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Losing weight can seem like an uphill task at times. Cutting back on calories can result in weight loss. But that doesn’t mean all calories are the same. As someone trying to lead a healthy lifestyle, you may be able to resist the flashy cereal boxes and giant bags of chips. But what other foods should take a back seat? Read on to learn what you should keep off your plate if you want to lose weight.

Processed foods

Some foods undergo a low level of processing that doesn’t affect their nutrition, like freezing fruits and vegetables. Other foods are more highly processed and have sugar, salt and/or fat added. Ultra-processed foods can contain added sweeteners, preservatives, colours, artificial flavours, etc. In an effort to make this type of industrialized food taste better, many products also contain excessive amounts of salt, sugar, and fat, which make foods more enticing; this can lead to overeating and ultimately weight gain. These highly processed foods appeal to our taste buds and make it hard to eat just one serving.

Refined grains

For many people, white rice, pasta and cereal make the world go ’round. But, the refined grains in these foods have been processed in a way that removes fibre and important nutrients.  Since there’s little to no fibre, refined grains are digested much more quickly than whole grains like oats and whole-wheat bread. This can cause a spike in blood sugar which can have a negative impact on our bodies over time.

Foods and drinks with added sugar

Sugar can sneak into your diet in some of the most unlikely foods. Manufacturers often add sugar to everyday foods like yoghurt, fruit drinks, pasta sauce, and condiments like salad dressing and ketchup. Even the reduced-fat foods aimed at dieters usually compensate with added sugar to make them tastier. Depending on how you consume it, even the natural sugars in fruit juice may lead to weight gain if you go overboard. Fruit juice no longer contains the filling fibre and pulp of the whole fruit which helps slow your body’s absorption of the sugar.

Fried food

Besides being easy to recognize as some of the most highly caloric foods, research suggests that eating fatty fried foods on a regular basis could raise your risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. While we do suggest ditching greasy food, don’t forget that healthier fat­⁠s—from unsaturated sources, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon⁠—is an essential part of a balanced diet.

Alcohol

People often overlook the role that caloric beverages—especially alcohol—have on weight, as many dieters solely focus on food choices. While moderate alcohol intake doesn’t appear to be linked to obesity, “heavy drinking and binge drinking” are associated with increased body weight.

By Damilola Faustino

Read also: Proof You’re Eating Too Much Protein

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