You’ve decided to slim down and have deleted the usual culprits – butter, cheese, sweets and fried foods from your diet. But is the weight loss slow? Or have you just hit a plateau? Assess your diet carefully and you may find some nasty surprises. Many foods that we robotically eat every day contain hidden calories and fats that slow down, or completely halt, our weight loss process. Avoiding them will help you prevent cravings and burn fat faster.
Here’s a list of 12 foods/drinks you need to stop consuming today:
It takes several oranges to make one glass of juice but when you eat the tangy fruit you are unlikely to have more than one. Moreover, juice contains all the calories from the fruit but not the fibre which makes you feel full and benefits your system. Even the tetra pack which screams ‘100% juice’ contains added sugar giving you loads of empty calories.
2. Super-sized packs
It’s natural to get tempted by the offer of “30% extra” offer on your cereal pack. But research by Cornell University’s Food and Branch Lab shows that people tend to consume up to 22 percent more when they eat from larger packages. The same applies to super-sizing burgers and pizzas or ordering a value meal.
You have surely heard of the dreaded beer belly and probably stopped drinking the brew, too. But even the glass of wine you consider not-so-sinful is actually taking you away from your weight loss goal. Experts say a moderate wine drinker consumes up to 2,000 additional calories per month. Worse, drinking slows down the body’s fat burning process. That’s because alcohol is the first thing your body burns and removes from the system before it moves on to food or other beverages, according to diet guru Robert Atkins.
Avoid sprinkling salt on your salads, fruits or curd. Most Indians already consume more than the recommended amount of sodium – 1,500 mg or the 2/3rd teaspoon of table salt thanks to their dal-sabzi intake. Additional sodium not only increases a risk of hypertension, it also makes the body retain water and look bloated – so you don’t feel slim even if the scale shows you have lost weight.
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Whole milk is loaded with extra fat and cholesterol. Go for the skimmed variety to enjoy the goodness of milk without worrying about the calories. It is also advisable to consume less than two cups of milk daily including curd and paneer when trying to lose weight.
6. Health bars
Nutrition bars are a convenient on-the-go snack with uber-healthy nuts but they also contain a high amount of sugar — sometimes as much as a chocolate bar. The sweet content has also been reported to trigger cravings for desserts. Moreover, they deliver a big shot of fibre at once whereas it is ideal to have fibre throughout the day to stave off hunger and improve digestion.
Relish your morning cuppa but don’t sip the cup of tea after tea when you are at work. While tea itself is a weight loss aid — it contains compounds which help reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the body — the milk and sugar nullify this capability and up the calorie count considerably.
8. Instant/frozen foods
If you are craving an evening snack, you rustle up a quick chowmein with lots of veggies. Opting for instant noodles is not a good idea as they are pre-fried so they cook fast. Moreover, all ready-to-eat and frozen products contain the high amount of sodium and harmful preservatives.
9. Salad dressing
Salads are a dieter’s best friend, but the dressing you drizzle on top (read: mayonnaise, thousand islands) is the biggest foe. It is advisable to simply add lemon juice or hung curd to cheer up your salad. Avoid toppings like olives and parmesan, too, to keep the calories in check.
10. Artificial sweeteners
Be it gajar halwa or macaroons, every imaginable treat is available in a ‘sugar-free’ avatar these days. Considering every gram of sugar contains four calories, it is tempting to use artificial sweeteners. But artificial sweeteners have been linked to multiple health problems such as cancer and memory loss. Moreover, the latest research suggests that they make you fatter, not slimmer.
11. ‘Low-Fat’ foods
Enjoy the good old glucose biscuits rather than the high-fibre or multi-grain ones that claim to be healthier. In order to make the latter palatable, manufacturers add high doses of sugar. Most oils contain the same amount of calories so don’t get taken by the healthy halo of some oils. Scientists have found that when people think they are eating a ‘diet food’ they tend to have 30 per cent more.
12. Pickles and chutneys
A tangy achaar may spice even the most boring diet food but it contains countless calories thanks to the high oil content. Chutneys too are best avoided. A tablespoon of coconut chutney contains 52 calories, 80 percent of which comes from fat.