Diet obviously plays a huge role when you’re trying to drop the pounds, but did you know that certain foods can be worse than others? While some of the foods on this list may be somewhat obvious, others may come as a surprise. Read on to find out what to avoid when you’re trying to lose weight.
1. Frozen, processed meals
Yes, those frozen pastas that come in a box are super convenient to bring with you to work, but they’re also loaded with sodium to make the food last extra-long in your freezer. Not only is too much sodium a big no-no if you suffer from hypertension, it also causes bloating. Also, don’t be surprised when you start feeling hungry again not too long after eating those type of meals.
“Aim for frozen entrées with 400 calories or less and limit the sodium content to less than 500 mg of sodium. Fluid retention can sabotage your weight loss as well,” says Angela Ginn, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Baltimore, Maryland.
OK, so this isn’t a food, but many of us do enjoy a good drink every now and then. The key phrase is “every now and then” because alcohol contains empty calories and you know what that means, right? You’re more likely to overeat later. To avoid this, limit your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks per week. And if you’re really disciplined, you can cut out alcohol altogether.
3. Fiber bars
Did you know that the fiber bars you pick up at the supermarket are really nothing more than glorified candy bars? Don’t get me wrong; fiber is great because it keeps you fuller longer, which is excellent when you’re trying to lose weight, but it’s important to examine the label first. “A fiber bar should be 200 calories or less and no more than 25 grams of carbs and don’t forget the fiber,” Ginn says. “It should contain three grams of fiber or more.”
In addition, try incorporating foods that are naturally high in fiber into your diet, including oatmeal, beans, brown rice, and fruits, such as pears, avocadoes, raspberries, and blackberries.
4. “Low-fat” foods
According to the Journal of Marketing Research, people eat up to 30 percent more when they see a “low-fat” label. Furthermore, “low-fat” foods contain about 20 percent more sugar than their full-fat equivalents. Not cool!
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5. Too many liquid calories
This includes smoothies, coffee, tea, juices, and sodas, of course. According to the Beverage Guidance Panel, approximately 21 percent of Americans get their calories from beverages daily.
“Liquid calories can be the major contributor to weight gain and slow weight loss. A 20-ounce soda or juice can contain 240-255 calories,” Ginn says. “Removing one 20-ounce sweetened beverage per day can help you achieve one pound weight loss per week.”
We’re not saying you should completely swear off beverages, but healthier options include good-ole fashioned H2O, skim or almond milk, and vegetable juice. Fruit juice is also an option if you limit your intake to no more than four ounces a day.