A health advocacy group recently released a list of foods earning the dubious distinction for “over-the-top” fat and sodium content. If you don’t want to gain weight the best advice is to avoid these diet sabotaging culinary culprits – but the good news is there are alternatives much lower in fat and calories that can actually help you achieve weight loss goals.
Instead of indulging in a Fried Cheese melt with four fried mozzarella sticks inside adding up to 1,260 calories, 21 grams of saturated fat and over 3,000 milligrams of sodium – a better choice would be low fat mozzarella with whole grain crackers or melted on a slice of wheat bread or whole grain flat bread with a little bit of tomato sauce if you want to make a pseudo low-cal pizza.
Rather than feeling stuffed from a Provolone Stuffed Meatballs with Fettucine dish adding up to 1,520 calories and 43 grams of saturated fat – you can opt for a slimming portion of Jerusalem artichoke or whole wheat pasta with ground white meat turkey meatballs and diced fresh tomatoes.
If you’ve got a craving for dessert but want a beach body, avoid that giant slice of Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake with a whopping 1,540 calories and 59 grams of saturated fat and pick up an on-the-go sweet guilt-free treat instead: Low cal Pure Protein bars that come in great tasting flavors like blueberry graham and chocolate chip only have about 2 grams of sugar and as much as 20 grams of protein. Ice cream lovers who don’t want love handles may also want to forsake a peanut butter and chocolate shake with 2,010 calories and 68 grams of saturated fat – and visit one of the neighborhood’s frozen yogurt shops instead. Supermarkets also carry the Skinny Cow line of ice cream treats that are low in fat and calories.
The good news for people who like to dine out is many restaurants have added “healthy selection” sections to their menus so you can have the choice to indulge or “avoid the bulge.”
If you find yourself unable to “just say no” to decadence, lack of will-power may not be entirely to blame. According to research by the National Academy of Sciences, fatty foods can actually be addictive. In the study, when rats were fed a high fat diet, the fat sent a signal to their brain triggering production of endocannabinoids – a substance similar to the active ingredient in marijuana which can stimulate a craving for more fat.
So to stick to a daily diet considered healthful for a typical person with 2,000 calories, no more than 20 grams of fat and below 1,500 milligrams of sodium, the best advice is to “gain knowledge” so you don’t gain unwanted weight. Read nutrition labels and use good judgment when ordering out – avoiding anything described as fried, creamy, sautéed or jumbo – opting instead for baked, broiled, steamed, hold the butter/sauce /dressing and bread basket. Many restaurants also provide nutritional information upon request.