The best way to lose weight is to eat healthy and stay active, while also making sure that you’re not eating extra calories. Diet foods, whether they’re labeled as such or considered a good option for losing weight, aren’t always the right choice to achieve your goal.
Discover the worst diet foods that you should absolutely not eat without doing the research first. Even if they promise to deliver a low-calorie treat, they might contain unhealthy fats, sugar or simply too many calories, despite being considered a healthy option for weight loss.
1. Sugar-Free Desserts
Many sugar-free sweets have added fats, so if you’re planning on using them as replacements for your regular desserts, you’re not making a big difference for your weight loss plan.
Get your crunchy fix with graham crackers, that pack plenty of fiber and will aid your digestion. As for sugar-free candy and mints, don’t overindulge. Sorbitol, the most common artificial sweetener, can cause bloating and even diarrhea when consumed in excess.
A single cup of granola can pack over 500 calories and around 30 grams of fat, which makes it one of the worst diet foods, despite its healthy reputation. Even low-fat milk will add plenty of calories and extra fat. Portion control is very important when it comes to granola and mixing it with oatmeal or simple whole-grain cereal is definitely a better option. You can also make your own, with a little honey, to avoid the added sugars.
Fruits are good for you, but smoothies often lose most of the fiber from the pulp and skin of the fruit, while delivering all the sugars. Smoothies often have extra fats as well, which results in a calorie bomb of 500 calories or more in some cases. If you don’t have time to make your own, stick to the smallest size when you buy a smoothie and avoid the ones that also contain sorbet or peanut butter.
4. Greek Yogurt
A healthy food that can improve digestion and help you lose weight, yogurt can also be one of the worst diet foods, if you opt for flavored versions. They can end up containing double the amount of sugar than plain Greek yogurt. If you’re craving a sweeter treat, you can mix honey or fruit in plain yogurt, but stick to plain low-fat or fat-free versions.
5. Fat-Free Salad Dressing
While fat-free salad dressing delivers on its promise, by containing no fats and little calories, it’s also one of the worst diet foods, because of an unfortunate side-effect. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, fat-free dressing blocks the absorption of certain antioxidants found in vegetables, making your salad less nutritious. Go for low-fat dressings that are made from healthy vegetables oils or make your own vinaigrette with a little olive oil, vinegar and mustard.
6. Trail Mix
Buying trail mix will get you a lot more calories than making your own from nuts, dried fruit and whole-grain cereal. If you do want to buy trail mix for snacking on it, check the saturated and trans fat content, and avoid those with deep-fried banana chips.
7. Vegetable Chips
If you’re looking for a good weight loss snack, vegetable chips can help you satisfy that craving, but more often than not, they’re made from corn flour or potato flour, with the addition of a small quantity of veggies. Always read the label carefully and make sure you’re not getting fatty potato chips.
Even if it’s made from rice, vegetables and fish, sushi can become one of the worst diet foods if you go for fried tempura rolls and add dip them in a creamy sauce. Stick to simple recipes for sushi, including nigiri and sashimi, that doesn’t have added calories from cheese or mayonnaise.
Restricting red meat is always a good idea, and turkey offers lean protein along with other benefits for weight loss, but ground turkey often includes a lot of fat. When you’re buying ground turkey meat, go for the extra-lean option, with a single gram of fat per serving.
10. Diet Drinks
Avoiding the worst diet foods isn’t hard, but diet drinks are also very attractive when you’re hoping to lose weight. Diet or not, sodas are incompatible with weight loss, so indulge in them as rarely as you can. Opt for sparkling water instead.