One of the easiest ways to stick to your 2018 resolution to lose weight is by not keeping “bad” foods in your house. You can’t be tempted by a cookie if the cookie isn’t there. Eliminate these sneaky foods from your shopping list.
“Juice has as much sugar as soda,” says Alix Turoff, a New York City nutritionist and trainer. Eek! All of the healthy fiber in a whole piece of fruit is lost when it becomes juice. So while you think you’re having something healthy, it’s totally the opposite. “Juice causes your blood sugar to spike and then crash quickly which leads to more sugar cravings and feelings of hunger,” she says.
We’ve been tricked by granola but we’re not alone. It seems really healthy, right? But Turoff says it’s loaded with calories and sugar. While it’s possible to find granola with better stats you need to read labels carefully and watch portion size. Chances are you’re eating multiple servings in one meal.
“This is another tricky food because people tend to think it's healthier than other sauces - maybe because it's green?” says Turoff. A typical pesto can have as much as 250 to 300 calories per tiny ¼-cup serving. That’s huge when compared to an average red sauce that ranges from 40 to 90 calories per ½-cup serving.
“Unless you have a gluten intolerance, there is no reason to substitute foods for their gluten counterparts,” says Turoff. GF versions of your fave foods (pretzels, cookies, bread) are always higher in calories and carbs than the original versions. “If you're going gluten free and cutting out all processed food, that's a different story,” she says, “but don't be fooled by foods that sound healthy just because they're ‘gluten-free’.”
Real sugar isn’t great but there’s actually something worse – sugar imposters! Sugar alcohols have lots of tricky sounding names: erythritol, xylitol, maltitol. If you see any of these ingredients on bars and supplements, walk away. “The addition of sugar alcohols help lower sugar and carbs in foods but they also cause major belly bloat and GI distress,” says Stacy Goldberg, a nutritionist at savorfull. Gum can cause a double bloat as many brands contain these sugar alcohols and swallowing lots of air puffs up your gut.
“These are a huge calorie pit,” says Andrea Wise, a Chicago-based trainer and nutrition coach. You probably add dried fruits to salad, oatmeal and yogurt, or snack on a handful. But they contain so much natural sugar that your calorie and carb intake can skyrocket. Instead opt for berries. They’re packed with fiber and are low in carbs.
Flavored yogurts contain more than 15 to 18 grams of sugar. Sure some is natural but most are added empty calories. “You can reduce your added sugar intake by choosing plain, unflavored yogurt and flavoring it with fresh or frozen fruit, nuts, cinnamon or a drizzle of honey,” says Jenny Dang, RD, the founder of Eat Your Dang Veggies. The fruit will give you an extra vitamin boost and the almonds contain healthy fats that keep you feeling full.
“Sugary cereal is a terrible food,” says David Baillie, a Connecticut-based personal trainer and owner of Front-Line Fitness. That means basically any box with a cartoon character on it. He says many cereals are highly processed, and full of sugar and refined carbohydrates. All of that added sugar is a big reason why cereal-eaters put on pounds. It’s super important to read the food labels on cereal boxes and aim for one that has at least 3 to 5 grams fiber and no more than 5 grams sugar per serving. And then look to see how much is in a serving. A typical recommended serving size is 30 grams, which Baillie says is about half of what the average person eats.