If you’ve suddenly stopped losing weight despite eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, it’s possible you could still be making a few unsuspecting diet mistakes. Foods that are generally viewed as healthy or non-threatening such as rice cakes, granola bars, and diet soda could actually be impeding your progress and causing your weight-loss plateau. Fortunately, scaling back on these foods or avoiding them altogether often helps people get back on track immediately.
Have you recently stopped making weight-loss progress? Here are six foods that may be stalling your weight loss.
Drinking more than five cups of coffee per day can lead to increased storage of belly fat and a higher risk for type two diabetes, according to a 2013 Australian study. Coffee can also trigger an imbalance in good gut bacteria and cause bloating — especially in those who suffer from candida. If you’re a heavy coffee drinker, limit your intake to fewer than five cups daily, and consider switching to green tea, which offers positive benefits for weight loss.
A diet high in sodium can lead to consistent water retention and bloating, and prevent you from slimming down. Over 75 percent of sodium in the average American’s diet comes from sodium found in processed foods like frozen dinners, boxed meals, and canned soups. Many low-fat and fat-free meals are also high in sodium. Quit eating processed foods, and stick to eating fresh, whole foods seasoned with Himalayan salt, which actually helps your body maintain good fluid balance.
Most dairy products contain lactose, which is a milk sugar that spikes the body’s insulin levels. Dairy products are also highly acidic, and can lead to inflammation if you don’t eat the amount of alkaline foods needed to balance your gut’s acidity level. Reduce your intake of dairy products like cow’s milk, cheese, and butter, and eat more alkaline foods like leafy greens, beans, and fruits.
4. Low-fat and fat-free foods
Processed foods with labels including the words “light,” “low-fat,” and “fat-free” are stripped of healthy fats and natural sugars, and packed with sodium and a number of additives to make up for lost flavor. Sometimes sugar is replaced with high-fructose corn syrup, which can cause more weight gain than real, natural sugar. Stop consuming these fat-free foods, and stick to eating foods that contain natural ingredients and no preservatives or additives.
5. Artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners contain zero calories, which many interpret as meaning zero harm in regards to their health. Artificial sweeteners may seem like healthy counterparts to regular sugar, but they negatively interfere with the way the body metabolizes sugar — leading to weight gain and overeating. Replace artificial sweeteners with natural sweeteners such as raw honey, Stevia, and maple syrup.
6. Dried fruit
Dried fruits such as those found in trail mix may seem like healthy midday snacks, but are often packed with added sugar. While dried fruits may be packed with fiber and antioxidants, you’re better off consuming fresh fruits to avoid excess sugar intake. If you insist on eating dried fruit in moderation, read the ingredients labels to make sure it contains real sugar only, and not harmful additives or preservatives.
A healthy weight-loss diet generally consists of a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, organic meats, seeds, legumes, fish, and whole grains. If you’ve hit a weight-loss plateau and aren’t sure whether certain foods in your diet are the root cause, talk to your doctor about developing a healthy meal plan that works best for you.
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