The Fat Free Fad and 5 Foods That Aren’t as Healthy as You Think

August 13, 2013
by Michael Barber
The Fat Free Fad and 5 Foods That Aren’t as Healthy as You Think

There are so many fad diets promise weight loss in a short amount of time. The problem with many of these diets is caloric intake is often too low, fiber gets lost when juicing foods, and needed vitamins are slim. Here are five foods to skip when dieting.

Bran Muffins

Bran Muffins

"They" say we need bran and fiber in our diets, but the bran muffins found at the grocery store or a your local café, are not as healthy as you think. Cooking Light sampled some muffins in various restaurant and coffee chains and found some contained up to 350 calories.

Even worse is the size of these muffins, which are larger than the portions we might make at home. If you asked a family care doctor, they would probably tell you to avoid these oversized muffins or to eat only one-half in one sitting. As far as sodium goes, Cooking Light says some of the tested muffins had as much as 600mg of sodium and that's "one-third of a day's maximum."

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

All salads are healthy right? No, so says WebMD. Take the Caesar salad, for example. If you're on a 1,800 to 2,000 a day calorie diet, your total fat intake should be somewhere between 50 and 70 grams.

Some of these salads — even the smaller fare — have up to 400 calories in them and 30 grams of fat. Most likely it's due to the dressing and parmesan cheese. You can make your own, but be sure to skip the croutons, use only one tablespoon of fat-free dressing, and add just a sprinkle of cheese.

Smoothies

Smoothies

If you think all those smoothies you're drinking are helping you trim the pounds, WebMD says to skip these in restaurants and again, make your own. Even those that tout they contain berries can contain up to 80 grams of sugar and 350 — or more calories. Many restaurants use fruit concentrates instead of real fruit and add sorbet, ice-cream, or sweeteners as fillers.

Those smoothie fad diets that say 1,000 calories or less is all you need per day are sometimes dangerous. Never pick a fad diet that promotes less than 1,500 calories a day for men, and 1,200 or less for women, unless you're under a doctor's care. You certainly don't need a trip to the walk-in clinics for malnourishment!

Chicken Burritos

Chicken Burritos

Grilled chicken, what's better than that? Grilled chicken is a lean meat. Still, many chicken burritos contain beans, cheese, and sour cream and then there's that extra-large (typically bleached flour) tortilla. Tortillas are often thought to have fewer calories than sliced bread, however, most fast food tortillas have additives including sugar. The average burrito contains approximately 1,000 calories and a lot of saturated fat (cheese, sour cream).

Instead of a fast food or restaurant burrito, make your own and use grilled veggies and chicken, skip the sour cream, skimp on the rice, and put the ingredients in a smaller, corn or whole wheat tortilla. Add a table-spoon of fat-free cheese.

Two Percent Milk

Two Percent Milk

Again WebMD says to avoid two percent milk when dieting. Skim or nonfat milk is better. For example, two-percent milk has up to 130 calories, five grams of fat, and three grams of saturated fat. With skim or nonfat milk, you're only taking in 80 calories and there is zero fat and saturated fat.

Fad diets often include drinking liquids only such as grapefruit or other types of juices — even nonfat milk, but skipping nutrients our bodies need isn't a good idea. Often those on these liquid diets seek medical care now instead of later due to tiredness, anemia, and other shocks to the body created by these fad diets.

Instead of jumping into a fad diet, ask your doctor or nutritionist to give you a sample diet based on your age and weight. These diets will include all the nutrients your body needs and still help you lose weight — exercise is also highly recommended.