If you're dieting, either to get ready for a competition or just to shed a few pounds, then you need to know about these 12 common foods that are actually slowing down your progress. Although most of these are nutritious, they are not your best bets for ripping your midsection or shedding the maximal amount of body fat.
Pasta: While virtually a fat-free food, the 40 grams of carbs per cup can easily push your daily carb intake to a level that can prevent you from leaning out or losing weight. Try mixing a half cup of fiber rich vegetables with a half cup of whole grain pasta which helps keep the carb levels lower and allows you to feel fuller with the extra fiber that whole grains and vegetables provide.
White Rice: White rice is extremely refined and is rated as a high glycemic carbohydrate which fairly rapidly breaks down into glucose. High glycemic carbs stimulate the appetite, thus making you more hungry. Switch to brown or basmati rice which is a low glycemic carb and as with pasta, mix with high fiber vegetables to cut back on calories and fill you up more.
Bagels: A single small bagel yields approximately 40 grams of carbs and a large one can yield up to 75 grams. Though bagels are low in fat, their high carb content is something to consider when you are trying to limit carbs. For alternatives, try rye bread and oatmeal bread which are both the lowest glycemic breads, which means they stay with you longer and don't leave you feeling hungry.
Rice Cakes: While rice cakes are low in calories, they are very high on the glycemic index and do not fill you up or leave you feeling satisfied. They are like any other snack food and it can be hard to stop at just a few and it is very easy to eat the whole bag. Exercising restraint in the volume of food you eat is vital in losing weight. It is best to stay away from these empty calorie snacks and instead eat a snack that is in high fiber and low in calories that will leave you feeling full and satisfied.
Cream of Wheat: Cream of wheat is fast digesting high glycemic carb and shoots in and out the stomach without triggering a feeling of fullness or satiety. Oats, oatmeal, oat bran and cream of rye cereal are much slower digesting alternatives that quell the appetite and provide more sustained energy due to their significantly higher fiber content.
Cold Cereal: Most cold cereals are terrible weight loss foods as they are easy to overeat and provide absolutely no appetite support. Even the high fiber, no sugar cold cereals can pack a lot of carbs per bowl. If you can stick to eating a controlled portion, you'll do better with the high fiber hot cereal such as oatmeal, oat bran, and cream of rye.
Fruit juice: Unlike whole fruit, juices are devoid of fiber and take up little space in the stomach, which leaves you more hungry rather than satisfied. Fiber rich foods help keep the appetite under control, so opt for whole fruit instead of fruit juice. You'll be less hungry while you benefit from a greater fiber, vitamin and mineral content.
Dried Fruit: While you can benefit from an ample amount of whole fruits providing important vitamins, minerals and fiber, dried fruit is simply to dense in carbs and sugar to aid in weight loss or leaning out. At about 65 grams carbs per half cup, dried fruit is very high in calories and can easily be overeaten. Stick to low carb whole fruits such as peaches, plums, strawberries, and cantaloupe.
Ground Turkey: Turkey breast is extremely low in fat and calories, but on the other hand, ground turkey meat is usually a mix of darker meat and turkey skin which boosts the fat content upward of 14 grams per 6 oz serving. Ask the butcher to ground up turkey breast meat for you instead of buying it off the meat shelf.
Ground Beef: Stay away from the ground beef you find in the grocery store because it's much higher in fat than grinding your own select cuts. A single serving can yield as much as 26 grams of fat! Ask your butcher to grind up eye of round, round or flank steak as these are the cuts that are lowest in fat.
Deli Turkey Slices: Though low in fat, many deli-style breasts are filled with sugar and salt. Read labels, check ingredients and look for sliced turkey devoid of added sugar and low in sodium. As a rule of thumb, less expensive sliced turkey yields more sugar and salt than the pricey versions.
Alcohol: Alcohol is a sugar and has no nutritional value. It should be avoided at all costs when you are dieting. If you must consume, a small amount ( a small glass) of red wine daily is okay, but you must remember that it is calories and needs to be included in your daily calorie allowance.
Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals will keep your appetite under control and leave you feeling full and satisfied while consuming less calories. Stop sabotaging your weight loss diet and hard work in the gym and eliminate all unnecessary foods that only provide empty calories and no nutritional content. As your body becomes accustomed to a high fiber diet, you will no longer crave the high glycemic carbs and you will begin to lose weight by following a sensible weight loss exercise program and diet.