be eaten occasionally.
Yes, granola contains lots of fibre and iron from oats, while the nuts and seeds add heart-healthy unsaturated fats. However, they are high in calories because they contain addition oil and sugar which we just don’t need.
1/4 cup of granola typically contains more than 200Cals and about 20g of sugar! That’s just like the sugar contain from a chocolate eclairs, And trust me, that one portion will not fill you up. So chances are you’ll be consuming double or triple that portion together will milk. So breakfast can come up to 700Cals and 60g of sugar! And you’re wondering why aren’t you dropping the pounds.
Tips: Opt for muesli instead, or even better make your own muesli where you’ll be able to add more rolled oats and have the nuts, seeds and dried fruits in small quantity. Plus it’s so much more cheaper.
6) Vitamin Drinks, Sports Drinks & Energy Drinks
The things about drinks is that it’s often sneaky and wasted calories that we just don’t need most of the time. Sports drinks were designed with high performance athletes in mind. These drinks contain electrolytes aka salt and carbs aka sugar, to keep them hydrated and replenish lost minerals such as sodium, potassium, and chloride, especially after a prolong intense exercise.
Hitting the treadmill for half an hour and then lifting some weights does not require nearly the same amount of carbs or electrolytes. We can get these nutrients from the foods we normally eat.
These vitamin, sports or energy drinks contain just as much and sometimes even more sugar than a can of soda. If you want Vitamin, get it through supplements, not some sort of vitamin drink that contain a whopping 33grams of sugar.
If you feel that you need the energy boost pre and post workout, fuel your body with enough healthy carbs and protein before and after such as a banana, yoghurt, oatmeal, eggs or go for supplements such as BCAA or a protein shake after. These are much healthier options compared to sugary drinks. And just stay hydrated on plain refreshing water.
7) 100% Real Vegetables Chips
Made from 100% real vegetables. Well potato chips is also made from 100% real potato. If you think that you get to guiltlessly enjoy eating kale, beets or zucchini, don’t also forget about the vegetable oil, salt and potato starch added into the mixture to produce 100% real veggie chips.
Here’s a comparison:
1-ounce serving of veggie chips contains 134 calories and 6.6 grams of fat, of which 0.5 gram is saturated.
And 1-ounce of potato chips contains 154 calories and 10.3 grams of fat, of which 1.1 grams are saturated.
Yes, it’s a slightly better option, but it’s not going to do your diet wonders and you should feel good or think that you’re getting your 5-a-day because chances are, most of the nutrients and vitamins are gone.
The best option is of course, stick to the fresh stuff. Enjoy fresh veggies with hummus, or bake your own vegetable chips to cut back on the fat and sodium.
The bottom line is nothing beats real natural food. Consuming more natural food, and reduce on processed food. And remember, do not be fooled by the health claims, always flip the product and read the ingredients list. If there are too many ingredients which you can’t even pronounce or if sugar is listed as the first 2 ingredients, well, it’s best to avoid it. I believe in Balance and Moderation. You can still enjoy these food occasionally but not on a daily basis.
What other unhealthy healthy food that’s causing you to gain weight or ruin your diet? Share it with me in the comments below.