These “healthy foods” might be making you fat!
Are you eating “clean” but still not seeing the changes in your physique?
What if I told you that some of the foods that you deem as “healthy” are actually a bit off based and not as good for you as you might think.
And let’s be clear here, I don’t mean to say that these foods are inherently “bad” for you and when eaten, will automatically leave you gaining 10 pounds and feeling like crap.
However it’s important to understand through this post today that we are often misguided and start to see food as all good or all bad.
Over this post I want to select 6 of my favorite “health” foods that tend to have a negative impact on health and weight loss.
What makes food good or bad?
If for a second I take my Forever Fit cap off and speak from common society nomenclature, I’d say that foods like cakes, brownies, chips, soda, bread, pasta, and cheese are all “bad” for you.
This seems to be the norm - any food that is either highly processed, has a lot of carbohydrates, or is high in fat would be considered “bad” by the common person!
There’s nothing wrong with inherently thinking this...at least not yet.
Conversely, foods that are deemed good for you are usually whole grains, yogurts, avocado, lean meats, fruits, and vegetables. Again there’s nothing wrong with this inherently...but hold on a second before we start bashing or celebrating these foods.
What if some of those “healthy” choices are actually contributing to your inability to lose weight and feel better about yourself?
If you are the type of person who has continually stated “I eat pretty clean yet I still can’t lose weight” - this list might be the perfect eye opener for you to start redefining what you see as “good or bad”.
So without further ado let’s go into my top 6 foods that are keeping you from losing weight!
My top 6 foods that aren’t as healthy as you might think
This list is mine, and mine alone - some foods on here might surprise you and others won’t.
What I want you to take from this today is this: food is all relative to how much you consume and how easy it is to consume more of.
A prime example of this is cookies. A single cookie can be higher in calories than a peach, yet provide no level of fullness. This in turn makes it easy to eat a lot of cookies, thus eating many more calories than you would of by eating something more satiating (ie. peach).
Okay now onto my list of foods that you might need to redefine for yourself.
This one hurts me a bit - guac is a delicious food that is made of crushed avocado, onion, tomatoes, garlic, salt, cilantro, lime, and maybe some jalapeno peppers!
If we look at guac purely from an ingredient list, it hits all the notes of what it means to have a healthy meal. Every ingredient is a whole food, and avocado in itself is a healthy fat.
How then, is this food potentially making you gain weight?
Well - as much as avocado is an awesome healthy fat, it’s also super high in calories. This isn’t an inherently bad thing, avocado is a healthy fat!
However, let me ask you this...when do you normally eat guac?
Is it a side dish while eating out at a restaurant?
Is it an appetizer for your house party?
What’s usually paired with guac?
Are you eating 15-20 chips alongside the guac?
Quickly can a “healthy snack” turn into a full meal once you start to realize how many calories you actually are eating, and how quickly you can munch those chips and guac down.
I know this from experience...getting chipotle with a side of guac and chips. It’s so easy to keep dipping those chips in and going after it like I am never going to eat again.
In part this is due to how yummy it is. It’s due in part to the speed at which this food is normally eaten.
When have you ever had 4 chips with guac and said you were satisfied? Probably not many times.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Well, avocado is a healthy fat and is good for you so I can enjoy this as much as I want”.
Well, hate to break it to those taco tuesday lovers but unless you are very mindful of your eating process, guac and chips can go way overboard, way too quickly.
My advice to you: Eat this a little slower and take a break after 5 or so chips. Drink some water, re assess how you really feel. If you give yourself a little time after going dip crazy you’ll be better able to stop and recognize that you are actually more full than you think!
“Lite” versions of foods
The food industry is very good at advertising its products and very good at creating a reliance on highly processed foods.
Look no further than the label on the packaging, whenever you see there is a “lite” or “low-fat” version of a food, those alarm bells should start ringing.
For example, a low-fat cookie is often seen as something that is a healthier choice. However when looking at the nutrition label you might see that the “low fat” cookie gets most of its calories from sugar instead of fat. (28 total sugar in 3 cookies!!)
The same can be said for a “low-fat” muffin. A muffin is usually seen as the standard for that quick breakfast that is somewhat healthy. A muffin with coffee in the morning, pretty typical for many out there.
However, when we start to believe that just because the label says that it’s a “lite” version of a food, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s better.
And to top it off, when we see a food as healthy we are more inclined to eat more of it. So if you happen to reach for another muffin throughout the day because you believe it’s the healthier option, you might as well have just had a normal chocolatey chipped filled muffin instead!
Lastly we all know those who swear by drinking “diet” soda instead of regular soda because of the perceived healthier choice. Let’s be clear here: soda no matter if it’s diet or not is going to be packed with sugar to make it taste good!
My Advice to you: Be aware that the marketing on the package of a food is only there to sell you on the perceived health of a food. As we become more health conscious as a people, the food industry needs to change it’s marketing to keep selling products.
If you really want a food that has a lite version, more often than not you should just have the regular version and move on with your life. No need to fall into the trap of believing a food is actually healthier for you because of it being called low-fat, lite, or diet!
Yogurt with fruit
This one pains me to say as yogurt is generally a really healthy option.
The most popular brand that I can think of is Dannon yogurt with fruit. Yogurt is touted as a great selection for a snack or even full breakfast.
It’s seen as something that is a lighter meal that has probiotics to help with digestion and gut health. I mean hell it has fruit in it!!
Not too bad right?
Well as with everything on this list, there’s more to the story than that. These yogurts are usually higher in sugar because the fruit is usually paired with high fructose corn syrup.
Just take a peek at the nutrition label next time and see how many grams of sugar are in there. Some are better than others but it’s not uncommon to see these yogurts with up to 20-30 grams of sugar in one small serving!
This is crazy high and is something that continues to be on the “healthy” choices side for many people.
My advice to you: Firstly, I’d opt for Greek yogurt because it’s very low in sugar and high in protein (which you can benefit from!). Secondly, if you do want regular yogurt I’d recommend getting unsweetened yogurt and adding your own fruit into the mix. This takes away the additives that yogurt companies put into the mixture to make it that much sweeter!
As a teenager growing up I was “addicted” to eating granola bars. Nature valley - the label even made it seem like it was a healthy food and something better than just eating a candy bar. Here I was thinking I was eating a healthy choice since it had oats, and nuts in the bar!
Not only are bars popular, but granola is a popular breakfast food or snack that many people use in their weight loss journeys.
Let’s look into what’s in granola:
These are just the basic ingredients but...what’s so bad about this?
Well truthfully, this kind of meal is definitely not a low-calorie choice. Similar to above with the guac... nuts and oils are very calorically dense foods. Throw in some higher sugars from the dried fruit and you have yourself a dense snack.
So then when you have a bag of homemade granola that you believe is super healthy for you, you might be eating too much of it and eating past your fullness level because of how easy it is to munch on.
My advice to you: Opt for eating oatmeal instead and THEN sprinkle a little granola on top. Granola shouldn’t be your main meal choice but instead an added flavor. If you do choose to eat granola as a snack, try to eat it slowly so that you aren’t mindlessly popping oats and nuts into your mouth without noticing your fullness level!
This one might hurt a bit.
Sushi is often seen as a meal you can order out that is a bit “lighter” than other restaurants.
Sushi has fish in it, how can this be unhealthy?!
Well the reality is that sushi (the traditional rolls, no sashimi!) are carb loaded!
Even though there is fish rolled in there as well - it’s very small compared to the amount of carbs in a single roll. (Think about 15% of the calories being protein, from the fish).
If you’ve ever felt super stuffed after eating sushi (I know I have felt this!) it’s because of the very high calorie meal you are in fact eating!
A typical 6 piece roll can come out to 500 calories. And who eats just one roll?
We need to retrain our brains into seeing how carb loaded these meals are and truthfully, how they make you feel afterwards.
You might be better off getting a burger on those nights where you want to eat “healthier”!
My advice to you: If you do get sushi, try out some of the sashimi as well to increase that protein for the meal. If you absolutely need to eat the sushi rolls, just be mindful of how filling they can be. Like many other foods on this list, sushi is extremely easy to eat. You can eat a single piece in one bite and it goes down oh so good!
Jeeze this list is really hitting me hard here : I was huge into making sandwiches with deli meats as a young adult!
For most people deli meats provide a nice bump in protein, and is often used as a lunch meal.
However as you probably know these meats have a ton of additives, chemicals and sodium injected into it to keep it preserved for longer periods of time.
This in turn impacts what it is that you are putting into your body (ie. chemicals, additives) as well as again, making it super easy to eat a lot of these.
It’s a shame because having a sandwich for lunch is an easy to make option that also is tasty.
Not to say that you can never eat a deli meat sandwich however just be aware that there are better options out there.
My advice to you: Opt for the real thing instead: if you are looking for something quick and easy to make, just buy a rotisserie chicken instead. You’ll still be able to prep this quite easily and you won’t be putting in all those additives into your body!
How you can continue eating these foods without feeling guilt
So now that you have to redefine all your “healthy” choices, let’s just take a step back and understand the true problem that all these foods have.
All these foods are generally easy to eat and highly stimulating and tasty.
The best way to control these foods and start using healthy foods to your advantage is this simple technique:
Eat it slower!
Yes I know, something that has been talked about so many times before.
However it’s so true that while you are dipping those chips into your guac, reaching for your second roll of sushi, munching on granola, or quickly eating yogurt before an early morning meeting...you are eating these way too fast and eating too much of it.
And that’s what weight loss ultimately comes down to: how much food are you eating day in and day out.
When we eat fast, we prevent our natural systems from telling us that we are becoming full.
When we slow down, we can regain control and understand how these foods can fit into our everyday life.
Remember that these foods aren’t necessarily “bad” for you, no food can do that. It’s the amount and the speed at which you eat these.
It’s sometimes easy to deem a food as healthy to then go overboard and eat too much of it.
Eating too much of a good thing...is still bad.
Eating in moderation is key to sustaining and improving your health, weight, and energy levels.