I was consuming a smoothie for breakfast, turkey sandwich for lunch, and an equally healthy option for dinner. Or so I thought. These were only a couple of the food choices I’d opted for to get in better shape. And while I wasn’t exercising as much as I should have been, I soon found out that it wasn’t just my inconsistent workout routine that was to blame. It was also my diet.
I thought I was doing my body some good by consuming low-fat cold cuts, sometimes with no bread if I was really being disciplined. I was also eating salads that didn’t consist of cheese and other fattening additives, choosing pretzels over Doritos, and protein bars instead of Snickers. But after researching some of the foods I was eating, I found out that many were much worse than I imagined. So I decided to eliminate them from my diet as I began my new workout regimen. Here’s a list of some of the worst food researchers say you can eat when you’re trying to get in shape.
Smoothies, if done right, can be a great option when attempting to lose weight or get in shape; but if done wrong that can actually be the opposite. Smoothies bought from many restaurant establishments are geared more towards taste than health. They’re usually made with added milk, too much sugar, etc. Instead of buying smoothies, make your own to ensure that you’re getting all of the nutrients.
Although many diet drinks make you feel good about yourself when you see the nonexistent amount of sugar in them, studies show that they really aren’t that healthy. In fact, they could be causing some risk to your health.
A 2008 study in the journal Circulation followed close to 10,000 people for nine years who were drinking artificially sweetened beverages. Through the research they found out that these individuals were not any healthier than their non-diet drinking counterparts. And they had a 34 percent greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome (raises risk of heart disease and other health problems).
If you’re like most people, including me, not eating bread is probably one of the hardest things to do. From bagels to baguettes, white bread is low in nutrients but isn’t stingy with the carbs. If you’re series about losing weight, eliminating (or at least decreasing) this foodie favorite is best.
There really is little that can compare to a serving of hot, crispy French fries. Truth be told, there is very little that you can fry and season that won’t taste good; but we know that everything that looks or tastes good simply isn’t the best for you. If you’re trying to get in shape, French fries and other fried foods can’t have a place in your diet. Besides the excessive amount of fat, these foods pose enormous health risks including high blood pressure and stroke. Instead of frying, try grilled or baked options.
I’ve had heated debates in several break rooms with people who honestly believe that muffins are a healthy breakfast option. I’m not sure if it’s the banana nut part that confuses them or what. Muffins, along with other pastries, are a bad way to start your morning. The fat and sugar content is enough to last you for the week.
If you’re a Starbucks fiend, you won’t be happy to hear this. Then again, I’m sure you already know just how much sugar is added to make your latte so addictive. Most coffee drinks that taste like milkshakes have just as many calories as ice cream, if not more. Before you order a frappuccino or latte, check the sugar and fat content.
The thought of drinking a sugary beverage for energy just sounds all wrong. However, millions of people rely on them to get through the day (or night). In fact, it’s a $21 billion dollar industry. Here’s the bad part: Energy drink companies are not well regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This means they can forgo using a nutritional label (or accurate one), marketing them as dietary supplements. Because of this, many health experts recommend eliminating them from your diet.
Packaged Cold Cuts
When I heard that my turkey sandwiches weren’t necessarily the best option for healthy eating, I was disappointed. Besides being cost-efficient, the calorie count on most deli meats is low. I had, however, forgotten that it is all processed. And processed foods aren’t necessarily the choice of health food champions due to excess sodium.
While some are better than others, if you choose to buy (which I still do), opt for those that are minimally processed. Or go to your local deli and allow them to slice the meat for you.
All sushi is not created equal when it comes to taste. This is also true as it relates to nutrition. Most sushi rice is made with sugar and rice vinegar. In most cases, one sushi roll alone can add up to at least 240 calories. The rice is also high in refined carbohydrates.
Pretzels are low in fat but they’re not necessarily healthy. They are nutritionally empty and oftentimes contain a lot of sodium. Because of their bland nature, many pretzels are covered with seasonings that add more calories, fat, and sodium.
Some protein bars are good for you, while others may as well be a candy bar because of their high sugar and carbs. Read the labels before you buy to prevent yourself from choosing the wrong one. Also, protein supplements should be limited anyway, especially if you aren’t working out.
When most people hear granola, they think healthy; but this isn’t always the case. Many granola bars contain lots of carbs and high-fructose sugar, which results in weight gain. Not to mention, most granola bars have added flavoring, increasing the sugar count. So if you are going to eat a granola bar, choose a simple one that isn’t loaded with fat and sugar.
Pasta surpasses bread when it comes to my food obsessions. However, pastas are high in fat and carbs and the downfall of any good diet. Think about it. If you’re on a 1,500-2,000 calorie diet, you’ve consumed more than half of that in most single servings of pasta.
Unless you’re asking for your drink straight up or on the rocks, you’re probably consuming a lot of sugar. When vodka brands add citrus, coconut, or all the other things that make your drink taste better, they’re packing on the sugar content. Your favorite cocktail probably contains more sugar than a couple bags of cookies. If you’re serious about losing weight, ditch the alcohol for a while.
It might be a shock to some, but if weight loss is a goal, trail mix isn’t the best snack option. Although most contain nuts that are packed with healthy fats, they also come with a lot of calories.