10 Foods That Could Be Sabotaging Your Fitness Journey
When you’re on a fitness journey, what you put in your body is just as important as how (and how much) you move it. You’re avoiding all the right things – you know those doughnuts in the breakroom, passing on that piece of cake at the birthday celebration, or saying no to that second slide of pizza (even though you really wanted it) – but these common temptations aren’t the only ones you need to watch out for.
We’ve pulled together 10 foods that you might think are healthy but aren’t. You can kind of think of them like wolves in sheep’s clothing!
Just because they are fat-free, doesn’t mean they’re good for you. Pretzels are made with white flour, which converts to sugar in your body. This spikes blood sugar which can even make you hungrier. Find something with more nutritional value, fiber or protein to replace pretzels as your go-to snack.
Energy, cereal and granola bars
An easy snack you can pack or grab-and-go, energy bars might seem like a great time-saving healthy option. Despite the clever packaging, make sure you read the label before tucking in. You’ll see most of the protein or fiber you think you’re getting, comes at a price. Some energy, cereal or granola bars are full of sugar – only a few grams away from a candy bar. Not all are created equal, so read the label to know exactly what’s inside to make an informed decision.
Drink diet soda to help you lose weight? You might be saving the 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar by switching to diet soda while still satiating your craving for that bubbly soft drink. But, it too, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It won’t work. Rather than sugar, diet sodas are sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Not only are the effects of these artificial sweeteners controversial, they also trigger insulin, which sends your body into fat storage mode leading to weight gain, not loss.
If you look at the nutrition label, you’ll see margarine has less saturated fat than butter because it is made from vegetable oils rather than animal fat. But keep in mind, margarine is made in a lab and not in a barn. Vegetable oils found in I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter! are extracted from corn, soybeans or safflower seeds and then heated to remove impurities. This steaming process also strips it of any vitamins and antioxidants. It is then hydrogenated to make it semi-solid, then emulsified to remove lumps and bleached to get rid of the original grey color. That’s not all. It’s then steamed again to remove the chemical smell and then synthetic vitamins and colors are added to finish it off. Guessing you can’t believe just how far from butter it really is.
Not much of a shocker but think of these as a regular chips that are colored and flavored to resemble a vegetable or a fruit. Highly processed, without many nutrients, these veggie sticks or crisps are full of sodium and lack the fiber of the real deal. Despite their name, a lot of them are artificially flavored with spinach, sweet potato, tomato or whatever other vegetable they claim to include. Do your research and study that ingredients list before digging in.
Ahh, fruit cocktail cups. These tasty little treats take you straight back to carefree childhood days. But those little convenient cups can do more damage to your waistline than you might think. One cups is upwards of 110 calories and over 25g of sugar. That’s a serious shot to the blood sugar from something that’s not going to keep you full for long. Stick to the whole fruit instead. Plus, a nectarine, apple, or pear is just as easy to take along.
Breeze past those colorful yogurts that line the dairy aisle at your local supermarket and stop at the Greek yogurt section to stock your fridge with a protein rich option to start your day instead. The tiny cup of yogurt has a ton of sugar (anywhere from 10g-17g per serving!!) and runs short in the protein and fat department. Stick to Greek yogurt with fresh fruit for flavor instead.
Flavored instant oatmeal
While steel cut oats and traditional oatmeal are staples in a healthy diet, instant oatmeal is NOT. Flavored, single-serving packets of instant oatmeal have too much added sugar. If you need something portable, or fast, keep that big tub of Quaker handy and add fruit or spices for flavor without the damage to your fitness gains. Steel-cut oats are even better as they help promote weight loss and lower your risk of heart disease.
While frozen yogurt might not have the amount of saturated fat that ice cream does, in the wise words of Cookie Monster, it should still be a sometimes food. To make up for the lack of fat, most brands add lots of sugar (and that’s before you add your own toppings to the mix). If you love ice cream build it into your healthy eating plan or try our NICE cream recipes – remember everything in moderation.
Sweets are sweets my friends. There is a tendency to forget that fat-free candies, cookies, cakes, and other desserts are not in fact calorie-free. Also, similar to frozen yogurt, many manufacturers make up for the loss of flavor from reducing the fat with lots of added sugar. With lots of added sugar and the tendency to overindulge, fat-free sweets are still sweets so treat them that way.