While some foods—such as vegetables, healthy oils, or yogurt—can help you lose weight, the sugars and refined foods that are so prevalent in food now are actually a hidden contributor in your weight gain.
So if keeping the pounds off is your goal, these are 7 sugar-packed foods you need to avoid.
Carbs themselves aren’t the enemy—there are lots of healthy carbs out there—but in this case refined flour, and consequently white bread, contains a lot of added sugar. These higher levels can cause a spike in blood sugars and are often not filling, making you hungry for even more food.
Instead of white bread, try whole wheat. This is not only filling, but also packed with fiber and good carbohydrates. Need gluten free? Try cornbread, or bread made out of almond flour. All these options steer clear of the dreaded refined flour.
There is nothing redeeming about candy bars, or any other type of sweet—packed with sugar, oil, and even refined flour, they are high in calories and have absolutely no nutrients. Most average candy bars are around 250 calories—this does not include the king-sized, which are even more. To put that into perspective, it would take over 100 grapes to equal that many calories. And like white bread, candy calories are empty, leaving you even hungrier than before.
Candy is everywhere, but to lose weight it’s best to skip over them. If you are really craving a sugary snack, go for a piece of fruit. This will satisfy the want for sugar while providing all the good nutrients as well.
Baked goods like cakes, cookies, or pastries are just chock full of refined sugars and flour. On top of all this, they often contain unhealthy fats such as trans fats—considered the worst type to eat because it raises the bad cholesterol while lowering the good cholesterol.
Like white bread and candy, most cakes or cookies will only leave you disappointed and hungry, while still filling you up on calories. For a healthier option, go for food made out of whole wheat and with natural ingredients, or better yet, cut the sweets entirely.
Coffee itself won’t hurt any weight-loss goals; in fact, the caffeine found in coffee can increase metabolism which in turn can help burn fat, at least for a little while. It’s when the sugars, creams, and artificial flavorings are added that coffee can become unhealthy. These exponentially increase the calories while once again giving no health benefits in return—sometimes even reaching the same caloric intake as an average meal.
Everyone loves a good pizza, and now pizza places are almost a dime a dozen. Unfortunately, most of these fast food pizzas are sky high in calories with oils, refined sugar, and mystery meat. One slice easily equals an entire meal—and most people don’t want to stop at just one piece.
Extra sugar is easy to spot in sweets or cakes, but many other “healthy” foods now also contain excess sugar, destroying many of the health benefits they offer. This includes many breakfast cereals, yogurts, granola—anything that has been pre-made could potentially have added sugar. The biggest culprit are the foods that boast “fat-free” or something similar because to make up for the lack of fat and flavor, the companies added more sugar.
Fat in food isn’t bad, as long as it’s healthy fat. To avoid the empty calories of sugar, steer clear of any fat-free foods and make sure to check the ingredients list for extra sugar.
There are many drinks out there with additional, unneeded sugar, the most notable of these being soda. Like all the food mentioned so far, sodas and other sugary drinks have empty calories which will make you hungry and load you up with calories. And since this is a drink and not solid food, it’s easy to continue eating a normal amount of food. With one can of soda averaging around 140 calories, that’s a lot of unwanted calories during the day.
Going cold-turkey on sugary drinks is the best bet for weight-loss. Drink water or milk instead; water is always good for you, and milk will be satisfying while still having lots of valuable nutrients.