12 Worst Foods for Weight Loss
Don't let these worst foods for weight loss undermine your health goals.
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When it comes to unhealthy foods that sabotage our health, most of us know what to avoid. A diet of pizza, nachos and cake is going to undo all your hard work in the gym, but what about sneakier offenders? From pita chips to canned soup, some of your favorite foods you thought were healthy might be keeping you from losing the weight. (These habits could be sabotaging your weight loss, too.)
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A fresh fruit or vegetable juice sounds like one of the healthiest breakfast options, but is just a sugar bomb in disguise. A glass of juice can have hundreds of calories, but won’t leave you feeling satisfied. Our bodies need the fiber that comes from the rest of the fruit, like the skin of an apple, in order to slow down absorption and help us feel full.
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Grabbing a quick snack of pita chips seems sensible, but there are better options. Pita chips contain refined grains, and diets high in those grains are associated with an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and cancer. It’s also tough to stop at just a few.
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Nutrition bars are a convenient way to make sure you always have a healthy option when you’re out and about. However, when it comes to these bars, they are not all created equal. Some can have as many calories and fat as a candy bar. Rather than spending the money on store-bought bars, try fresh fruit or veggies with a little bit of dip.
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Low-Fat and Fat-Free Foods
The low-fat craze of the nineties seemed to make sense at the time. To lose body fat, we should just eat less of it, right? The problem is that eating fats does not make you fat. Eating a diet high in low-fat carbohydrates has been linked to a higher risk of death, while eating healthy fats lowers your risk. Salmon recipes are an excellent source of healthy fat, including heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
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Trail mix can make an easy snack, but it can also pack as many calories as a full meal. Store-bought varieties are usually loaded with chocolate candy pieces, yogurt-covered pretzels and sugary dried fruits. If you’re looking for a quick and sweet snack, toss up your own fruit salad to keep on hand for that afternoon slump.
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I will admit it: I have a soft spot in my heart for yogurt-covered raisins. After all, they’re convenient, sweet and still seem healthy. However, what exactly is in that yogurt coating? Why is it able to sit out at room temperature for months at a time? It turns out the yogurt coating is nothing more than a sugary frosting made up of partially hydrogenated oils.
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Many canned soups on the grocery store shelves look light and healthy, but it is crucial to read those labels. Many are loaded with sodium and preservatives. Instead, make your own stocks and soups at home to avoid the additives, load up on veggies and boost the flavor.
Eating frozen yogurt feels healthier than ice cream, but what it lacks in fat, it makes up for in extra sugar. If you are used to topping your frozen yogurt with a few candy or cereal pieces, then you may be better off having a small portion of real ice cream.
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As a green smoothie-loving yogi, I would never dream of buying white bread for my family. However, we have no trouble gobbling down two loaves of multigrain bread each week, and that may be just as unhealthy as the white stuff. Multigrain breads can still be made with refined flour, so it’s important to reach every label to make sure you’re getting 100 percent whole grains. Try one of our spring salads to brighten up your dinner table.
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Store-Bought Salad Dressing
Anyone trying to watch their weight is very familiar and perhaps a little tired of salad. While our bodies love the fresh vegetables in salads, it may not feel the same about the dressing. Store-bought salad dressings are often loaded with sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other preservatives. Try making your own vinaigrette recipes at home (you’ll never go back to store-bought).
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It’s easy to confuse “gluten-free” with healthy. Naturally gluten-free foods like fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts will do our bodies good. However, the processed gluten-free foods like crackers and breads are often loaded with sugar in order to make them still taste good. Unless you need to eat gluten-free recipes for health reasons, you’re better off having smaller portions of the real stuff.
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If you are used to grabbing a brightly-colored sports drink after your morning workout, it may be time for a change. Drinking water is best unless you are endurance training and need to replace electrolytes. This is especially true for young kids who are used to enjoying sports drinks every day. Instead, give your muscles and tastebuds a treat after exercising, with infused water.