Eric Bach here, sharing an excellent guest post from RD Megan Ware. Megan’s story is one we’ve all heard at one time or another. The big take home points will help you hone in on your diet. You’ll eliminate the fat-loss sabotaging foods that are keeping you from your ultimate body.
Over to you, Megan.
I was there, just pondering what to say next. I’ve had this chat hundreds, if not thousands, of times as a dietician. I nod and smile, as she continues by saying: “I never eat fast food, only Chick-Fil-A.”
“But, there was this one time I lost 20 lbs. taking bee pollen, until my heart started racing and hair starting falling out. Then, I gained all the weight back.”
Unfortunately, fad diets and “miracle cures” are embedded in the fabric of the fitness industry. Most dieters attempt weight loss on average of 6-10 times per year, without much luck. The intentions are admirable. But “fake” health foods like “light bread” and gluten-free muffins, make up a huge portion of most diets.
How many times have foods labeled “healthy” on a shiny new box helped you lose body fat?
Further, do any of these foods make you feel healthy, or do you have six Special K bars to feel full?
Eric’s Note: Personally, I can’t eat protein bars or other bars without having at least 3, making them a terrible fat-loss food for me.
Without Further Ado, Megan presents to you…
The Top Five Fake Health Foods Sabotaging Your Fat Loss
- Gluten Free
Crackers, cookies, pasta, flour, hot dog buns, and pizza pies: oh my. I won’t be surprised if there’s Coke labeled gluten-free soon. In now way o the words gluten-free equal healthy, more nutritious or less “fattening.” Having a triple cheeseburger, but opting for the gluten-free bun, makes zero difference if fat loss is your goal.
If you have Celiac’s disease or a proven gluten intolerance, gluten-free options are great. But, that’s a small fraction of people. 99% of dieters have been duped by clever marketing and fear mongering.
You have been duped into buying products that are twice as expensive and offer you no additional nutritional benefits.
A handful of gluten-free crackers made with 35 ingredients (most of which you can’t pronounce) are not good for you. A gluten-free chocolate chip cookie is no better for you than a regular old Chips-Ahoy. When in doubt, Glute Free labels are out.
- Fat-Free Cheese? Oh, Please.
Yesterday was Taco Tuesday, and I’d venture to say, some of you opted for fat-free shredded Mexican cheese because you’re on a diet.
Good choice right? Well, not so fast.
Satiation is important when dieting. Less filling, flavorless cheese leaves you likely to grab for twice as much cheese to achieve the same flavor and texture of the real stuff.
Further, fat-free cheeses take a simple product and add a plethora of ingredients like potato starch, “processed cheese food,” inulin, cellulose powder, artificial colors, yeast, xanthan gum, locust bean gum…. do I need to go on?
You know what I want in my cheese? Cheese.
Cultured milk, enzymes (which turn the milk into cheese) and maybe some spices.
Bottom line: If you read an ingredient and your brain doesn’t register it as food, neither will your body.
- Reduced-Fat Peanut Butter Should Be IllegalIt sounds good in theory, but fails in execution. Why would you want a product that takes out the good fat and adds in more sugar? If you’re looking for a healthy peanut butter, go to the bulk section of the grocery store and grind your own, or search for the most natural form you can find. Look at sugar amounts and ingredients, is there more than 5 grams of sugar?
Keep it simple, and get your peanut butter as natural as possible.
- Fat-Free Dressing
Similar to peanut butter, most salad dressings labeled fat-free have pulled out any semblance of healthy fats and replaced them with sugar to stimulate your taste buds. Somehow, someway they need to make your ranch dressing palatable. Instead, opt to make your own dressings.
Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil with fresh black pepper will make any salad healthier and more satiating.
Try adding some healthy fats to your sandwich by using avocado in place of your creamy spread. Add hummus or whole grain mustard if avocados aren’t your jam.
Fat has been demonized in the past few decades, leading us to buy anything and everything labeled reduced fat or fat-free. The irony is, we’ve only gotten fatter.
- Rice Cakes
Serious question: Why?
Does anyone actually enjoy eating rice cakes? Sure, they’re 3 calories a pop but have you ever had a rice cake then thought, “Damn, I’m glad I ate that?”
Stop eating filler foods that have no actual nutritional value just because they’re low in calories or fat, especially when you end up dumping five spoonfuls of peanut butter on top to make them palatable.
Go for whole, natural, unprocessed, nutrient dense food to maximize satiation and fat loss.
Hunger vs. Craving
If you’re hungry, truly hungry, then eat something! Pay attention to your body and listen to your hunger cues.
There’s a difference between a craving and hunger.
When you’re having a craving, you want a particular food like chips, chocolate or lasagna and only that food will curb the craving.
Hunger is satisfied by any food: an apple, a bowl of cereal, a steak, whatever. If you’re trying to decide whether you’re hungry or you’re having a craving, ask yourself, would an apple satisfy me? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably hungry. If the answer is “no” but a Snickers bar would, then you’re just having a craving.
Stop Sabotaging Your Fat Loss
Manufacturers make crazy claims to make us think their products are healthy. There has been pushback from the fitness community, but we need to do more. There’s always a new hot topic news feature touting some new diet or super food.
Celebrities are endorsing their favorite quick fixes and Dr. Oz finds a new supplement that will help you lose 10 pounds every other day. Nutrition information (and misinformation) is everywhere.
Push back by reading ingredient labels, questioning where your food comes from and, finding out what’s in it. The closer you can get to a cleaner, more natural diet and steer clear of boxed foods and drive-through’s , the faster you’ll accelerate your fat loss and build a healthy, leaner body.
About Megan Ware, RDN, LD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Megan Ware is an Orlando dietician. She strives to educate and provide her clients with the tools to take control of their health and optimize performance. Megan has been featured in Today’s Dietitian, Entrepreneur Magazine, US News & World Report, Prevention and Huffington Post. Join her on Facebook.