“True health care reform starts in the kitchen, not in Washington.”
Losing weight goes hand-in-hand with eating healthy food. To most people, healthy eating is pretty straightforward: lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low carbs and fats, and especially low sugars. However, thanks to clever marketing and an astonishing lack of decent education on the subject, most people make critical mistakes when selecting their weight-loss menus. This can mean either negligible results, or in worst cases can even result in gained weight. So what are the top 10 things to avoid when working to accomplish a weight-loss goal?
1. Anything Marketed as Low-Fat
While this may seem counter-intuitive, food industries have made a lot of money profiting off of consumers’ lack of knowledge about dietary chemistry through the exploitation of the words “low-fat.” People see this and assume it means they will start dropping pounds or at the very least won’t put on any additional weight. More often than not the opposite is true. This is because when manufacturers skim the fat out of their products, they replace it with various forms of sugar to make it taste better. When you are trying to lose weight, sugar is your biggest enemy. When making a health-conscious decision, always opt for the regular version. The higher fat content means it will satisfy your hunger more efficiently and for a longer period and the lower sugar content means you will get closer to your weight-loss goals more quickly.
2. White Rice
Made up entirely of simple carbohydrates, which the body views and uses the same way as sugar, white rice also has very little in the way of nutrients and can cause a spike in blood sugar. As with all blood sugar spikes, it’s short-lived and will result in cravings for more unhealthy foods in order for the body to maintain the same energy level. Simply replace white rice with brown rice and see your cravings begin to diminish, along with your waist line.
For the same reason as white rice, most pastas, unless they are whole grain, should be avoided. For that matter, avoid white breads as well and eat whole grains whenever possible.
4. Canned Fruit
The fruit isn’t the enemy here; it’s the syrup they are canned in. Canning fruits in syrup ensures that they last longer, as sugar is one of the few things that can last almost indefinitely. However, while you may have healthy goals by consuming the canned fruit (it’s hard to resist the call of canned pears) the consequences far outweigh the benefits. You’d be much better off with a fresh fruit option, and even better would be frozen fruit, which is picked at the height of its ripeness and nutritional value.
I know this is a hard one. But the sad truth of the matter is that alcohol is nothing but fermented sugar, meaning it gets turned to fat just the same. Compound that with the common habit of consuming snacks high in fat and sodium while drinking and you’ve got yourself the trifecta of bad diet decisions.
6. Premade Meals
By this we mean boxed and frozen meals that simply require that you microwave before eating, as well as canned foods. Even if they are the “healthy” options that contain all natural organic ingredients, nearly every one of these dinners also contains a hefty amount of sodium to make them more palatable and last longer. The problem with high sodium is that it makes you eat more and causes your body to hold more water weight to counteract the sodium. In fact, if you want to see immediate weight loss results, simply drink more water and eat less salt.
Whether diet or regular, it makes no difference; soda is harmful to a healthy weight loss goal. The tremendous sugar in a regular soda drink means that one can could set you back a few days from your weight loss goal, and the empty sweetness of a diet soda triggers cravings for other sweet snacks that can be hard to resist. Couple that with the ever-present “well, I have been drinking diet drinks, maybe one snack couldn’t hurt…” and you’re just asking for trouble.
8. Salted nuts
Nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats and proteins, no question, and you should absolutely be eating them as a part of a healthy lifestyle. However, when they are salted (and especially when they are honey-roasted) you should try to avoid them. High sodium, as we’ve said, results in higher consumption from mindless eating (something you especially don’t want to do with nuts, which have a high calorie content), and also results in added water weight. Instead of nuts, substitute it with seeds such as Flaxseeds or Chia.
Just because the education system classifies it as a vegetable in the school lunch program doesn’t mean there’s anything healthy about this salty, sugary tomato paste.
10. Deli Meats
Deli meats are loaded with sodium to make them last longer on the shelves. Yes, even that “lean” turkey. You’ll be much better off cooking the meat from scratch yourself and then slicing it up for sandwiches. This way, you’ll be able to monitor what goes into it. If you freeze the leftovers and use them as you need them, you’ll likely save quite a few bucks, as well.
Sure, you can’t eat perfect all the time, but making a few changes here and there will put you on a faster track towards a healthy diet and lifestyle. Remember, trash in, trash out; if you aren’t eating healthy, you won’t feel healthy, and you’ll quickly give up on your weight loss goals. Make healthy choices whenever possible, and keep it up; you’ll get there.