You’re diligently working out five days a week, you’re watching your diet, avoiding seconds and choosing lots of vegetables. Still, the weight won’t come off. Hitting weight plateaus is all too common and extremely frustrating. What’s going on? You’re eating all of the superfoods that Dr. Oz told you to eat! The problem may lie in one of these five sneaky foods, which are considered “healthy” but are not necessarily waist line friendly.
1. Light Yogurt. At just 90 calories per container how is this not a dieter’s best friend? Artificial sweeteners and fat re-placers, that’s how. In observational studies, people using artificial sweeteners instead of regular sugar rarely lose more weight than those just eating sugar. If your yogurt contains aspartame, sucralose (Splenda), acesulfame K, or saccharin it is artificially sweetened. Some food companies like to call Splenda “Natural” as it is made from sugar, but let me tell ya something, splenda does not grow from the ground like sugar cane. This type of yogurt may be an okay choice for someone with diabetes that has very high blood sugar, but I definitely do not recommend this for someone who is just trying to eat healthy or shed some pounds. Additionally, there is some research suggesting that artificial sweeteners increase your appetite and may disrupt metabolism causing glucose intolerance (precursor to diabetes). This research is not conclusive, but it makes me think twice before I reach for the “light.”
The Bottomline: A better choice would be adding fresh fruit and cinnamon to plain Greek Yogurt for natural sweetness.
2. Avocado. Avocados are without a doubt a healthy, nutrient dense food. They are a great source of monounsaturated fat, contain fiber, potassium, and vitamin E. The problem lies in the quantity we eat and what we eat them with. One medium avocado has approximately 300 calories- roughly the same amount of calories as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That means if we eat the recommended serving of 1/4 of an avocado, you will be eating a nutrient packed 75 calories. Good Job! If you eat an entire avocado as a salad topping your salad just went from 300 calories to 600 calories, maybe not the best choice. Another offender- guacamole. We know avocados are healthy, so obviously guacamole is healthy. Logical, but not quite right. Guacamole is usually eaten with chips and may have high calorie foods added to it such as cheese or sour cream.
The bottom line: Avocados are healthy but stick to 1/2 to 1/4 serving size. Eat guacamole with veggie stick instead of chips!
3. Nuts. Similar to avocados, nuts are a nutrient dense food, but they can be easily over eaten. A single serving of nuts is only 1/4 of a cup, approximately 23 almonds, 40 peanuts or pistachios, and 14 walnut halves.
The bottom line: When eating nuts measure out one serving (1 ounce or 1/4 cup) and then put the bag away, avoid eating directly from the bag.
4. Fresh squeezed juice. Juicing is all the rage these days. Juicing is great if you hate vegetables and it is the only way that you can get them in your diet. The better option would be just eating fruits and veggies, in order to retain maximum nutrients. When you juice, much of the healthy fiber is left behind in the pulp. If you are making green juice aim for 2 parts vegetables and 1 part fruit. A lot of research shows that food consumed in the liquid form is not as filling and satisfying as when it is consumed whole.
The bottom line: Go for the orange not the orange juice!
5. Coffee. There is actually an abundance of evidence which demonstrates coffee can be beneficial in preventing chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It’s not so much the actual coffee that is sabotaging our diets, but rather the coffee add ins and “coffee like” drinks. Lattes and frappucinos can contain upwards of 300 calories. Black coffee is the best choice. If using cream and sugar stick with 1 teaspoon sugar (1 packet) and 1 tablespoon of creamer.
The bottom line: Go for black coffee or minimally sweetened drinks
These are my top five not-so-healthy foods. What foods would you add to this list?