Losing weight can be a challenging task. Our lifestyle and eating habits have a huge influence on our weight loss goals. Eating healthy and regular exercise are essential but it is not always enough. With so many processed and packaged foods on the market it is easy to be fooled into eating hidden unhealthy foods that are disguised as “healthy foods”. Even foods labelled as “low-fat” or “low-sugar” can have hidden calories packed inside them.
Reading the nutritional label is a must if you want to follow a healthy lifestyle. Always be aware of the portion size for a single serving. Many foods have the nutritional information split into two on the label, making them seem lower in calories than they actually are. Another thing to watch out for is “low-fat” and other diet foods, these are usually loaded with added sugar to make them taste better. Likewise, “low-sugar” foods are often packed with other sugar alternatives that are worse than sugar.
You should focus on eating whole foods when ever possible, and avoid processed foods when you can. Sometimes even the foods you think are healthy might not be as healthy they seem. Finding your way through the healthy foods can be challenging, so here is a list of 6 healthy foods that you should avoid for fat loss.
1. Protein Bars
These are often considered a healthier alternative to candy bars, and are often used as a post workout snack. However, these bars are packed with sugars and other questionable ingredients. Many people trying to lose weight or build muscle often stock up on store brought protein bars, don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking they are all healthy.
The problem is the supplement industry is so over hyped into making believe these products are part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s always the same trick, “25g of protein” or “high in protein” that draws people in. However, it’s everthing else that that goes inside them that you should be more concerned about, such as unhealthy chemicals, additives, preservatives and other conventional ingredients.
Better Option: Make your own healthier protein bars using only healthy ingredients. You can try our healthy chocolate chip protein bar recipe here.
2. Soy-Based Foods
Although soy is often considered as a healthy, cholesterol-free, cheap, low-fat protein alternative to meat. However, soy is not healthy by any means, and any food that has soy listed in the ingredients should be avoided. About 60% of foods on the market contain some form of soy. Whether it’s soy protein, soy isolate, or soy oil they have all shown to impair fertility, affect estrogen in women and even lower sex drive.
The majority of soy is GMO (genetically modified organism) and you can’t get around this. Many health and fitness experts, and even Doctors still think that soy is a healthy food. Seriously avoid this stuff.
Better Option: Almond milk is a much healthier replacement for both cow’s milk and soy milk. However, still check the ingredients label to make sure that soy has not been added unnecessarily.
3. Salad Dressings
Eating salads is usually one of the first things people do when they want to lose weight, and thats great, getting more veggies in your diet is a great way to help weight loss. But then people go load their salads up with unhealthy dressings in a bid to make them taste better. These dressing are loaded with unhealthy ingredients such as sugar, vegetable oils, trans fats, and a bunch of other unhealthy chemicals.
Although vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, loading them up with these unhealthy and fattening dressings is completely defeating the object. Just check the ingredients list and see what really goes into them.
Better Option: Make your own healthy dressings using healthy ingredients that promote fat loss.
4. Flavored Yogurt
While plain organic and Greek yogurt is often a part of a healthy diet, you should be careful when considering store brought and conventional flavoured yogurts. These yogurts are loaded with milk from cows that have been treated with growth hormones and even antibiotics to stop them from getting sick. The flavors come from unhealthy artificial flavorings and heavily refined sugars that will not do your body any good.
You should avoid any yogurts that are labelled as light or lite, these products are packed with articial sweeteners to improve their flavor. These sweeteners can have a negative effect on your health, producing all sorts hormonal imbalances. The best option is to consume yogurt that is in its most natural form, such as natural organic yogurt or Greek yogurt.
Better Option: Consume plain organic yogurt as it is free of artificial sweeteners and flavors, and if it does contain sugar it will be in its natural form. Add blueberries or raspberries for extra flavor.
5. Muesli and Granola
A favorite among those trying to live a healthy lifestyle, however it is best to avoid these breakfasts at all cost. Muesli and granola are often considered healthy, but what makes them unhealthy is the amount of sugar and unhealthy oils they contain.
These cereals usually contain dried fruit that is soaked in fruit juice to soften it, then go through a process where more sugar and fats are added, you best to stay clear from these “fake” health foods. If you must consume them look for alternatives that contain zero sugar, and without the dried fruit.
Better Option: Try homemade oatmeal, omelette or healthy egg scramble for breakfast instead. See our Live Lean cookbook for loads of healthy breakfast recipes.
6. Sports Drinks
A common misconception, especially among the younger generation, is that sports drinks are better for you than carbonated soda drinks and other sugar laden beverages. While these sports drinks may be “better” for you – or should I say, “not as bad” for you – they are loaded with sugar and salt to improve their flavor.
If you spoke to anyone who consumed the original drink, Gatorade, back when it was the popular choice of drink for the Florida Gators, you would have learned that it actually tasted terrible. It was designed to be consumed during intense physical activity as a re-hydration drink for depleted athletes, not a recreational drink that most sports drinks have become today. It has since been purchased by PepsiCo, and needless to say, the formula has changed dramatically.
Better Option: Try making your own healthy sports drinks to help replenish the body and refuel it after an intense cardio workout or sporting event.