Smoothies are great for me, right? I mean, they’re made of fruits and veggies and these are essential for health!
Unfortunately not. Imagine eating 10 oranges in one sitting. Not so easy eh? But it’s super easy to pack that and more into a smoothie, which makes it easy for you to overdose on the natural sugar in the fruits.
You’d be surprised but smoothies (and some fruit juices) have about the same sugar content as a glass of Coke, for example. Plus you’d still eat the same amount of food after, so it doesn’t affect your overall food intake at the end of the day, except for increasing the sugar you’re getting.
Next time you feel like having a smoothie, how about eating the actual fruits instead?
2. Low-fat Yogurt
Yogurt’s healthy, and great for your gut, but not the low-fat variety most people go for when shopping in the supermarket.
These are filled with unwanted additives, sugar, flavouring, or artifical sweeteners. None of which are great for your weight loss programme.
Go for greek or plain yogurt in the future.
3. Low-Fat or Fat-Free Salad Dressing
You should’ve gotten the hint by now. Anything that says “low-fat” or “fat-free” should be regarded with suspicion. Next time you’re shopping for salad dressing in the supermarket, read the ingredients list. Stay away when it includes ingredients like sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other additives you are unsure about. Google it if you don’t know what it is.
Best to make your own salad dressings from scratch. Plus point is that they taste much better too!
4. Trail Mix
Ahhh… the favourite snack of the health conscious. While the main ingredient in trail mix — nuts — is filled with heart-healthy fats, it’s also packed with a load of calories, making them not that great a snack for those looking to lose weight. And then there’s also the other ingredients in trail mix to consider. These range from dried fruit (read: sugar), honey (more sugar), chocolate (even more sugar), and if you’re just mindlessly munching away, the calories do add up.
5. Vitamin Water (and other Energy Drinks)
Just going by the name you’d assume these drinks will immediately boost your health to the maximum level. I mean, you can’t go wrong with Vitamin Water right? It’s definitely better the much frowned upon soft drinks!
Not so fast. An inspection of the nutrition facts shows that you’re getting 32g of sugar in every Vitamin Water bottle. It may not sound like a lot, but the World Health Organisation recommends a maximum of 50g of sugar per day. Now imagining chugging down one bottle every time you’re thirsty. You’re definitely far exceeding the RDI, and we haven’t even included the other food and drinks yet.
The same goes for other energy drinks that you might think is good for you, but is actually only upping your jeans size in the long run. Try some of these fruit infused water instead!
6. Gluten-Free Products
More and more Malaysians are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon now, but is that actually a good thing? Going gluten-free is only useful if you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or sensitivity to wheat, but of course you are free to try out different diets and see how your body reacts to it.
However, if you are trying out gluten-free food, be aware that just because a product has been labelled gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy.
Take a look at the ingredients, more often than not they’ll contain a long list of additives, which are there to replace the wheat protein that’s been taken out. They are also often packed with sugar and other ingredients to make them taste the same / better than their gluten-filled counterparts.
At the end of the day, a cookie is still a cookie, whether it’s gluten-free or not, and it packs the same (if not more) amount of calories. You still have to be careful about what you eat, otherwise your scale might shock you.
If you want to try a gluten-free diet, go for fresh produce. You can never go wrong with a diet rich in veggies, fruits, and lean protein.
7. Bottled Tea Drinks
Tea is healthy. Nobody’s going to refute that. But if you think you’re making the smarter choice by choosing the iced lemon tea at the cinema, you’re not. Most bottled teas contain lots of added sugar and flavourings. An example would F&N Seasons Iced Lemon Tea, it contains 11.6g of sugar for every 100ml, so in just ONE 500ml bottle you’re already way past the suggested daily sugar limit. If it’s sweet, it’s probably not great for you. Go for unsweetened tea, or make your own!
8. Energy Bars
They’re usually standing proudly in the health food or breakfast aisle, but are they really the perfect snack before your workout?
Take a look at the ingredients before making your purchase. Watch out for things like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other additives you don’t really want. Also, look at the calorie count of each bar. Most of them are small but pack 100-350 calories each. If you’re chowing down multiple of these before every workout, you’re basically cancelling out all your workouts. So stay away. Instead, try making your own with this recipe here.
9. Multi-Grain Products
There are plenty of products in the supermarket that may sound healthy, but aren’t actually healthy. These include products labelled multi-grain, 9-grain, or x-amount of grain. You might mistake them for whole grain, but they’re not really wholegrain. Whole grain means that all parts of the grain kernal — bran, germ, and endosperm — are used, while multi-grain just means they’re using more than one type of grain, but it’s not necessarily whole grain.
One surefire way to catch this is to check the labels or ingredients list — you should not see words like “bleached flour”, “unbleached wheat flour”, but should see words like “whole”.
So shop smart, and eat smart!
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