18 November 2018

6 ‘healthy’ foods you should cut back on if you want to lose weight

These choices may actually be sabotaging your goals.

As a dietitian, I frequently have to analyse a client’s diet and troubleshoot certain areas where they can improve. Often, red flags pop up. When I tell my clients to cut back on certain foods, they sometimes stare at me like, “Huh?”

Most of the educating I do focuses on dispelling persistent nutrition myths or poking holes in the “research” behind marketing-generated label claims. Notice I didn’t say that these are foods you should stop eating. No one food is bad or good, but some foods can be detrimental to your health and sabotage your desire to lose weight when consumed in high amounts.

Read more: This common weight loss food might actually be giving you a belly

1. Egg whites

The egg white trend makes me see red. Whole eggs are one of the least expensive, highest-quality proteins on the planet. Though once demonised due to their high cholesterol, better science now shows that dietary cholesterol has no effect on overall blood cholesterol. Don’t believe restaurants and “experts” who say egg whites are heart healthy and that whole eggs are not.

2. Non- or low-fat packaged foods

Fat helps your body absorb nutrients. So when you buy a bottle of non-fat salad dressing, you’re actually consuming fewer nutrients from the greens than if you were to use a little olive oil. Plus, admit it: Non-fat dressing tastes terrible.

Read more: Craving chips? This is how to make your own vegetable crisps and satisfy your junk food cravings

3. Full carb snacks

Crackers, cereal bars, pretzels–these foods offer little nutrition beyond a measly gram or so of fibre, at most. Swap these for snacks that include stomach-filling protein and/or better fibre numbers. Nuts, biltong, apples, cheese, Greek yoghurt, berries, and cottage cheese are all good picks.

4. Peanut butter

I have a friend who can sit with a jar in hand and mindlessly feed himself spoonful after spoonful of the stuff. Yes, peanut butter (and almond butter, and cashew butter) offers a great source of heart-healthy fats, but PB kilojoules can pile up fast. Limit yourself to two spoonfuls. Then close up the jar and back away. If this seems impossible, give any of the popular powdered peanut butters a try.

Read more: These peanut butter protein bombs will make your muscles grow

5. Energy bars

Many of them are nothing more than fortified candy bars – sometimes with more calories. Yes, they’re convenient, but think about packing your snack bag with more nutritious non-perishable options (nuts, shelf-stable single-serving milks) instead.

6. Fruit-on-the-bottom yoghurt

The word “fruit” should be used loosely. It’s more like sugar on the bottom, as some yoghurts can have more added sugar than a soft drink. Instead, stick with plain Greek yogurt and add fresh fruit.

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Image credit: iStock


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