It has been said that you cannot out train a bad diet. It’s true, the quality and quantity that comprise your food intake dictate the results you will see from your hard work.
If you use lousy fuel, you will get lousy performance, and nothing is more frustrating than exercising all the time and seeing no results.
What’s worse, is that there are foods you may be eating that are sabotaging your efforts without you even knowing it. If any of these 8 foods are still lingering in your diet, consider giving them the boot today.
If you don’t feel like running an internet search on all of your favorite snacks to find out if they contain refined sugars, there is a shortcut you can use.
Basically, if it comes in a package or box, chances are it has refined sugars. Snack cakes, candy bars, potato chips, and the like are all foods that essentially have been engineered.
Ideally, you want your diet to consist of food that grows and can be found in nature. By eating foods with refined sugars, you are consuming mixtures of ingredients that don’t offer any nutritional value.
Try swapping sugary cereal for oatmeal in the morning that can be sweetened with fruit or brown sugar.
In fact, try swapping any kind of packaged food for fruit. Apples and bananas are great for a sugar fix and are loaded with diet-friendly vitamins.
Processed bread has no place in a healthy diet. Processed bread that fills the isles in grocery stores has had all of the nutritional value washed out of it and even has sugar added.
Sugary bread is essentially cake, and you wouldn’t make a turkey sandwich by using two slices of cake, would you?
While some sugar is naturally found in bread, it’s the kind that has been pumped in that you want to avoid.
If you’re trying to avoid carbs, it might be best that you skip the bread altogether, but good carbohydrates certainly have merit.
Next time, nix the white bread and pick up a loaf of whole-wheat which contains filling grains that are a good source of energy.
Notice that the heading doesn’t read ‘any sugary drinks’. This is because that some sweet beverages do have value, such as sweetened tea that contains antioxidants.
Soda, on the other hand, does you absolutely no good. Being a beverage, soda is one of the greatest offenders on this list.
Something that is loaded with sugar and chemicals and lacking in natural ingredients should remain far away from someone looking to improve their diet.
Drinking a soda won’t satisfy hunger, but it will stuff you with over 140 useless calories.
The solution here is obvious. Replace your soda with water, and watch the pounds melt away. Water is essential to human life, and the benefits of getting enough of it are apparent.
Staying hydrated will make you more alert, improve skin health, keep hunger at bay, among a myriad of more. Can’t stand the bland taste? Try adding cucumber slices, lemon wedges, or strawberries for a twist of flavor.
This one seems like an easy one. Foods that are high in fat will probably cause you to be high in fat also. That’s not entirely true, but there is something to that sentiment.
While some fat is good for a diet, other kinds of fat are definitely not. Trans fat and saturated fat should be avoided whenever possible, as these are the worst you can consume.
Trans fat lowers the good HDL cholesterol while simultaneously raising the bad LDL cholesterol, which likes to stick to arteries.* A good way to avoid trans fats is by skipping anything that contains “deep-fried” or “hydrogenated oil”.
In this case, you can actually replace fat with fat. Mono-unsaturated fatty acids that are found in nuts, olive oil, and some fish are packed with heart-healthy omegas and having a filling effect on the stomach.
Try running a search on “Mediterranean Diet” to get some good recipes that contain this type of healthy fat.
Low-Fat or Fat-Free
Speaking of fats, it is worth bringing attention to this trick that food companies like to use.
In order to appear more health friendly, companies will alter their foods and label them as “fat-free” or “low-fat”, which seems too good to be true.
You’ve heard it a hundred times before, and here is a hundred and one: if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Fat makes food taste good, which is why bacon is much more popular at breakfast than carrots are.
But how do they keep the food tasty after taking out the fat? They replace the missing fat with sugar, which is no better for you.
Again, try aiming for the whole, natural foods. there’s a difference between fat-free potato chips and potato chip alternatives.
Where the former option has been modified and created in a lab, the latter is simply a new take on an old favorite.
Try dehydrated apple chips or even kale chips, which offer the same satisfying crunch and are honestly lower in fat, to begin with.
This one has some exceptions, but generally, you want colorful food. Foods that are lacking in color can mean that they don’t have a lot to offer nutritionally, which isn’t good for a healthy diet.
Not all neutral-toned food is unhealthy, though, and foods that are artificially colored are no better.
In this case, you are much better off eating brown rice than bright orange nacho cheese.
What you want to aim for are meals that have vibrant vegetables. bright, colorful vegetables are not only loaded with vitamins but also antioxidants which give you, even more, bang for your buck.
Think eggplants for purple, radishes for red, and peppers for orange, which are just a few examples.
Not only will your dinner plate look better, but it’ll also make you feel better too.
It’s no secret that alcohol in excess is bad for you. But alcoholic drinks can be harmful in moderation too.
Most alcohols have a harsh and bitter taste, so they are disguised by other ingredients. These ingredients are usually full of sugar, which can turn a drink into a dessert.
Alcohol also lowers inhibitions which makes you more likely to eat foods that you normally would avoid, and most bars aren’t known for their healthy entrees.
Fortunately, alcohol does have positives. Options such as red wine can actually lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels when enjoyed in moderation.
If you find yourself out on the town and you’re going to drink, try to stick with simple mixers such as lemon or lime juice, and be sure to drink a cup of water between each alcoholic beverage.
Right Food Done The Wrong Way
Lastly, there are some foods that are touted as healthy but are actually far from it. It’s not the food that is to blame, but rather how it is prepared.
Pizza is a great example of good food done badly. Pizza has all of the makings of a healthy meal, including vegetables, protein, and grains. Instead, what usually goes into a pizza results in a greasy, calorie-laden monster.
Even popcorn, which is a great source of fiber, is often rendered unhealthy by added butter and hydrogenated oil.
For pizza, try a whole wheat crust, or even one made of minced and pressed cauliflower. Skip the sauce and instead use a few splashes of olive oil with garlic.
Opt for a cheese that doesn’t have a long list of ingredients, and top with fresh cut vegetables. You can even swap out the pepperoni for a lighter turkey version.
Do you have to snack on popcorn during a movie? Pop it yourself at home with whole kernels in coconut oil, and top with salt and pepper, or even a squirt of lime for a fun flavor.
These dietary pitfalls are easy to avoid if you know what to look for.
Important things to remember are eating whole foods that have minimal to no processing, and eating a variety of foods to ensure a balance of key nutrients.
You get out what you put in, so the next time you’re out shopping, stock up on food that will allow you to perform at your best.