If we strive to lose weight but are unsuccessful, it can be because we don’t know how to make healthy meal choices. Sometimes what appears to be healthy is not. Simply pay attention and learn when, how much, and how to eat certain things.
Industrial pastries, pre-cooked dishes, snacks, and sweets are just a few examples of harmful items that we exclude from our diet when trying to get in shape or lose weight. They are foods that should never be eaten or should only be consumed seldom because of how different their nutritional characteristics are from what we consider to be a healthy and balanced diet. However, there are some foods that may look healthy at first glance, but when eaten frequently or in large quantities, they might have a negative impact on our weight.
Many fans of this traditional Japanese dish eat it under the mistaken belief that it has few calories, even though this is frequently not the case. The other components of sushi, aside from the all-fish sashimi, are typically quite calorie-dense. According to experts, “these items contain plenty of white rice, a carbohydrate that is also produced with rice vinegar, high in sugar and salt, and extremely quickly digested.” On the other side, there are certain portions that additionally include other components like avocado, cheese, or caramelized onions, which greatly raise the dish’s calorie count.
In light of all of this, the advice is to eat it better at lunch than at dinner and restrict its quantity by pairing it with other foods like edamame, seaweed salads, or miso soup, which fill us up more and deliver fewer calories.
2. Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices
Unfortunately, one of the biggest contributors to weight gain is soft drinks and fruit juices. It is a common misconception that because something has the label “without sugar” or “without added sugars,” consuming it will not harm our health or cause us to gain weight. In fact, fruit juices have free sugars that supply empty calories and do not satisfy us as naturally occurring fruits do, while zero-sugar soft drinks are rich in sweeteners, which promotes our urge to consume more sweet meals.
No matter what time of day it is, the expert’s advice is to drink them as little as possible. Instead, try sparkling water, water with fruit slices, infusions, or fruit-based dishes like fruit salads or brochettes.
Another thing that shouldn’t be regularly consumed is alcohol, even if it’s just a glass of wine. Wine is supposed to be particularly beneficial since it contains a lot of antioxidants (polyphenols), but alcohol, which also contains similar compounds, includes calories. Since alcohol actually produces 7 kilocalories per gram, routinely drinking more than one drink each day can raise the risk of gaining weight.
4. Flavored Yogurts
Flavored yogurts have advertising claims to persuade us that consuming them is healthful, similar to drinks without added sugars. Flavored yogurts and sweet dairy treats can also be categorized under this heading.
The issue with these goods is that, despite the fact that they don’t have to be light, they are frequently labeled as skimmed or fat-free. In fact, the vast majority of the time they include significant amounts of sugars, whose consumption is associated with a higher risk of weight gain as well as other serious health issues like diabetes or cavities. The idea is to limit your intake of them as much as possible and switch to natural, unsweetened yogurts that you may flavor with fruit pieces, cinnamon, dark chocolate, and nuts.
Consuming skimmed or semi-skimmed dairy products is advised for those who are overweight because full dairy products’ fat content contains calories that can lead to weight gain.
5. Crackers, Breakfast Cereals, and White Bread
Even though biscuits and morning cereals are frequently recommended in weight loss plans, they are typically not the greatest choice. First of all, they frequently contain large amounts of sugar (or, in the absence of that, sweeteners) and refined flours, which not only contain empty calories but also have a high potential for addiction and little satiating impact. Additionally, in addition to the fundamental ingredients like wheat or cereal flakes, sugar, butter, or margarine, they frequently incorporate other items like chocolates or dehydrated fruits that further raise the overall number of calories they offer.
Carbohydrates are the most important macronutrient in the diet, therefore if you do eat them, it’s best to do so first thing in the morning rather than later in the day. The best choice is unquestionably to swap them out for healthier options like whole-grain bread or sugar-free whole-grain flakes.
In the case of bread, another staple in our diet, wholemeal is always the better choice. Since refined flour lacks minerals and fiber, the only value it produces is caloric. Bread’s refined carbohydrates cause blood sugar to surge, but they don’t make you feel full; rather, they keep your appetite strong.
6. Homemade Pastries
Many people think it’s a great idea to substitute handmade pastries for commercial ones while trying to lose weight, but the truth is that if bad components are used, the pastries will still be unhealthy. As previously mentioned, demand for these homemade goods had skyrocketed since the pandemic when Covid gave us more time to cook in peace. However, the truth is that their consumption is one of the factors contributing to the population’s projected significant increase in weight during this period.
The ingredients are the same or extremely comparable, therefore they give a lot of calories, which is counterproductive to people’s beliefs that making it at home will make it healthier and lighter.
When wholemeal flour or fruit are used in place of sugar in this pastry, healthier alternatives, its quality is substantially increased, but the caloric intake is not reduced.
Because of this, it is advised to avoid them entirely, much like industrial pastries, and if consumed sometimes, always pick the healthiest varieties. They should only be consumed once a week, in a limited amount, and always better in the morning than in the afternoon (approximately 100 gr).
7. Light Jams
Many people opt to purchase the light version of this food because they dislike salty meals like whole-grain toast with oil and natural tomato and prefer sweet mornings like bread with jam. These are a popular resource in breakfast toast for people who want to reduce weight, but experts point out that they are not a healthy alternative. First off, a product is only considered light if it has at least 30% fewer calories than comparable products. Second, its primary component, sugar, give empty calories, the exact opposite of what we need to do in order to lose weight and body fat. And finally, Its strong sweet flavor, which is made possible by these sugars or sweeteners, increases our need for further sweets and has a low and temporary satiating effect.
Therefore, a light jam will continue to be a high-calorie product, so you should be aware that eating it for breakfast will raise its caloric content beyond what it should, which will either cause us to feel hungry again right away or cause our consumption to rise overall.
The ultimate “superfood” is arguably an avocado. Its popularity started to spread a few years ago, leading many individuals to include it without restriction in their everyday diets. Avocado is a healthy food since it mostly consists of good fats, which are helpful in lowering cholesterol and preventing cardiovascular illnesses. Additionally, due to its high fat content, it is extremely filling, which is advantageous when developing a weight loss plan.
However, for the same reason, we must not forget that avocado has a high-calorie intake, so we can consume it daily. At any time, we should not take more than 0.5 to 1 per day, constantly depending on our activity routine.
Natural nuts are incredibly wholesome but also quite calorie-dense (without frying, without salt, and without any other form of spice). Their low water content, which means that the other nutrients remain in high concentration, is the main property of nuts. In particular, “its essential macronutrient is unsaturated fats, which offer a lot of calories in a very little amount of food and, thus, the amount taken must be regulated (4-5 nuts, for example).
Despite this, eating nuts can help you lose weight because they have a strong satiating impact and don’t rapidly spike your blood sugar levels. They should only be ingested naturally or roasted, and not more than once a day, unless a very strong physical activity is performed, in order to ensure that these positive effects are not masked.
Dates are another item that is in high demand. Although it has a high nutritional value because it is rich in vitamins, fiber, and minerals like iron and potassium (which makes it an ideal product to include in our diet), we must remember that it is dried fruit, so its water content is very low and its caloric intake is very high. This product is used as a substitute for sugar and sweeteners in most homemade pastry recipes. Because of this, its consumption is controlled and in line with our physical activity. The nutritionist recommends eating a few dates before working out to provide us with a boost of energy.
Although this is frequently not the case, people who are following a diet plan frequently choose salads as a very low-calorie option.
Escalada gives the example of how this method of cooking allows us to add almost any type of food, so we can make salads that actually have very few calories (based on lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, and turkey cubes seasoned with lemon juice and a little oil) or very caloric (based on white pasta, salmon, avocado, cheese, fried onion, walnuts, and pink sauce).
Another issue with salads is that, if we cook them every day and change up the contents a little, they can get uninteresting and occasionally are not particularly filling, leaving us feeling hungry again quickly.
As a result, the nutritionist’s recommendation is to opt for making them with an abundance of vegetables of various colors, add a low-fat protein source (chicken, turkey, prawns, egg…) and dress them in extra virgin olive oil (it is best to use a spray bottle so as to not exceed the quantity) and vinegar or lemon.