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8 Healthy Foods to Avoid or Be Careful With

It is that time to talk about those so-called “healthy foods” that you think are great for weight loss when they are actually quite the opposite. First of all, just because it says low calorie, low sugar and fat do not mean it is good for you.  This is what advertising companies want you to believe.  Usually, when something you love is  low of something, there is a good chance that it is high in something not healthy. Do you ever wonder why a low to zero sugar food has a great taste?  This can be due to an added chemical to give it that great taste.  Being aware of what you put into your body. Do not be fooled about what it says on the front, it is the food label on the back that we need to pay attention to.

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8 Healthy Foods to Avoid or Be Careful With

1. Bread

This is a #1 on the list for a reason.  Do you know why we like eating bread? It is fast and easy to make a meal out of.  Take a look at the bread in your cabinet.  I know most of you have either “whole wheat” or “whole grain”.  Did you know that some a lot of those breads have above 50%percent refined flour? This is the last thing you want to put into your body, especially if you are trying to lose weight! When we eat refined flour, our body digest it very fast, then we get a “sugar rush”, followed by a crash.  What do you think happens when we crash? Our bodies crave more.   A year ago,  I read a research article that had a group of people on moderate level diet plan meaning 80% restrict (5 days completely healthy eating and 2 days of semi-healthy with some cheat meals).  In the study, they told one group to eat multi-grain foods and the other to avoid multi-grain foods.  Both groups lost weight, but the group that ate multi-grain foods actually lost abdominal fat. I am not saying that you should completely avoid bread. I just want you to be aware of the labels, and if you are still lost with labels, fooducate is a great tool that will help you find the right bread.

What to avoid when looking on the label for bread:

  1. High Fructose Corn Syrup
  2. Added Sugar
  3. Soybean oil
  4. Mono and Diglycerides
  5. Ethoxylated Mono and Diglycerides
  6. Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
  7. Calcium peroxide
  8. Azodicarbonamide
  9. Calcium Propionate
  10. Corn Starch
  11. Soy Lecithin
  12. Soy Flour
  13. DATEM
  14. Food Colorings
  15. Dextrose
  16. Sucralose
  17. Calcium propionate
  18. Xanthan Gum
  19. Cultured Corn Syrup Solids
  20. Cellulose fiber

2. Dried Fruit

I love dried fruit more than actual fruit.  At Costco, they have this fruit-nut meddle that I can throw down a 2 month supply in about 3 days if I wanted to.  Yes fruit is good for you, but dried fruit has natural sugar in combination with added sugar.  I have a client that once told me that “I have never heard anybody getting fat eating fruit”.  First of all, how would you even know? Here is a little lesson on natural and added sugar.  Remember how we talked about in the past about if you do not burn more calories than you bring in, you will gain weight?  With sugar, it gets turned into fat even faster!

For example, look at my fruit-nut meddle:

1/4 cup,1 cup,1 container (13 cups ea.)

Calories 140 Sodium 50 mg
Total Fat 6 g Potassium 0 mg
Saturated 2 g Total Carbs 17 g
Polyunsaturated 0 g Dietary Fiber 1 g
Monounsaturated 0 g Sugars 12 g
Trans 0 g Protein 3 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Vitamin A 4% Calcium 2%
Vitamin C 0% Iron 2%

Have you ever measured out the actual serving when you snack?  If you say yes, most of you I would not believe.  Over the past year, I have weighed out everything.  1/4 cup is a tiny amount.  With this tiny amount, there is 12 g of sugar alone.  My recommendation for each serving size should have less than 5 grams of sugar.  What is crazy about these nutritional facts is the actual 1/4 is not even all dried fruit!  If you have a cup of this, that is 48 flipping grams of sugar!  A cup is still a tiny amount for some people. Dried fruit, in my opinion, is a somewhat healthier version of candy.  Ever had a stomach ache from eating too much dry fruit?  This is due to the lack of fiber.  Dried fruit does not get digested as fast and just sits in your stomach.  This is a big reason why weight gain occurs from dried fruit.

Dry Fruit Substitute:

Actual Fruit

3. Energy, Protein and Breakfast Bars

For some people who are always in a rush, bars are the easiest to get a meal or a quick snack in.  Not all bars are bad, but I bet you did not realize that most of them are glorified candy bars.  This can be very bad when trying to lose weight!  These bars are not designed for you to eat and then sit on your butt all day. Pay attention to this, bars are not a meal replacement! I do not recommend bars of any sort, but if you are going to eat them, they should be consumed right before working out.  This can help fuel your workout so you can burn it off. Instead of being in a rush in the morning, get out of bed earlier or cook your breakfast the night before and fuel your body with real food.


4. Diet soda

This should be obvious, just because it says diet does not mean it is good for you.  I hear all the time, “it has zero grams of sugar and calories”.  Do you know why it has zero grams of sugar and no calories?  It has artificial sugar and other chemicals in it to give it the taste.  Artificial sweeteners trick your body into thinking that you are having food.  Guess what?  This can add fat faster!  What is really funny is when people will only eat grass fed meat because they do not want to eat chemicals from the meat but they will wash it down with a diet coke. When people tell me that diet soda has zero grams of sugar and calories, I tell them “so does water, coffee, and tea”.

5. Package Deli Meat and Sandwiches

I am guilty of this too.  Packaged deli meat is a great source for a quick and easy meal, have you ever looked at how much sodium is in a serving size? Do you know how much sodium you should have a day? First of all, sodium causes water retention which can make you gain weight.  If you are trying to lose weight and are not super active, 1500 mg per day is all you need.  If you have a very active lifestyle, then under 1800 mg per day is sufficient.

For example: you are not very active, and you decide to have a sandwich that has 2 slices of bread (420 mg sodium), 5 pieces of salami (500 mg of sodium), 1 tsp of mustard (90 mg of sodium), 1 tsp of mayonnaise (90 mg), 4 slices of pickles (160 mg of sodium) and 1 oz of American cheese (460 mg of sodium). This means that in 1 meal you had 1,700 mg of sodium in 1 sitting. This means that you need to cut back on your sandwich intake or get off your butt and sweat baby sweat!  When you are at the grocery store, picking foods that have a lower sodium value are always the best choice. Sodium is not bad but it adds up really fast!

6. Performance Drink’s

In my opinion, performance drinks such as Gatorade and Powerade are glorified sodas.  Not even my athletes are recommended to take them!  If you do drink them, they are only to be ingested before and/or after a game, practice or intense workout or run session.  Have you ever looked at the back of a Gatorade bottle?  There are 21 grams of sugar in a 12 oz bottle and 56 grams in a 32 oz bottle.  Even though we blame soda for childhood obesity, I blame Gatorade and Powerade too!

Let us have a lesson on sugar intake per day (natural sugar, not added).  There are 4 calories in 1 gram of sugar.  For men 150 calories (37.5 grams) and for women 100 calories (25 grams) per day and under. You should avoid drinking beverages that have sugar in them and Gatorade and Powerade, especially if you are trying to lose weight.

7. Smoothies and Juice’s

Almost everybody out there probably has a juice or smoothie at least a couple times a week.  You think, “how can these be bad for you, they are natural?” If you make them at home, they are better for you.  If you are someone who likes to get bottled juice at the store or smoothies at any smoothie place, you would be surprised about the added sugar that is involved.  Did you know that some of these juices or smoothies have 50 grams of sugar (mostly natural but still sugar)? That is 200 calories just from sugar and that is more than your daily limit.  I know that juicing at home can be pricey and messy, but if you can not live without them, make them at home!

Here is an example of how much sugar is in an 8 oz Orange Juice (bet you drink more than 8 oz):

Nutritional Facts for a small smoothie that I found online (100% fruit smoothie). Look at the carbs and sugar:

% Daily Value
Calories 290
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0.5g 3%
Trans Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 5mg 1%
Sodium 40mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 67g 22%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Sugar 54g
Protein 2g

8. Yogurt, Honey, and Granola

Not all yogurt is bad for you!  The problem that I have with certain yogurts are the high sugar content.  This is not including the added sugary treats that we add to them.  Let us break down the most common ingredients that are added to yogurt.

Greek yogurt is the most common brand of yogurt that I have heard people buy because it is an easy way to get protein.  You may be thinking that has 0 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein and only 9 grams of sugar.  This is acceptable if you are going to workout right after you eat this.  If you are going to eat this and not workout after, you better have a low added or natural sugar intake the rest of the day.

How many people add honey or granola to your yogurt?  You may be thinking that granola is good for you, right?  


First we will look at honey.  Do you ever measure out a teaspoon of honey?  I bet most of you just do not!  Wow, would you look at that sugar.  16 grams in one teaspoon, that is going to make your belly fat very happy!

For those people who think granola is so healthy because it says high protein, weight loss, bla bla bla. You may be thinking that it is lower in sugar, but look at the fat intake.  Granola is perfectly fine if you are alone, do not get me wrong.  With the high fat content, just be aware of your daily fat intake. Here is the nutritional facts for granola:

Let us do the math with just 1 serving of yogurt and honey.  16 grams + 9 grams + 7 grams=32 grams of sugar.  Remember that we talked about 25 grams of sugar is the max amount you can have a day?  That means you are done with sugar before you even start your day! For guys, this means that the rest of the day you have only 5.5 grams to spare.


There are many more foods out there you need to be careful about when trying to lose weight.  The reason why I picked these was because these are the most common foods that I see when looking at peoples nutrition plan.  The point of this is not to say you can not have these at all.  I want you to be aware of what you are putting in your body.  When you look on the front of something and it says low or fat free, be aware that something else could be higher to replace what they took away.
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