Sometimes the foods which should be healthy, or even supposedly healthy foods aren’t actually that good for staying healthy, happy and lean! And they’re not always obvious – here are 10 surprising foods which are doing nothing for your fat-loss goals!

  1. Fruit

    Most people see fruit as one of the health foods you can snack on without any weight-gain effects. However fruit (fruit juices and dried fruit especially) are by no means foods to be eaten at will. For those of you who are less active but still trying to lose weight fruit should really be avoided altogether. An average apple contains 17-20g of sugar and a high calorie content. Eaten in excess, fruit can contribute to considerable weight-gain. Moderation is key.

  2. Diet Drinks

    Diet drinks can seriously disrupt the body’s natural ability to regulate calorie intake based on how sweet certain foods taste. Diet drinks can actually trick the body in to believing that it is eating sugar and as a result, we can then overeat because of the cravings this causes. Harvard Medical School conducted a study on diet sodas and their effect on kidney function finding that drinking just two diet drinks a day can adversely affect kidney function. Correct kidney function is crucial for optimal health, fitness and weight-loss. If these diet sodas affect kidney function then they are affecting our weight-loss goals.

  3. Frozen Yogurt

    Packed with sugar – even the ‘fat free’ kinds. Many of the mainstream frozen yogurt products you buy don’t even contain beneficial probiotics due to manufacturing processes. All the goodness is taken out so they will last longer on the shelf and extra sugars and additives are added making this ‘health’ food addictive and dangerous for piling on the pounds!

  4. Sports Drinks

    Again, loaded with sugar and sometimes even high levels of sodium. According to a study conducted by the Harvard Medical School (tracking data on nearly 11,000 adolescents aged 9-15), sports drinks had the same weight-gain effects as soda drinks.

  5. Sushi

    Sushi (one of my favorite foods of all time!) is loaded with sodium and high glycemic carbohydrates. It also supplies very little protein. If you love it like I do, try making it at home or if eating out, try sashimi. Sushi rice when store-bought or eating out has a considerable amount of added sugar and nasty oils/vinegars to give the rice that sweet taste. All the goodness that was once in this wonderful food is sacrificed due to added sugars, preservatives and oils. Opt for either home sushi-making, sashimi if eating out or possibly brown-rice sushi (if you can find restaurants that offer that!).

  6. Honey

    Just like regular sugar, honey contains about 350-370 calories per 100 grams and provides roughly the same energy content as regular sugar: leading to a spike in insulin levels. Obviously in many ways if you are eating good, raw, organic honey it is a lot better for you than store-bought processed, white sugar but that is not to say that it can be eaten freely without having any weight-gain effects. Enjoy honey in moderation – like everything!

  7. Muesli and Granola Cereals

    These breakfast options really are better avoided. The reason people love most popular brands of muesli and granola cereals is due to their high sugar and oil content which makes them addictive. These morning favorites are laden with dried fruit (concentrated sugar!!) and in many cases are also soaked in juice fruit to soften the grains and then further toasted (with more fat and sugar being added). Starting your day with this much sugar and fat is just disastrous and leaves you craving more sugar and fats for the remainder of the day! Instead, why not try something relatively simple and sugar-free in the mornings: Boiled eggs or oatmeal are fantastic breakfast options!

  8. Rice Cakes

    Rice cakes are virtually completely void of any nutritional value and send your blood sugar levels sky high. They’re promoted as a ‘diet food’ because of their low-calorie value but if you’ve ever eaten rice cakes you’ll know that they are the least-filling food you could possibly eat, so you will probably consume 5-10 rice cakes in one meal anyway and therefore still eat the same amount of calories (only these will be nutritional void, empty calories)!

  9. Reduced Fat, Refined Peanut Butters

    Peanut butter can be an incredibly healthy addition to your diet, but not the refined, reduced fat kinds that you’ll find regularly in stores. Reduced fat peanut butter has just as many calories as the full-fat natural nut butters but instead of being a healthy dietary fat (that our bodies naturally need), these reduced fat nut butters contain added sugars, more sodium and hydrogenated oils which are unhealthy fats that raise bad cholesterol.

  10. Diet Ready-Made/Microwavable Meals

    Although there are some good choices when it comes to frozen meals, the majority are packed full of sodium (which retains water and makes you feel bloated and heavy) and don’t contain enough nutritional value at all for one of your daily main meals. If your main meal does not contain enough nutritionally-dense calories, then you will inevitably still be hungry after dinner. This time in the evenings can be a dangerous time for people to binge and eat unnecessary calories. If your dinner gives your body all the nutrients it needs, you will be less likely to ‘pick’ at junk food after dinner.

So there you go, just a short few examples of supposed ‘health foods’ that you might want to start avoiding. A productive, healthy diet doesn’t need to be boring and bland. If you remove the large amounts of sugar and sodium in your current diet, your taste buds re-evaluate every bite you eat over time, making the foods you once thought were ‘bland’ or ‘tasteless’ actually taste incredible!

For a fat-free physique, keep your diet simple. Avoid (or hugely reduce) the so-called ‘health foods’ that are preventing you from shedding those extra pounds and eat natural, fresh fruit, vegetables, meats and fish.

Be Smart, Eat Smart! Thanks for reading!

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Megan O'Neill

Megan O'Neill is a musician, psychologist, nutrition advisor and an absolute health-nut! She currently resides in London, but - as you may have guessed from the name - is originally from Ireland. Six years ago, following an incredible trip to Asia, she suddenly became very ill with IBS, food intolerances and chronic fatigue. No-one could have predicted how that fateful trip would... Read More

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