It’s no secret that diet is critical to losing weight and keeping the weight off. Obviously, gorging yourself on donuts and potato chips aren’t doing you any favors in your weight loss journey. But there are some foods that are seemingly healthy but could be sabotaging your weight loss goals.
We’ve rounded up some of the worst “healthy” foods for weight loss and a few waist-shrinking choices that should be in your fridge at all times.
Just because a food is low-calorie, all-natural, or not processed doesn’t mean it’s a safe bet for your weight loss goals. Here are 13 surprising choices that you should avoid if weight loss is your goal:
The good news is that this food group is rich in protein and other nutrients, which is a great alternative to meat. The bad news is that they’re super high in calories. For example, just one cup of lentils has 227 calories, compared to a cup of broccoli that has just 31 calories.
Just the name is enough to send up a red flag. Sweet corn isn’t just high in starch, but it’s also high on the glycemic index. Eating this food will send your blood sugar skyrocketing, then make you feel hungry just a few hours later.
A man ate nothing but 20 potatoes per day for two months and lived to tell about it. This vegetable is packed with nutrients, including a full day’s worth of protein if you consume enough of them. But potatoes are also very high in starch and carbs, and this excess sugar isn’t great for your waistline.
Dried fruit doesn’t pack as much nutrition as fresh fruit, plus it’s denser in calories and may contain added sugar. Your best bet is to stick with fresh fruit to avoid the extra calories.
The average avocado contains a whopping 332 calories, which is more than a quarter of a 1,200-calorie diet. If you’re counting calories, you may want to skip this one altogether.
Fresh fruit is good for you, but drinking 100% fruit juice doesn’t deliver the same nutritional value. A serving of fruit juice usually has more calories than a serving of the actual fruit, and manufacturers are sneaky about adding extra sugar into the final product.
If you’re eyeballing your calories, avoiding excess fat, and want the best bang for your buck, stock up on these healthy eats:
Low in calories and high in nutrition, broccoli is a superfood for weight loss. It’s low in starch and can leave you feeling fuller for longer.
Another superfood that’s low in sugar and starch, kale has been touted as one of the healthiest foods you could eat. Put it in a salad, saute it as a side, or simply eat it raw - it tastes good and is good for you no matter how you prepare it.
Like broccoli, cauliflower is low in starch and won’t spike your blood sugar. It keeps you feeling fuller longer so you won’t be reaching for another snack anytime soon.
Fresh blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries taste sweet, but are actually low on the glycemic index. They’re also low in calories, so you can snack on these without risking your weight loss progress. As an added bonus, they’re also rich in antioxidants that will help you supercharge your vitamin intake.
If you’re looking to speed up your metabolism, try eating a grapefruit each day. Grapefruit can help you torch extra calories while remaining low in calories and sugar.
Raw carrots are healthy on their own, but cooking out the sugar makes them even better for you. Carrots are high in fiber and will help you feel full without overdoing it on the calories.
Nuts are high in fat, but it’s the good kind of fat that nutritionists say we need more of. They’re filling and nutrient-rich, and can help stop you from reaching for unhealthy snacks when you get hungry.
Read More: Healthy Snacks for Bariatric Patients
Go Beyond Counting Calories!
Not all calories are created equal, which is counting calories alone isn’t an effective weight loss strategy. While each calorie contains the same amount of energy, calories from different sources are absorbed by the body differently. For example, fructose and glucose may provide the same calorie count, but they’re used by the body in different ways.
In addition, the various foods and macronutrients we consume have a large impact on our eating habits, including how much and how often we eat.
It’s important to be mindful about what we’re eating along how much we eat. Making a few simple switches in your diet could help you jumpstart your weight loss and start making noticeable progress towards your goal.
For more weight loss insights, head back to the Ambari Nutrition blog.