Everywhere you go, you see foods marketed as good for you. But are they also good at helping you to burn fat– or will these health foods make fat? The answer will surprise you!
Check out these 13 sneaky “health foods” –and learn what to eat instead.
Sushi rice tops the list of all the rices in its ability to put fat on your body because it is sticky. Sticky rice can be digested quickly, dumping carbohydrates right into your bloodstream. The rapid rise in blood sugar levels after eating sushi rice triggers fat storage.
What you should eat instead: Order sashimi instead of sushi. Sashimi is just slices of raw fish that don’t come with rice. However, many restaurants mistakenly serve it on top of a sushi roll. If that happens, push the roll to the side and just eat the fish.
2. Dried Fruits
Once dried, a cup of grapes shrinks to a 1/4 cup of raisins, dense with fruit sugars. With the reduced volume, dried fruit doesn’t fill you up like the original fruit, so you eat more. To make matters worse, food manufacturers frequently infuse dried fruits with sugar. Some contain so much sugar that they are actually “candied fruit.”
A lot of people keep dried fruit around at home or the office as a snack. This is a really bad idea if you are trying to lose weight.
What you should eat instead: A fresh apple once a day is a better snack to keep at your desk or in your home. Apples fill you up, and along with a smart eating program like Personal Trainer Food have been shown to enhance weight loss.
3. Salad Bars
Salads and dark leafy greens are awesome at helping you eat healthier. But the salad bar is riddled with foods that will pile on pounds. In addition to croutons, they feature candied nuts, sugar-coated dried fruits, granola, potato salad, pasta, Asian noodles, tortilla strips, fruit parfaits, and sugary-sweet dressings.
Where’s the salad in this salad bar? It’s mostly a ton of pasta, potatoes and other starchy stuff.
What you should eat instead: When you get to the salad bar, LOAD your plate with leafy greens, then start selecting non-starchy veggies, meats, eggs and cheese. Leave NO room on your plate for the junk food.
Smoothies are nothing more than a thinly disguised milk shake. Both easily have up to 14 teaspoons of sugar. Even if you make your smoothies from fresh fruit at home, the incredibly high level of fruit sugars taxes your system so your body is forced to store fat.
What you should eat instead: If you are craving a sweet, fruity taste, try non-caloric flavored waters or water enhancers such as Crystal Light. You can also make your own fat-burning fruit-infused drinks.
5. Bran Muffins
In terms of baked goods, a bran muffin seems like a wholesome option. But you might as well have a piece of chocolate cake –with frosting. It has the same sugar content. If you think that the bran in the muffin makes it healthier than cake, think again. Those sharp, woody flakes have been known to cause GI upset and bloating that can also tip the scale.
There is little difference between bran muffins and chocolate cake.
Both are made of a combination of flour and sugar– and both will create a muffin top.
What you should eat instead: If you are trying to eat right at your local coffee shop, look for protein platters, chicken salad, and even breakfast sandwiches. Set aside the carby parts of those meals such as the bread, peanut butter, fruit and beans.
6. Granola and Granola Bars
The word “granola” evokes a healthy, hippie image but this food has changed radically through the years. Today’s granola is drenched in sugar and usually has tons of candied fruit and even chocolate chips in it. Chocolate-coated or not, granola bars are no better than candy bars.
Think you’re a pro at telling which foods have more sugar in them? Take this quiz and see how you do!
You might as well eat a candy bar if you think granola bars are healthy. Even the “high protein” granola bars are not helping you to lose weight.
What you should eat instead: Granola and granola bars have no place in your diet if you are trying to lose weight. To get the results you want, snack on apples, nuts, deli meats and cheese sticks instead.
7. Sports Drinks
Most sports drinks are not much more than colored sugar water. Unless you are an serious athlete who participates in intensely heavy training sessions, you don’t need them. It’s easy to cancel out the fat-burning effects of your workout if you drink sugar-laden sports drinks instead of water.
Q: If after spending an hour on the treadmill “burning” calories you rehydrate with a sports drink, how much fat will will lose?
What you should eat instead: Many people chug down their water just before doing their workout routine– but that doesn’t hydrate your body properly. Sipping on your water throughout the day is the best way to prepare for and recover from your workouts.
While thinner than a slice of bread, a twelve inch wrap has more than double the carbs as two slices of bread. And, because you can put so much more in a wrap, it doesn’t take much to make a whale-sized serving. This compounds the fat-potential of this food.
Wraps make it easy to overeat, even when cut in half. Plus, they serve up so many carbs you can’t help but gain weight.
What you should eat instead: There’s nothing wrong with eating a hearty wrap, just do it the right way so you won’t gain fat. Use leafy greens like lettuce, kale or collards as your wrap and fill it with meats, non-starchy vegetables, cheese and full-fat dressings. Almost any delicious Personal Trainer Food entree can be wrapped up this way.
9. Agave Syrup
Agave syrup is all the rage as a sugar substitute because it doesn’t spike blood sugar levels. BUT agave is actually WORSE for you than High Fructose Corn Syrup. Fructose in large quantities will make you insulin-resistant, and promotes ugly belly fat. High Fructose Corn Syrup is 80% fructose. Agave is a whopping 90% fructose!
Agave syrup has been sold on the market as a sugar replacement. This syrup is a toxin to your body that creates belly fat.
What you should eat instead: If you have agave syrup in your house, throw it out immediately. Need a sweet treat that won’t make your belly bulge? Try this.
10. Rice Cakes
Rice cakes have long been the darling of dieters. But this starchy snack has no protein, fat or fiber; they are just empty calories. In fact, when you eat them, you are pretty much guaranteed these health foods make fat. The reason? They have a fat-promoting glycemic index of 91– as much as pure glucose.
The puffed rice in these snacks allows them to dissolve quickly in your stomach, giving them a fat-storing GI score of 91.
What you should eat instead: Craving crunchy snacks? Go for sliced cucumbers, baby carrots, sliced radishes, bell pepper wedges, almonds or crispy apple slices. Need more ideas? Here are 50 low-carb snacks that will burn fat, not store it.
11. Ancient Grains
There is no such thing as an ancient grain– all grains can be traced back to the beginning of time. So-called ancient grains fell out of favor when wheat became popular. They are making a comeback with buzzwords that make them sound healthy. While some of their nutritional profiles are better than standard wheat, they are still starchy grains that should be avoided if you want to lose weight.
Ancient grains are a marketing gimmick; many of these starchy grains are cousins of wheat itself …and no better for your waistline.
What you should eat instead: If you are in your fat loss phase, avoid all starchy grains no matter how young or ancient they are.
12. Veggie Burgers
Most people think that if a food is “vegetarian” that there is no way these health foods make fat. But consider this: veggie burgers are more highly processed than a plain ground beef burger. Furthermore, the starchy ingredients can add up to as many –or more calories as a burger. All those starchy calories will make you fat, but the ground beef burger won’t. (And while we’re at it, some gluten-free health foods make fat, too.)
Vegetarian foods designed to look and taste like a meat product are not as good for you as you might think.
You can think of this as a “starch burger.
What you should eat instead: Lose weight by eating the 100% beef Angus burger (like the juicy one on our menu) with all the fixings. Yes, you can have things like cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, and avocado. Just skip the bun!
13. Diet Food
Diet foods you find at the grocery store and some big-name weight loss programs are just glorified TV dinners at a premium price. The disappointing portions of cardboard food and cheap starchy fillers will make you gain weight instead of lose it. This is such a frustrating example of health foods that make fat– their labels scream otherwise! Real foods are better any day of the week to help you lose weight quickly and naturally.
What you should eat instead: Real meat, vegetables, eggs and nuts is the delicious and satisfying way to feed your body right and lose weight. You were made to live on real food, not diet food. Eat the right foods like Personal Trainer Foods and you will lose weight.
Personal Trainer Food gives you delicious, already-cooked meals that contain no hidden sugars — and little to no grains. Our meal plans are designed to help you lose weight naturally– just heat and eat. Done!
Ok, So Those Health Foods Make Fat BUT These Won’t!
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So there’s no more guessing which health foods make fat and no more wasted time when you could be losing weight.
All you get are good-for-you, “ready in 3 minutes” meals that chase away hunger… crank up your metabolism… and help you burn away those excess pounds for good.
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About the Writer: 100 pounds ago, Jan knew what it is like to be obese, unhappy, and stuck. She has spent the last 15 years as a fitness writer, trainer, yoga teacher, and Weight Loss Coach. Today, she’s proud to be a part of the Personal Trainer Food team so she can continue her goal to help others live their fullest lives possible. Email Jan@PersonalTrainerFood.com if you have any questions!