Reach your slimming goals by knowing what foods may be hindering your target, says nutritionist Louise Pyne
Fast-tracking your weight loss potential isn’t just about strengthening self-control to conquer pesky food cravings. You might have already tried cleaning up your diet, but seemingly innocent foods could be stalling your slimming goals, and even with the best intentions you can fall victim to diet saboteurs that could be detrimental to your long term aims. With so much choice and confusion surrounding nutrition, healthy eating can be a complete mindfield.Here we pinpoint some of the most common triggers that could be holding you back and reveal our smart strategies to beat the excess pounds.
Potatoes might be included on many a family’s dinner plate, but research published in the British Medical Journal revealed that eating the nation’s favourite veggie four times a week can increase the risk of blood pressure. It’s thought that this is a result of the high glycaemic index of the veg which raises blood sugar levels - which over the longhaul are a factor in the development of cardiovascular disease.
MAKE IT HEALTHY Spuds may have a high GI, but they are also a good source of vitamin C and potassium so eating them in moderation can offersome decent health benefits Jacket potatoes have a lower GI compared with boiled or mashed, so baking your spuds in their skins is the best way to preserve the fibrecontent and naturally lower the GI. Eating sources of fat and protein with them will further decrease it, so add a little knob of butter to your jacket potato and serve it with a piece of grilled chicken or fishto keep blood sugar levels steady.
Yoghurts are a snack time staple in most households, and while these flavour-fillepots are often marketed as low fat, they can be packed with alarming levels of hidden sugar and sweeteners which can contribute to weight gain and conditions such as diabetes type two in the long term. Some yoghurts easily contain over half of the advised 30g daily sugar limit. so it really is worth taking time to read those nutritional labels carefully.
MAKE IT HEALTHY Sugar aside, dairy products like yoghurt are a good source of bone-strengthening calcium – in fact a 100g pot of yoghurt provides roughly 125mg calcium, which is almost a fifthof your recommended 700mg daily intake. To reap the benefits,your best bet is avoiding flavouredyoghurts in favour of plain Greek yoghurt (it contains more protein than regular yoghurt and no added sugars), and liven it up with berries and seeds for a super-healthy naturally sweet snack.
Oranges are crammed with immunity-fightin vitamin C, but a glass of the fruity stuffcan contain as much sugar as a can of cola. Whereas eating a whole orange offersa big dose of fibre,in juice form the fibreis removed, turning the fruit into a concentrated sugar bomb, which overrides any of the major health benefits
MAKE IT HEALTHY Swap OJ for a homemade green smoothie. Smoothies retain the fibreof the fruit so they don’t spike blood sugar levels in the same way as juices. Blend together coconut water, spinach, one frozen banana and a handful of berries for an antioxidant-packed beverage.
Eating a bowl of muesli make seem like a sound way to start the day, but fillingup on the cereal firstthing could actually mess with your energy levels for day ahead. Pre-bought muesli that’s marketed as having a high fruit content is one of the worst offender as it contains dried fruit which is a concentrated form of sugar that immediately raises blood sugar levels.
MAKE IT HEALTHY Rustle up your own muesli so that you know exactly what you’re putting into your body. Combine rolled oats, nuts and seeds with a spoonful of melted coconut oil and honey. Lightly toast in the oven and serve with fresh fruit and milk for a super-healthy breakfast that will keep you feeling full for hours.
Alternatives to cow’s milk can be a useful option if you’re dairy intolerant, vegan or simply looking to vary your diet, but when it comes to choosing a dairy-free milk steer clear of rice milk as it contains little nutritional value. Rice milk is usually made from white grains which have been stripped of their nutritional properties. It’s also low in protein and has a high glycaemic index.
MAKE IT HEALTHY Look for a brown rice brand as brown rice has a higher fibrecontent as this lowers the overall GI. Alternatively sugar-free coconut, almond, oat and hemp milk varieties which have been nutritionally fortifiedwith calcium and vitamin D can also be good go-to choices.
Sports drinks can be an effectiv recovery aid after an intense workout, but unless you’ve been training for over 90 minutes it’s not really worth chugging one back. They contain high amounts of sugar which counteracts the calorie-burning benefitsof your workout.
MAKE IT HEALTHY Keeping hydrated is important, but for shorter, less intense workouts try recovering with a large glass of coconut water instead. The tropical fruit is rich in electrolytes like potassium and sodium which are lost through sweat.
Lauded as a good lunchtime replacement for sandwiches, sushi seems so healthy and low calorie, but in reality these bite-sized rolls are often high in fat, salt and sugar thanks to key ingredients like mayo, sodium and stodgy rice.
MAKE IT HEALTHY Choose items that are raw, steamed or grilled over fried like tuna or salmon sashimi and ditch white rice rolls for ones made with fibre-richbrown rice.
Louise Pyne is a registered nutritionist. Visit < target="_blank" a href="http://louisepynenutrition.com">louisepynenutrition.com for more info.