A flick through any celebrity gossip mag, stroll down a supermarket isle, or even just sitting through tv adverts will present a ton of “health foods” that are ok to eat when losing weight.
You know the type’s, breakfast biscuits, cereal bars, vitamin waters. It’s hard to escape the bombardment of these products.
However, what you might not know, is that a lot of these “health foods” are in fact not healthy at all. Including these in your diet, without careful consideration, can actually halt your fat loss efforts, and turn your dreams off a beach body, into a beach whale.
Here are 9 of the top “fake health foods” to be careful of. How many have you fallen foul of?
1 – Granola & Granola Bars
Granola is made from oats, and we all know those are healthy, right? Throw some fruit in that bowl of granola, along with some seeds and we’re onto the perfect breakfast. Heck, for those leading a busy lifestyle, how about compacting it into a bar, ready to eat on your way to work.
A healthy start to your day… right?
Granola is very calorie dense. This means you don’t get to eat much, for the amount of calories it carries. Not ideal if you’re looking to feel full when dieting. The added dried fruit is almost all sugar.
If you count macros and calories, and include granola within your macros, then you’re good to go. However for the casual person looking to eat “healthy”, this is on par with eating a packet of sweets, or a chocolate bar.
If you’re looking for something to feel full, try this cherry bakewell high protein porridge recipe instead.
2 – Protein Bars
Ok, so im not saying all protein bars are bad. Far from it. What im saying is that the majority of people will hear the word “protein” and assume that what they’re eating is healthy.
Food doesn’t work like that.
Many protein bars are glorified chocolate bars. If you take a closer look at nutritional label, you’ll find that poor quality protein bars might contain 10-15 grams of protein, along with 30+ grams of carbs (most of which are sugars) along with a ton of fats.
If you’re not careful, you’d be better off eating that snickers, and screwing the “trying to be healthy thing”.
Think of protein bars as a “treat” rather than a healthy option. If you like chocolate style protein bars, then you’ll love protein chox.
3 – Protein Bread
Protein bread & bagels are getting quite popular among the fitness community. A scroll through instagram (the flexible dieting social network, where you MUST show a picture of every meal you eat), or twitter will reveal a slew of protein bread eaters.
However, just because it contains “protein” doesn’t mean its healthy.
If you compare protein breads with regular breads, you’ll find the caloric content is significantly higher. The carbs & fats are probably around the same to.
So if you enjoy sandwhiches, don’t think that throwing your ham & cheese between 2 slices of protein bread is “healthier”. Yes it contains additional protein to help your muscle repair & recover. However it could also be adding hundreds of calories to your diet that you aren’t aware of.
4 – Protein Pasta
This whole protein thing seems to be creating a pattern right. Does that mean all protein snacks & foods are unhealthy!?
Not at all. However, like the above bread, protein pasta can contain a far higher amount of calories than you’d expect. Some brands may reduce the carb content slightly, however some don’t.
These high protein snacks are an easy (albeit it, expensive) way to increase your protein intake. however the “casual” person looking to “eat healthy” they’re going to be adding more and more calories to their diet than they may realise.
5 – Cereal
Im not just talking about the obvious ones here. Frosties, coco pops or lucky charms. We all know these are laden with sugar.
Im talking about the cereal that is marketed as being “healthy”. These “secret sinning cereals” are disguised as being healthy. Perhaps because of their wholegrain content, or high fiber. However many types of “healthy” cereal are packed with sugar.
There is a pattern occurring in this list…. always check the food label!
6 – Light Beer
Many, including myself, would assume that a “light beer” would be lighter on the calories than the regular version. However this isn’t always the case.
For some brands, “light” means less alcohol.
This can actually lead to increased caloric intake.
Let’s say you’re looking to get absolutely rat arsed with your mates on a night out, and to do so would usually take 10 bottles of regular beer.
The lighter option might mean you’re going to have to go through 15 bottles!
7 – Smoothies
I think this stems from celebrity or fad diets. The idea of getting a ton of fruit, blending it up, and necking it is health personified.
Fruit’s are healthy, no doubting that. However, unless you’re in a rush to get some calories into you, why juice it? Eat the damn things!
You’ll feel fuller, and cause as much of a spike to your insulin levels are you would by drinking it.
You’ll likely go through more fruit juicing it, than you would eat it to.
8 – Flavoured Yoghurt
I love natural & 0% fat greek yoghurt. It tastes nice by itself, but when you add fruit to it, you’re on a whole other level. It’s also very filling.
Flavoured yoghurts are packed with way more carbs & sugars than just adding some fruit to it yourself. The more “indulgent” flavours are often much higher in fat to.
9 – Mass Gain Shakes
Ok, so if you’re looking to lose weight, chances are a mass gainer shake isn’t going to be in your supplements stack.
However, many people looking to build muscle think that weight gain supplements are essential to get bigger & stronger.
Mass gain shakes are an easy way to pack additional calories into your diet, without having to sit down and eat a meal.
The problem is, following the recommended usage for most mass gain supplements means that you’ll be consuming 1000+ calories per serving. I spoke about gaining 14 lbs in around 10 days in my Mutant Mass Review.
Spoiler alert – it wasn’t 14 lbs of muscle.
You only need to be in a calorie surplus of a few hundred calories to gain lean muscle. Adding in over 1000 calories is just overkill.
Stray on the side of caution with these things, otherwise you could end up super fat.
How “Healthy” is Your Diet Now?
It’s easy to believe the hype, marketing and advertisements of these products.
On face value they look & sound healthy. So why would we doubt including them in our diets?
If any of these foods are in your diet, and you’re not making the gains you want, then check the labels and start to swap them for better food choices.