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Is Your Diet Making You Fat?

By Monica Ciociola
Click here for more great resources, tools and information from Team Beachbody to help you reach your health, fitness and lifestyle goals!

Most dieters know enough to empty their fridges and cupboards of irresistible temptations like Häagen-Dazs ice cream, brownies, and cinnamon rolls. But they're much more lenient about keeping fat-free, low-fat diet foods around, even stocking up on them. Admittedly, I wouldn't dare consume a single Mrs. Field's cookie when I'm on a diet but can somehow finish off an entire pint of low-fat frozen yogurt without any guilt.

  1. Fat Free Frozen YogurtFat-free frozen yogurt. Stocking up on fat-free frozen yogurt along with everything else labeled fat free will deprive your body of some of the essential fats it needs to lose weight. Worse, you might suffer from other symptoms of fat deficiency like irritable moods, dry hair, dry skin, and digestive problems. And just because it's "fat free" doesn't mean it's calorie free or lower in calories. In fact, its manufacturers may have compensated for the lack of fat by flavoring it with more sugar, which packs on the calories and the pounds.

  2. Healthy CerealsHealthy cereals. Just because a cereal is marketed as "healthy" or "smart" doesn't mean it's a good way to start your day. The best thing to do is ignore the marketing on the front of the box and check the nutrition facts on the side of the box. Select cereals with whole grains listed as the first ingredient: whole wheat, whole oats, or rye. Stay away from cereals that have sugar listed as the first ingredient.

  3. Diet SodasDiet soda. Like most people, you probably think, "Diet soda contains no calories or sugar, so I can drink as much as I want and lose weight, right?" Wrong. Diet sodas are loaded with artificial sweeteners that convince the brain that it's real sugar, so the body releases insulin to help metabolize the artificial sweetener. Since there's no real sugar present, the excess insulin performs its other task of signaling the body to store fat—not exactly great for your waistline.

  4. Protein BarsProtein bars. Bars are a great way to get the perfect balance of carbohydrates, fats, and high-quality proteins when you're on the go. However, if you're trying to lose weight, read the ingredients carefully because all health bars are not the same. Most don't contain enough protein and fiber, and instead contain too much sugar and trans fat, resembling candy bars much more than so-called "health bars." Aim for 18 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and nearly zero grams of saturated fats. To eliminate the guess work, Beachbody™ Nutritionals & Supplements meet all of these criteria.

  5. Salad ToppingsSalad. A bowl of plain mixed greens would be a healthy lunch choice, but not much fun. So we go ahead and add some croutons, cheese, and ranch dressing, and pretty soon we've created a salad dressed to kill. You should know that just two tablespoons of regular dressing adds more than 100 calories and 10 grams of fat, and on top of that, the cheese and croutons add another 100 to 200 calories and 10 grams of fat. To keep your salad healthy and guilt free, try dressing it with lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or no more than two tablespoons of low-fat dressing. You can add a small amount of healthy fats found in walnuts and almonds. And if it's your main course, try adding a small amount of protein from tuna, beans, chicken, or salmon.
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