When you’re trying to lose weight (or fat), you may think you should steer clear of foods that are high in calories and only consume “healthy” foods to shed those pounds. So, it’s not uncommon for people to seek out healthy foods which also taste good. Oftentimes, due to misinformation and despite adequate exercise and eating “healthy,” many people do not see progress with their weight loss journey. In some cases, they may even gain more weight and feel like giving up.
The idea that you have to only eat healthy foods to achieve fat loss is a myth, according to fitness influencer and former pro bodybuilder Greg Doucette. At the end of the day, it comes down to the concept of “calories in versus calories out.” This means that as long as you are burning more calories (calories out) than you are consuming (calories in), you will lose weight, as your body is in a “caloric deficit.” If you are consuming more calories than you are burning, then you are in a “caloric surplus,” and the excess calories will be primarily stored as fat.
So, if you have been struggling to lose fat, despite having a regimented exercise routine and eating “healthy,” check this list to see if you are eating the kind of healthy foods that are high in calories. Although these foods may be good for you overall, they may also be preventing you from losing weight. By limiting your consumption of these foods, you may begin to see more progress in your weight loss journey.
Avocados have become a meme food among Millennials and have exploded in popularity in recent decades. This calorie-dense food has been popularized as a “superfood” containing copious amounts of healthy fats and fiber. In fact, a recent survey showed that the top reasons for people buying avocados were that they were “healthy” and “contain good fats.”
“Avocados are all the rage because they contain lots of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, but a little goes a long way. Half an avocado has 130 calories, approximately the same as 1/2 cup of ice cream. If weight loss is the goal, go easy on the guacamole,” nutritionist Julie Cunningham told TMS.
Most beans are healthy because of their rich protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber content. However, baked beans, which are a staple to most American and English breakfasts, are one of the least “healthy” forms of beans you can eat due to their high sugar content.
“One cup of baked beans contains 26g of sugar, which is almost the amount in a can of soda,” popular fitness expert and YouTuber Jeff Cavaliere said. So if you want to control your waistline, it is better to opt for a more plain version of beans such as chickpeas, kidney beans or pinto beans.
When you see blueberry or strawberry flavored yogurt, you might think you are getting the benefits of both fruits and yogurt at once. However, this could be a hindrance to your fat loss journey. The problem with fruit-flavored yogurt is that there is usually very little fruit actually in the yogurt. The majority of the mixture contains high amounts of corn syrup and sugar.
For example, one serving (170g) of Yoplait’s blueberry yogurt contains 170 calories and 26g of sugar. If you enjoy eating fruit yogurt, make your own at home by adding fresh fruits to unsweetened yogurt. This will save you calories and help you break through your weight loss plateau.
Just the word granola connotes a healthy snack. A popular breakfast cereal and snack, this is one of those foods you can easily over consume and realize too late. Sure, most granolas have many healthy grains and nuts, but there is a lot of sugar thrown into the preparation of granola as well.
Nutrition consultant and chef Julia Chebotar gave TMS the scoop on granola: “Granola has healthy properties – whole oats and grains – but it’s often prepared with a lot of butter, oil and sugar!” Even if you make your own granola, because it contains lots of grains and nuts, it is extremely calorie-dense. Snacking on this addictive food can add up to lots of extra calories. Try eating oatmeal instead, and sprinkle a little granola on the top if you find it difficult to go without.
How many times have you dined out with someone trying to lose weight, and they opt for soup or salad? Unless you are making your own at home, you are likely not cutting calories by consuming soups – especially those at restaurants. Chef Julia Chebotar says “cream-based soups can be quite high in fat,” and “soups at restaurants are notoriously high in sodium.”
“Too much salt doesn’t just raise blood pressure and will not aid in weight loss. But it can make you feel tired post-eating,” Chebotar explains. “Look at the ingredients and try veggie-based soups with water and broth instead of cream or butter.”
Is sushi healthy? It is hard to imagine this Japanese dish among the foods making you fat, especially since the portions are so tiny. According to Athlean X founder Jeff Cavaliere, most fish-based sushi only has 15% of the calories coming from protein, whereas the majority comes from carbohydrates from the sticky rice.
Well, the hard truth is that these carb-loaded rolls are so easily eaten that six pieces can quickly add up to 500 calories! Not to mention the added mayo-based sauces, tempura flakes and other high-calorie embellishments. So, next time you’re in the mood for sushi, opt for sashimi or rice-free seaweed sushi instead.
Fruit juice and smoothies
Many times those who may not enjoy eating fruits but hear about their various health benefits will consume fruit juices or smoothies instead. Registered dietitian and nutritionist Clara Lawson warned TMS about the various health benefits that are lost when consuming fruits in a liquid form.
“Don’t take fruit juice as healthier as a whole fruit itself. All the fiber of fruits is lost in the process of turning them into juice. Besides, the added sugars also affect the quality of fruits,” Lawson said. Aside from this, the biggest problem with these juices is that you are ingesting liquid calories. Liquid calories are too easy to consume, and it takes more to make you feel full. Therefore, Lawson recommends “to eat fruits as a whole rather than drinking their juices.”
With the plant-based industry seeing massive popularity in recent years, many of those who have decided to become vegetarian or vegan for health reasons have started consuming plant-based meat alternatives from companies such as Impossible and Beyond Meat. Although these companies boast about how much better their products are not only for the environment but also for our health, they are still not a good option for those looking to lose fat.
Taking a look at the ingredients list and nutrition labels, it is clear that these meat alternatives are packed with synthetic ingredients and contain high amounts of sodium, fat and also lack fiber. The high fat content makes these products quite calorie-dense. If you’re looking to lose weight, it is best you limit your consumption of such calorie-dense foods and look for foods which are low-calorie and high volume.
According to Chinese medicine food therapy nutritionist Juli Kramer, “One of the worst possible foods for weight loss is salad or raw foods in general.” Kramer explained the philosophy behind this saying, “those who struggle to lose weight have too much phlegm and dampness.” When this is the case, “they cannot get rid of fat, no matter how hard they try,” Kramer said. To solve this, they have to clear the root of the problem.
“According to Chinese medicine, accumulation of phlegm and dampness is primarily due to weak spleen and stomach function. Therefore, people with this problem need to eat more easily digestible foods such as cooked vegetables, along with bland tasting foods that remove dampness from the body by promoting urination,” Kramer explained.
The problem with eating salads and other raw foods is that they are hard to digest. “These foods enter the body cold, and the stomach and spleen have to work hard to bring them up to the ideal temperature of 100 degrees to digest. It’s like jumping into a cold lake or swimming pool and trying to warm up the body. It takes a lot of energy,” Kramer said. “People with weak stomachs and spleens don’t have the energy to warm the food. Eating salads and raw foods further weakens their digestion. Ultimately, that means they will continue to stay phlegm damp, simply adding more fat to their system.”
Aside from these ideas in Chinese medicine, salads are often topped with high-fat dressings or toppings like eggs, bacon bits, croutons and other foods that can quickly add up to a lot of calories.
Although most nuts are extremely rich in nutrients and considered to be healthy fats, they are considered calorie-dense foods. According to registered dietitian Mary Wirtz, 23 almonds “contains 165 calories and 14g of fat.” Wirtz encourages her clients “to include nuts in their meal and snack planning regularly, but consider pre-measuring out beforehand to control quantity easier.”
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