When it comes to weight loss, we know what we should be eating more of (like fruit and veggies, nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, legumes and meat). But what are the worst foods and drinks?
A bit of chocolate or a takeaway once in a while isn’t going to cause any long-lasting damage, but there are certain things that provide little nutritional value and when eaten regularly, can lead to weight gain and other health problems.
Check out these top 10 culprits…
10 WORST foods and drinks if you’re trying to lose weight
1. Soft drinks
It’s not a huge surprise, but soft drinks including energy drinks are loaded with sugar and empty calories. And if you think that the diet varieties are better because there’s no sugar, think again. These are full of additives, preservatives and artificial sweeteners which spike blood glucose levels and make you crave more sweet foods and drinks.
Water is always the best drink option, here’s how drinking water with lemon can actually help you lose weight!
2. Processed meat
Yes a salami and egg roll or a hot dog may sound delicious, but regularly eating processed meats won’t help you lose pounds as they’re crammed full of salt, fat and nitrates. What’s more, research has found that people who eat sausages, corned beef and other processed meat products on the regular are more likely to develop stomach and bowel cancers.
If you are going to eat meat, opt for lean cuts like chicken breast, beef, lamb or even fish as these are all great sources of protein.
3. Fried food
Yep, all those fried burgers, chips and nuggets are some of the worst foods out there if you want to lose weight. Packed with sugar and salt, these fried foods also contain trans fats which are produced during the manufacturing process used to make baked goods heated at high temperatures commercially. Trans fats have been linked to heart disease and cancers so avoid them as much as possible.
4. Blended vegetable oils
Not only do vegetable oils give little nutritional value, but palm oil tends to be the main oil used and because of its high saturated fat content, you’re more likely to gain weight. The building of palm oil plantations also does a lot of damage to the environment as they destroy large portions of rainforest and destroy the habitats of many endangered species, including rhinos, elephants and tigers.
Opt for olive oil and nut oils such as peanut, walnut and sesame when cooking, they’ll give you a nicer flavour too!
5. Cereal bars
These convenient bars shouldn’t be your go-to snack, no matter what the packaging is telling you. Many of our favourite brands look healthy but are loaded with sugar and fat, especially when they include ingredients such as glucose syrup and palm oil.
Feel like making your own? Check out the recipe for these DELICIOUS Chewy Coconut and Oat cereal bar that the kids will love too.
6. White bread
It may be convenient and often cheaper, but white bread is made by highly refined and processed flour. It is also relatively low in fibre and nutrients, and has a high GI which means it will raise blood sugar levels quite rapidly when eaten. Not the best choice for people trying to lose a few pounds, go for brown wholemeal or wholegrain bread instead.
Want to know more about eating bread while losing weight? Check this out.
7. “Low fat” foods
All those diet, sugar-free products you see on the shelves unfortunately aren’t going to help you lose weight. This is because they are packed with intense artificial sweeteners that impact our natural appetite management cues. When eaten regularly, these sweeteners have been linked to metabolic syndrome which can increase your risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Plus, evidence has shown that they alter the natural bacteria found in your gut.
Stay away from the processed snacks and make your own. There are so many simple and delicious snacks that you can try on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
8. Extruded snacks
Are you a lover of Monster Munch, Quavers, Hula Hoops and all those other cheesy or chicken flavoured puffed up corn/rice/wheat crisps? Wondering how you can polish of a packet in mere minutes? Well neurological studies have found that because of the highly concentrated combination of processed carbs and fats (mainly saturated fats), we’re more likely to overeat. Yikes!
Surely margarine is healthier for you than butter as it’s plant-based? Well the fat in margarine comes from heavily processed, refined vegetable oil and a high intake of these oils is linked to increased inflammation long-term, which really harms our cells over time. Convinced to stay away from vegetable oils yet?
Those sweets may give us a tasty sugar high but our bodies want sugar in its natural form i.e. in the form of fruits and vegetables. When we eat those sweets that contain simple sugars, our blood glucose levels spike and this can leave us feeling tired and hungry afterwards. That way we end up eating more and gaining weight.