In between indulging ourselves for the holidays, we try to eat as healthy as possible. From limiting our carbs to avoiding sweets altogether, losing weight is no easy task. You may have the healthy eating part down (more or less), but do you know what fake “healthy” foods you should avoid?
That’s right, there are certain foods that claim to be “healthy” but unfortunately are loaded with ingredients that will only slow down your metabolism and hinder your weight loss efforts. Dieters beware: these four foods are not helping you reach your goal.
4 Foods That Aren’t Actually Healthy For You
1. Flavored Yogurt
“Yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and probiotic bacteria such as L. acidophilus, but not all yogurts are created equal,” says Jenny Dang, RD, the founder of Eat Your Dang Veggies. Flavored yogurts contain more than 15 to 18 grams of total sugar.
“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 Dang. “The fruit will give you an extra nutrient boost and the almonds contain healthy fats that will keep you feeling full.”
Granola is a popular topping that often gets added to a lot of weight loss breakfasts like yogurt and oatmeal, but New York-based nutritionist Regina Fazzini says that it's one of the worst things for you. "Granola, especially store-bought varieties, contain a lot of hidden carbs and grams of sugar. You're better off making your own granola, or just adding fresh fruit, seeds, or nuts to your breakfasts.”
3. Multigrain Bread
We’ve been told to avoid white bread and only eat whole grains, but many brands labeled as “multigrain” actually contain refined grains. These refined grains lack fiber and can cause your blood sugar to spike and make you crave more unhealthy foods. "Be a smarter bread shopper! If the first flour listed on the label is refined (look for "bleached" or "unbleached enriched wheat flour"), it’s not really a whole grain product," says Reader's Digest.
Smoothies can be a great way to lose weight, but only if they contain the proper ingredients. Health experts say you should avoid adding ingredients like reduced-fat peanut butter to your smoothies as they contain a lot of hidden calories, sodium, and sugar.
"When you compare labels of regular and reduced-fat peanut butter, you’ll see that calories are roughly equal,” says Reader's Digest. “Reduced-fat versions add more sugar to make up for the lack of fat. So choose the regular kind, and stick to 1 to 2 tablespoons per serving."