One of the hardest parts while trying to lose weight is probably limiting yourself to certain foods, there is also a chance that half of the ones you are eating are actually keeping you from losing weight. Don’t be demotivated yet: there are many alternatives to your favorite unhealthy foods. It’s time to stop living off salads and smoothies and get creative with nutritious ingredients!
Here we discuss 4 foods that you should be wary of and what you could replace them with.
It’s important to keep grains in your diet, since they are important sources of fiber. They:
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- Keep your metabolism boosted
Be careful though;
- Rice is one of the grains that contain the most calories: in one cooked cup, there are 205-226 calories.
- Also, white rice causes insulin to rise at a great speed, stimulating hunger.
Try replacing rice in your recipes with quinoa. This superfood not only contains a lot of fiber, but also a large amount of protein (roughly 8 grams in one cooked cup). Unlike rice, quinoa has a low glycemic index – which means that it doesn’t raise the blood sugar level rapidly – therefore making you feel full longer. It is gluten-free and provides many antioxidants which can help decrease the risk of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
As delicious as it is, mayonnaise is something to avoid, especially if you are trying to lose weight:
- One tablespoon contains 90 calories and 10 grams of fat! 8% of which is saturated fat – this kind of fat has no double bonds between the carbon atoms, making it harder to break the molecule (this means it is harder to ‘burn off’ saturated fat – so you will need to workout harder or longer than you would to ‘burn off’ the same amount of unsaturated fat).
- Consequently, it stays in your body making its way around your organs, your heart, liver or pancreas, as visceral fat deposits.
- Consuming a large amount of saturated fat can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
Replace mayonnaise with mashed avocados. It has the same creamy texture while being very healthy. Avocados contain a lot of monounsaturated fat, but contrary to your beliefs, you actually need it to shed pounds. This kind of fat raises good HDL cholesterol. This means less cellulite, less belly fat and a healthier heart. You can twist things up by adding some lemon juice and pepper, or even mustard – it contains only up to 10 calories per tablespoon!
Overall, pasta isn’t bad for your health, especially if it is made from whole wheat. But it is full of carbohydrates, so it can hinder you from losing weight fast.
Carbohydrates are the simplest form of sugar: it is found in fruits and vegetables. While on a diet, we tend to eat a lot of these; so adding pasta to your everyday meals is only making you eat more sugar than you need.
The glucose in your body turns into glycogen to preserve the energy. This polysaccaride carbonhydrate holds on to water, making you gain water weight. Also, as we all know, it is insulin that converts sugar to glycogen: the extra then turns into fat. A good alternative to pasta is spaghetti squash. It doesn’t have a strong flavor, so you can add any sauce you like! It is rich in fiber and vitamins but low in calories. Spaghetti squash contains a lot of water, helping you lose water weight.
Sugar, sugar, sugar… Where to start? It is one of the worst ingredients, yet it is found in nearly everything we eat. 70% of Americans have a sugar addiction, the documentary Hungry for Change produced by James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch explains it all. Sugar creates a leptin resistance, Leptin is a hormone that is secreted from the fat cells, telling your brain that they had enough fat stored – if your body has a leptin resistance, your brain cannot know if you have eaten enough, making you crave fatty foods. Not only does it make you eat more, but it also causes your body to store more fat because it thinks it is starving.
Of course, there is a great substitute to sugar: honey! This “natural medicine” has many health benefits and can help you shed the pounds. The glucose from honey is absorbed slowly, this in turn makes your energy last longer – meaning less fatigue while exercising, making your trip to the gym more productive!
Bottom line, you don’t have to limit yourself while losing weight! There is always delicious alternatives to unhealthy foods, making healthy eating easy and a lifestyle choice instead of a challenge.