You eat diet foods because you want to be healthy, right? But, what happens if it’s these low-calorie low-fat foods that are actually the reason you’re not losing, or worse yet gaining, weight?
“Diet” Foods and Weight Gain
New research suggests that the very foods that are supposed to help you lose weight may actually have the opposite effect. One study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine points to artificial sweeteners that they put in diet foods as the culprit of this horrible dilemma.
The reasoning is two-fold. First, sweeteners affect blood sugar. When you eat something that has sugar, whether real or artificial, your blood sugar spikes and then dives, creating a craving for more sugar, which is a vicious cycle that can lead to weight gain. Second, you may subconsciously allow yourself to eat more because you’ve convinced yourself that it’s okay because it’s “diet” food.
However, artificial sweeteners can’t take all the blame as salt shoulders some of the responsibility. A lot of diet foods are higher in sodium to improve the taste and shelf life of the products. If you eat a lot of these types of foods, like canned soups and pre-packaged meals, this results in your body retaining water in an attempt to dilute the salt. Thus, weight loss is hindered, if not stopped altogether.
The “Right” Diet Foods
Don’t get discouraged though, because it is possible to choose foods that will help you lose weight and get into shape. Here are some items you’ll want to consider adding to you diet, if you haven’t done so already:
- Quality proteins: lean beef and pork, eggs, chicken, turkey and fish
- Complex carbohydrates: whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa and oatmeal
- Fruits and vegetables: all kinds – the more colors represented, the better
- Low-fat dairy: skim milk, 2% cheese, low-fat yogurt
The diet snacks and meal replacements you buy in stores are okay for occasional use, but if you consume them too often, you may find weight loss more difficult. Try to make them the exception rather the rule and you’ll start to see the scale finally go down!