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10 Pseudo Diet Foods You Should Avoid

Many of us want quick fix solutions to our weight loss quest. Producers smartly label their products like "fat free", "low fat" to lure gullible people. 10 products you felt were helping weight loss but sadly don't: flavored yogurt, sugar-free cookies, trail mix, veggie chips, granola, sushi, smoothies, diet drinks, fat free salad dressing and grounded chicken/turkey.

We all have our aims to get healthier, lose weight, eat better, etc., which is great. Unfortunately, a lot of people get misled by unfair marketing from food companies, promoting their products as super healthy when they actually aren’t. So what’s a health-conscious consumer to do? I came across an article this morning from Fitness Magazine that’s actually really helpful in debunking the “myths” behind certain diet foods. The original article is here – and my summary is below. Hope this is helpful in successfully achieving your health goals.

10 Diet Foods that aren’t Actually Healthy.

1. Flavored Yogurt:

Flavored yogurt has over 30 gms of sugar per serving, which is about 200 calories. Opt for non-fat Greek Yogurt and stir in a table spoon of honey or maple syrup.

2. Sugar-free Cookies:

The sad thing here is, when they take out the sugar, they add more fat to make up for it. Sugar free doesn’t mean “calorie-free” – and many times the sugar-free versions have as many calories as their full-sugar counterparts. Instead, have a 100 calorie pack, or just one regular small cookie (moderation is better than eating fake food).

3. Trail Mix:

The unfortunate thing here is, food companies ruin the nutritional value of trail mix by deep frying the banana chips and covering raisins, almonds, etc with partially hydrogenated oils, which adds a lot of trans fat. When you look at the ingredients on a trail mix package, “oil” should not be one of them. Fortunately, stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods offer very healthy packaged trail mixes, or you can make your own by buying roasted almonds, raisins and other nuts to mix your own. Keep in mind though, that nuts still contain a lot of calories and fats (even if it’s good calories/fats) – so stick to a 1/2 cup serving at most.

4. Veggie Chips:

Chips are chips – no matter whether they were once a healthy veggie, once they end up in that plastic, sealed bag, they have been deep fried and have lost most of their nutritional value. Veggie chips are basically potato chips in disguise. Instead, opt for baked potato chips or tortilla chips and stick to only a handful as a serving.

5. Granola:

The word “granola” automatically seems healthy, doesn’t it? Sadly, it isn’t. Granola usually has tons of added sugars and fats (the oats are usually tossed with a sugary syrup before they are baked to give them a sweet flavor). One cup can have up to 560 calories and 28 gms of fat, excluding the milk that goes with it. My rule for granola is – stay away from it and eat high fiber tasty cereals instead. And if you really love granola so much that you can’t give it up, sprinkle only one tbsp of it over yogurt or oatmeal.

6. Sushi:

Regular sushi with the basics (fish, rice, seaweed, veggies) is usually a good choice. However, many restaurants have tempura sushi – which is basically battered, deep fried meat or veggies wrapped in seaweed. Stay away from that. Instead opt for nigiri, sashimi or cucumber/veggie rolls.

7. Smoothies:

Ah, Jamba Juice. Juice seems so healthy right? Wrong. Juice oftentimes can have as much sugar as soda! And smoothies that are made with ice cream, frozen yogurt, syrups, granola, etc. can pack 500-1000 calories per drink. If you love smoothies, make your own at home with frozen berries, a banana, 1/2 cup low fat milk or soy milk, and 2 tsp honey. That way you’ll get your full serving of fruit without the extra calories.

8. Diet Drinks:

For some reason, diet drinks have been linked to obesity. Studies show that people who consume diet drinks are more likely to gain weight than people who don’t. I don’t quite understand this connection, but there are tons of articles out there about it. Opt for a drink with 3 parts sparkling water and 1 part juice instead.

9. Fat Free Salad Dressing:

From a calories standpoint, this isn’t a bad option (usually these types of dressings are low in calories and have a similar taste to their full fat counterparts – which should definitely be avoided!) The issue is that without healthy oils in your salad, you won’t be able to absorb the nutrients from it. You can make your own dressing with heart healthy olive oil (2 tsp olive oil, 1.5 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette, minced garlic to taste)

10. Ground Turkey/Chicken:

I basically stay away from meat, but if you do like meat – don’t eat ground turkey or chicken – which often contain fat & skin. The key here is to look at labels and make sure that the meat you’re buying has only 1g fat and no saturated fat per serving. Hope this info is helpful! Thanks Fitness Magazine for the great article!

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Anjali Shah

I grew up a “whole wheat” girl, but married a “white bread” kind of guy. Hoping to prove that nutritious food could in fact be delicious and desirable, I taught myself how to cook and successfully transformed my husband’s eating habits from a diet of frozen pizzas and Taco Bell to my healthy, yet flavorful recipes made with simple, wholesome ingredients. Through my blog, The Picky Eater, I share my passion for tasty, healthy cooking. I believe that healthy food can taste good, and that you can lose weight and be healthy without depriving yourself!

Try the Picky Eater for simple healthy recipes! Click Here