When you’re trying hard to eat a healthy diet in order to lose weight, it can be frustrating when you don’t see results. Turns out, some so-called healthy foods could actually be destroying your diet.
Find out which ones are the worst culprits and how you can make a better choice.
1. Gluten-free foods.
They might be all the rage, but a gluten-free diet could actually make you gain weight. Gluten gives food texture and taste.When food manufacturers take it out, they usually add starch, fat and sugar, said Karen Ansel, a registered dietitian and co-author of “The Calendar Diet.”
Instead, choose whole foods or buy packaged foods more carefully.
”Look at the label—don’t assume it’s a better bet,” Ansel said.
2. Coconut oil.
It’s still not clear if coconut oil burns fat or if it has as many health benefits as olive oil does, but either way, it’s loaded with saturated fat.
“This is not going to make you lose weight, it’s still a fat,” Ansel said.
It’s okay to cook with coconut oil, but be sure to measure it carefully.
It might seem like a healthy snack, but most types of yogurt are filled with artificial sweeteners and added sugar or fructose. Fructose not only fails to trigger satiety, leaving you feeling hungry, it also goes straight to your liver, where it makes fat, said JJ Virgin, a celebrity nutrition and fitness expert and author of “The Virgin Diet,” a New York Times bestseller.
A better option: Add fresh berries to cultured unsweetened coconut milk yogurt or plain Greek yogurt. You’ll get less sugar than a flavored variety and an added fiber boost.
Sure, raw fish is healthy, but it’s easy to eat more than a half cup of rice in a sushi meal.
“In order to get enough protein, you will OD on rice,” Virgin said.
Plus, make it tempura, add mayonnaise, and you might as well be eating fast food.
Instead, order a skinny roll with cucumber, avocado or sprouts or make a meal of one order of sushi, one order of sashimi and a salad.
Smoothies at most restaurants are not only high in calories, but the lack of fiber and added sugar won’t make you feel full.
“It can be one of the best ways to start the day, or it can be a milkshake,” Virgin said.
Instead, make a smoothie at home with milk, protein powder, chia seeds or flaxseed, veggies and ½ to 1 cup of fresh berries.
6. Dried fruit.
Dried fruit might seem healthy, but it’s easy to overdo it— there’s no water and little protein or fat, meaning you won’t fill up as easily. Plus, the sugar is condensed.
“The more sweet you eat, the more sweet you want,” Virgin said.
You might be getting your greens, but add candied walnuts, dried cranberries and blue cheese, and “salad can become dessert very quickly,” Virgin said.
Instead, load up on the veggies, add a lean protein and a healthy fat like avocado or plain nuts. Skip dressing and use extra virgin olive oil with vinegar or lemon instead.
Wrap sandwiches are often touted as a healthier alternative, but, at 350 calories, “you’re getting as many calories from the wrap as you would a bagel,” Ansel said.
Two slices of whole grain bread are 100 calories each, making bread a better deal with the bonus of more fiber.
Granola has oats, nuts and seeds and although these are healthy on their own, when they’re combined to make granola, honey (read: sugar), fat and oil join in. A serving size is just 1/4 cup, so if you eat more, you can easily down 600 calories in one sitting.
A whole grain, high-fiber cereal with no added sugar is the healthier way to go.
There’s nothing better than corn on the cob in the summer but this grain (yep, it’s not a veggie) packs 600 calories in a cup.
Swap corn for crunchy veggies that give you the same bite such as carrots, cucumbers or celery.
Julie Revelant is a health journalist and a consultant who provides content marketing and copywriting services for the healthcare industry. She’s also a mom of two. Learn more about Julie at revelantwriting.com.