This is a guest blog post by Jessica Josh.
The first step toward a healthier diet is to filter out all the junk food. Generally, when a person wants to lose weight, the first step is to throw out all those old, processed, empty calorie filled food packages in the cupboard and refrigerator.
They then go to the grocery store to replace them with new, healthier alternatives. The problem here is often that most people have a skewed idea about which foods are better for them than others. Just going by instinct, without reading the labels on new foods, can lead to discouragement and failure.
Not all Fruit is healthy
A giant misconception is that anything with the word “fruit” on it must be healthy. A natural piece of fruit which is raw and ripe is a great healthy snack. But even fruit on its own must not be over used in a diet geared toward weight loss.
Fruit is very high in sugar and carbohydrates. Nonetheless, the carbohydrates in fruits are better carbs than those found in white bread and pasta.
It is a common error to go out and replace potato crisps with a packet of dried fruit. While this is more natural, dehydrated fruits lead to over-eating. You get a large number of sugar-filled calories without feeling full.
It is best to opt for fresh items whenever possible. The same goes for fruit juices. Drinking fruit juice may lead to over consumption of what would be a good thing in small doses. Even a glass of fruit juice has the same calories, if not more, than a piece of fruit, in most cases.
Many people will drink two or three glasses of fruit juice a day, which is equivalent to a small meal’s worth of calories! If you are drinking fruit juice, read labels carefully to avoid excess sugars, and drink them in moderation.
Check your Dips and Dressings
Another common mistake is to replace dips and dressings with so-called healthy alternatives. Sauces from tomato sauce to salad dressing are often calorie filled, and provide next to no nutritious value.
However, instead of forgetting these sauces, dips and dressings altogether, the tendency of many is to try and find replacements.
For example, many people will toss the tomato sauce and go for an aoli dip instead. Instead of hearty dips they will choose something that seems more natural like hummus. Instead of a creamy dressing they will douse salads with an oil based dressing. It is great to take such steps, but it’s important to go to the grocery store armed with a bit of research.
Simply comparing the calorie profiles in what you used to eat and what you are choosing will often show a negligible difference, if any at all. Better choices are to go for lite versions of your favorite products, to simply use far less, or to eliminate them altogether.
Whole Wheat Bread vs. White Bread
Lastly, it is extremely common to think that throwing away all white bread, pasta, and rice and buying whole meal bread, wheat pasta and brown rice will solve all the trouble. While these are better choices, they will not lead to weight loss.
Unless the person eating whole wheat bread cuts back on these ‘filler’ carbohydrates altogether, they will not lose weight. Healthier alternatives which are high in nutrition still give that punch to a meal without filling you on empty calories. Eating whole grains like quinoa, is more filling and do not lead to more feelings of hunger later.
When you are trying to lose weight, it is not enough to throw out all the junk food and replace them with healthier alternatives. It is also important to take note of the amount of food or the portions of the healthier food we are actually consuming. Many people tend to relax knowing they are eating healthier but end up eating a lot more. That’s when these food sneak it to hurt you—because you have eaten too much of a good thing.
Jessica Josh is an Australian freelance writer and blogger. Since 2007, she has been writing about weight loss, health, and nutrition and articles about http://drgsweightloss.com.au/
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