I don’t know how to break this to you gently, but dieting really is not that fun, or easy. If you are on a good, well balanced, healthy, strict diet to aid weight-loss, it is not going to be a walk in the park.
As a general rule anything that says FAT FREE should NOT be on your list of foods. The exception that proves that rule is Fage 0% Fat Total Greek Yogurt. But I will go into that more in a moment.
Clean eating which is the best way in my opinion to lose weight healthily, does not involve replacing the already bad foods you’re currently eating, with the ‘diet’ versions. Just because something is low this and low that, it is still generally a bad food. The best thing to do is really change your diet permanently. Don’t just switch from Coca Cola to Diet Coke. Switch to water, persevere, and your body will thank you.
‘Ok…But its working for me’ I hear you cry.
Yes to be blunt if you are carrying an extra 2/3/4 stone or more you are going to lose weight by making these swaps, but it is not a healthy sustainable way to lose weight. Trust me, I did it myself. In 2012 I lost 2 1/2 stone by eating this way. I was so proud to be a solid size 12 and squeeze into some size 10’s that I pretty much gave up there. What happened, slowly the diet coke went back to the odd Cocoa Cola, the low fat foods were replaced by the old favourites, and over the next few years I regained around a stone of what I had lost, and spent those few years yo-yo’ing in weight. That has all changed now, and I am finally on a really good healthy path.
The UK government have recently halved their recommendation on our daily sugar intake, recommending max 30g sugar per day, and I for one make an active effort to be more sugar aware. When we talk about healthy swaps, we are talking about real healthy swaps, and I hate to tell you, not all of them are going to taste as good initally. However your taste buds will adapt, and when once in a while when you do treat yourself to something, you will really appreciate it.
My main culprits of this low fat fad will be uncovered in this blog piece, and I have given my suggestions on how to clean swap them in order for your diet to be not only successful, but the effects of it to be long lasting. Ditch the added sugars and drink your water people!
Muller Yogurts – I hardly know where to begin, firstly they list their nutritional values based on 100g. When the yogurts themselves are in some cases nearly double that. The newest fad that is Muller Light Peanut & Caramel for example for the pot may only contain on the face of it 84 calories. Well woopdidee! But what on earth are those calories if not fat. They are 13g Carbohydrates and 11.9g of that 13g sugars. That for a ‘snack’ is a massive portion of your daily recommended sugar and carbohydrates, especially if you are trying to lose weight. You have to remember fat isn’t a bad word. Sugar is far worse. Try swapping it for fage 0% total yogurt which for the same 165g portion comes in at 6.8g carbs which all sugar and over 10g more protein. Its a no brainer. Its also totally fat free, I add actual clean peanut butter to mine, a healthy fat, and could even add Waldens Farm zero caramel sauce and re-create the whole yogurt.
Alpen Light Bars – Lets look at the double chocolate bar, a popular breakfast or snack. 65kcal…Yes wow that is low. But what is it? 1.2g fat well thats ok, 11g Carbohydrates for something that is about the size of my thumb, and just as satisfying, and 4g of that is sugar! 4g of sugar in a bar that weighs 19g just let that sink in. The bar has 1g protein, and basically is not going to do anything good for you at all. Swap these for real breakfast cereal like plain weetabix, or porridge. Or if you are using this as an afternoon snack look into protein bars, some of which such as quest bars contain only 4g net carbs, and I assure you are 100 times tastier and more satisfying.
Baked Beans – Why is everyone eating baked beans. Ok so they’re supposedly high fibre, but I wouldn’t call 7.7g per half can high fibre considering that half can contains 26.7g carbs. The problem being beans aren’t even a meal on there own. They contain over 10g sugar per half can and people are having these along side a plate of food. Swap them out for black beans, which for around the same as half a tin of beans contain 9.4g carbs which is substantially less. Less than 0.5g sugar and 3g more fibre.
Ribena Light – Still contains 1.5g carbs, what a waste, nearly all of it in the form of sugar, so nutritionally doing nothing for you. Just drink water, ditch the diet cokes, the sugar free this sugar free that and get on the water. It makes your skin clearer, your belly less bloated, and your energy levels higher.
Mug Shot Pasta – Anything like this that is essentially a ready meal is madness! I cannot understand how they have the audacity to call this tasty and guilt free. Lets look at the tomato & herb pasta. 49.8g Carbohydrate I nearly had a heart attack when I saw that, with 11.7g of that sugaring. Please someone help me. For that equivalent carbohydrate you could have 3 sainsburys wholemeal flatbreads, unlimited barenaked noodles (they are virtually 0 carb), 175g sainsburys wholewheat fusilli pasta (which is a huge bowl) or 4 slices of hovis wholemeal bread. Just to give you a few comparisons.
So lets see what would happen if you had these foods in one day:
Breakfast – Banana with a muller light caramel and peanut yogurt.
Lunch- Mug Shot tomato & Herb with a slice of wholemeal toast with flora light.
Afternoon snack- Ribena Light and an Alpen light double chocolate bar
Dinner- Grilled chicken breast with baked beans and broccoli
Looks pretty healthy to you on the face of it?
Well in fact at the end of the day your macros would look like this:
Calories: 1166 / Protein 89g/ Carbohydrates 154g/ Sugar 56g/ Fat 13g
That in my book is not a healthy balanced diet. I would be starving after that day. By comparison this is an example of how else to balance out those calories, in a way that will help repair your muscles after a work out, and keep your brain and body healthy and happy.
Breakfast- 150g fage 0% total yogurt with 10g peanut butter and waldens farm caramel sauce
Lunch- 70g Quinoa, grilled chicken breast, 1/2 avocado
Afternoon Snack – Cookies and cream quest bar
Dinner – 150g sweet potato mash, a turkey burger in a multiseed flatbread, with salad and broccoli.
Calories: 1176 / Protein 124g/ Carbohydrates 75g/ Sugar 28g/ Fat 37g
The fat may be a lot higher in my example day, but it is healthy fats, which are good for your body not saturated fats which will cause you to BE fat. The protein is also based on an active lifestyle so you would want to adapt that if you aren’t training.
What does our body do with Proteins, fats, sugar and carbs?
Proteins: Build and repair muscles so are essential if you are doing exercise. They are also essential for your hair and nails, so eating more protein is a good thing.
Healthy fats: Store energy, insulate us, and protect our organs…sounds ok right.
Sugar: Excess refined sugar will force your liver to hold extra stores of glycogen, this glycogen when not used up gets converted to fatty acids and deposited around inactive parts of the body. I’m talking muffin tops and inner thighs.
Carbohydrates: Are a source of energy that fuel not only our workouts, but our brain too. So please don’t cut them out of your diet completely.
I hope I haven’t put anyone off their yogurt reading this. By all means eat these diet foods if you feel that works for you, but be aware of the sugar content in these things as that is the real hidden devil that is stunting your weight loss. By changing the foods your eating, and if I do say so myself making far more satisfying meals, you can cut down that nasty sugar intake by half.
Clever meal planning is clever dieting. No quick fixes, no easy way out.