Some of the most common “diet foods” are actually DIET WRECKING foods! I’m calling these culprits out on their BS and explaining what they are really doing in your body. These foods HURT your fat-burning metabolism and can cause you to gain weight over time.
Choosing food wisely can be confusing. Every day you are faced with commercials, television personalities, and social media sites telling you what’s healthy, good for you, and will help you lose weight. The problem is that these common foods are really not so good for us. These diet wrecking foods are not only, NOT going to help you lose weight, they may actually be wrecking your diet and your health!
So many people are on a diet with the purpose to lose weight. If you’re going to go to the trouble of dieting (and I’m not a fan of diets either!) then you should make the most of it and not eat foods that are at odds with actually losing weight.
Just a reminder here—I am not a doctor or nutritionist. You have to make your own informed decisions about the food you eat. But I can also be a voice that provides a different opinion than the popular one. I share what works for me. It’s not always easy but in the case of eating, I do walk the walk.
9 Diet Wrecking Foods
Here are 9 diet wrecking foods that are thought to be good for you. However they may actually be hurting your metabolism and causing you to gain weight!
Diet sodas could fall under the artificial sweetener category. But when a product takes up an ENTIRE aisle in the grocery store, it deserves its own category! Diet soda is an industry. Diet soda is big business. It is not food. It is not good for you. And it most definitely is not going to help you lose weight. It is bad stuff.
It’s not just a neutral substance you are pouring down your throat. There are many studies that show that drinking diet soda on a regular basis, not only doesn’t help you lose weight, it is associated with weight gain and disease.
Diet sodas are highly addictive. I know so many people that have to have their diet sodas every day and they often drink multiple diet sodas each and every day. If your weekly grocery list includes diet soda, then this could definitely be affecting your ability to lose weight. Not only can your diet soda addiction make you gain weight it also increases your risk for diabetes. Diet sodas are not innocent substitutes for “bad” sugared sodas; they are dangerous in their own right.
There was a time when I believed that artificial sweeteners in moderation were okay. I believed that they were much better than sugar. I no longer believe that and I no longer try to figure out what are the safe ones and what are the dangerous ones. It’s simply better to avoid them all. I avoid all artificial sweeteners since they are a foreign substance to the body and confuse it’s the digestive and hormones systems.
While you may have bought into the idea that artificial sweeteners were a safe alternative to sugar, they are not a harmless substance in your body. Even though they don’t have the calories of sugar, they fool and confuse your body. And when the body is confused, it gains weight.
- Artificial sweeteners are hundreds of times sweeter than sugar or fruit. They train your taste buds to expect a bigger sweet hit. You become less able to be satisfied with normal levels of sweetness such as in fruit.
- Artificial sweeteners trick your body. Your body prepares for high calorie food when you eat artificial sweeteners by releasing the hormone insulin and that promotes the storage of fat.
- Artificial sweeteners adversely affect your gut health.
- Artificial sweeteners may slow down your metabolism, cause you to feel hungry sooner, and ultimately lead to gaining more weight.
I had to go cold turkey for a month to break my addiction to artificial sweeteners. After not having them for a month, I tried my favorite one in my coffee. I couldn’t tolerate the taste. I could finally taste it for what it was. A chemical concoction designed to keep my sweet tooth raging.
Artificial sweeteners are suspected of being dangerous and they keep your addiction to sweets strong. Kick them out of your life!
I don’t hate all yogurt. However, the reason I include it here is that from what I can tell, 95% of the yogurt that is in the refrigerator case at the grocery store is low-fat and loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup. In that incarnation, yogurt is NOT a diet food. Even the new “super food” Greek yogurt. That has become a joke. It’s almost impossible to find full fat yogurt of any kind. Even the Greek yogurts have been turned into no-fat sugar bombs.
And parents, the yogurts marketed to your children are the worst culprits of all! Don’t set your child up for a lifetime of problems by giving your child this high-sugar unhealthy food.
Sure they taste good and we think they are healthy. But don’t kid yourself. For the most part, the hundreds of varieties in your normal grocery store are not a diet food. Because of the absence of fat and the addition of sugar, they will raise your insulin, increase your cravings, and probably leave you hungrier in an hour or so. If you really like yogurt, look for some healthier kinds that have some fat and no added sugar. Add your own fruit or nuts to it for a treat.
Breakfast or Snack Bars
I’ll admit straight up—I have half a Kind snack bar in my purse. I bought it this morning with my coffee. These things are everywhere and they are so tempting! In fact, as I write this, I feel compelled to go get it and eat it—even though I’m not hungry!
My complaint with snack bars are that they are usually sweet and they don’t provide much in the way of nutrition. While many breakfast, cereal, and snack bars highlight their protein content or healthy ingredients such as nuts or coconut, they also have many not-so-great ingredients. The one I just pulled out of my purse has honey, sugar, and glucose syrup! I obviously did not read the label on my Whole Foods coffee run.
There are hundreds of varieties in the stores today so these are big business. We are a nation that loves our snacks and these little bars seem like they should be perfect. Yet, when you eat a sugary treat between your meals, you are setting yourself up to possibly be hungrier or have cravings for more sweet stuff. In my opinion it’s best to not snack. Eat enough at your meal to get you to the next one. If you need something to eat, eat a smaller version of a meal to stabilize your hunger and not elevate your blood sugar.
Oatmeal and Oat-Based Cereals
I can’t believe that I’m about to pick on oatmeal. But I am. This almost worthless food is like the patron saint of breakfast foods. It gets credit for lowering cholesterol, being filling, and being heart-healthy. However, virtually all the oatmeal and oat-based cereals in the store today are nutritionally deficient and don’t really resemble whole oats. To make them palatable to our tastes, they have been processed to death.
In addition, the instant oats often have significant added sugar. Cereals in general are so processed and so removed from being real food that I don’t believe they have a place in anyone’s diet. They have way too much sugar and set you up to be hungrier well before lunch. Starting your day with any cereal, including oats, is no way to keep your diet on track.
Low Fat Milk
I’ll admit, I’ve never liked milk in any form on its own. I do enjoy full cream or half and half in my coffee. As someone who pops into a coffee shop a couple of times a week, I can’t help but notice all the people ordering their “skinny” mochas and frappes.
Skim or low fat milk is milk that has had the fat and goodness stripped away. What you get in your carton or coffee is lifeless watery crap that has had fillers added back in to make it visually more appealing and somewhat drinkable.
Skim milk is higher in carbohydrates than whole milk and it doesn’t have the satiety factor that higher fat milk has. You are missing out on the benefits of milk when you drink skim milk. Back in the day before skim milk became the craze, people drank the fattier milk (and ate butter) and were thinner. I’m not a huge fan on milk as a food in general but if you’re going to have some, go for the benefits of the dairy fat.
I avoid wheat and because of that, I naturally avoid gluten. However, I’m just as guilty of occasionally thinking gluten-free products are healthy. I’m not talking about naturally gluten-free foods such as a banana or a chicken leg. I’m talking about processed gluten-free foods such as pastas, crackers, and breads.
I will sometimes have one as my version of junk food. They are processed, with minimal nutrition, and highly glycemic. They are not going to help anyone lose weight. The current crop of gluten-free foods tastes great but unfortunately they can also increase cravings for more and override our feeling of being full.
Egg Substitutes or Egg Whites
Poor eggs, they suffered one of the most effective smear campaigns ever. Eggs are really good for you and it is now accepted that they are not the health issue that they were erroneously labeled as. They were demonized for their cholesterol and that has since been proven to be an unfounded. Our bodies need the cholesterol in eggs! Despite this, people buy the artificial crap in a carton that mimics an egg or prepare their eggs without yolks and miss out on the diet benefits of eggs.
Read the label on a carton of egg substitute. What is in there that you would possibly want to eat? Egg substitutes are based on egg whites and then fortified with some nutrients and thickeners added back in to make up for the missing egg yolk. The fear of the dreaded egg yolk continues, but egg yolks are where most of the egg goodness resides.
I usually eat at least two or three eggs at a time. They are a good source of protein, have lots of nutrients, and they keep you full until it’s time for your next meal. Eggs are good for a diet while egg substitutes and egg whites have little value in your daily diet or your body’s nutritional needs.
I’m a smoothie fanatic and also something of a smoothie snob. Most commercial smoothies have way too fruit and sugar to be helpful on a diet. And the ones you buy can also be way too much food period! I have read so many recipes for smoothies that are fruit based. They might have as much as four fruits in them! Fruit is a great part of your overall eating but you certainly don’t want to bomb your body with that much at one time.
A lot of commercial smoothies are like this and don’t have any fat in them to balance all that sugar. Some of the smoothies from a popular chain have as much as 119 grams of sugar (and that’s in its large Super Food smoothie). That’s going to throw your diet off for sure! Know the ingredients of any smoothie you drink so you can make an informed decision about whether it is the right thing for your diet.
The Real Goal of Eating
When it comes to weight management, I’m a firm believer in eliminating cravings, increasing your metabolism, and eating real food that nourishes your body. I see too many dieters trying to shortcut the process by eating fake or nutritionally deficient food. While some foods may boast lower calories, they can cause harm by spiking insulin, promoting overeating, and producing cravings. This list diet wrecking foods can do all of that and more.
Remember what the goal for eating food is. Food is fuel and nourishment for our bodies. Food is not something that becomes good because it is low in calories or fat. The removal of calories and fat from real food means you have lost so much that your body truly needs. Stick to real food and avoid these diet wreckers.
This is probably one of the most important posts I’ve written. Your hormones are key to the metabolism of fat. Getting fat IS a hormone problem, not a over-eating and under-exercising problem.
I’ve lost weight and kept it off. Here is how I do it.
Eat smart my friends!
To keep up with the best of My Think Big Life on Pinterest
Get Sara's Weekly "AHA!" Newsletter
Sign up here to read about real life AHA moments that can shift your thinking. These are the AHAs that stop me and my friends in our tracks and help us live meaningful and successful lives.
I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.