Looking at shaping up for summer? Slow and steady wins the race, but not all of us want our metabolisms to plod around like a tortoise, so we’ve asked the experts for the foods we should kick to the curb.
- Ditch fat-free milk
“Don’t choose fat-free alternatives of milks as they are usually enriched with sugar to cover the bland taste. Full fat is better because fat, even if it has more calories, is slowly digested and promotes satiety, and in my opinion tastes 100% better,” explains Francesca Cappozzo, Nutritionist at Maître of Thyme
- Forgo fruity yogurts
“The label might say ‘low fat fruit yogurt’ and so you would think it would help with controlling your weight, but the yogurt can contain up to 8 teaspoons of added refined sugar. Often sugar is the next ingredient after milk in highest amounts in the yogurt. This type of yogurt will be a high GI food causing your body to release more insulin to deal with the quick rise in blood sugar (blood glucose) and insulin is your fat storing hormone of the body,” explains Dr. Marilyn Glenville, author of Natural Alternatives To Sugar
- Prevent eating pre-packaged snacks
“Pre-packaged snacks are low in nutrition and high in easily digested carbs that can spike your blood sugar. Eat raw carrots and a handful of nuts as a snack instead,” suggests Dr Wendy Denning
- Check for chemicals
“Whenever you do your grocery shopping have a look at the label. You might find chemical names, such as sodium benzoate or monosodium glutamate. These substances are classified as additives and preservatives, defined as non-nutritive substances added intentionally to food, generally in small quantities to improve appearance, flavour, texture or storage properties. Amounts used in food are usually regulated by the law, although that doesn’t mean that they are harmless. Most of them create imbalances in our metabolism, so it is better to try and avoid them when possible,” suggests Francesca.
- Wipe out white breads made with white flour
“White breads and baked goods made with white flour such as pastries, pizza, and crumpets should be avoided. This is because they’re made from refined flour and so are quickly broken down into sugars and absorbed. In fact, some of them have a higher glycaemic index (meaning they raise blood sugar levels faster) than pure table sugar! They can be replaced with whole grain alternatives – or preferably, foods made from whole grains that have not been broken down into flour – such as oatcakes, dark German-style rye breads, porridge or simply cooked brown rice or quinoa,” explains Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.
- Skip tomato pasta sauce
“You would think that tomato sauce would be healthy as it is low in fat but unless you make it yourself it can also be high in added sugar. And you if you then pour this over white pasta, which in itself is a high glycaemic index food because it is a refined carbohydrate like the sugar then you have a double whammy on your weight gain,” explains Marilyn.
- Be cautious with condiments
“Go slow with condiments, it’s very easy to make a healthy meal much heavier by simply pouring too much dressing or oils,” explains Francesca.
- Move over muesli
“Muesli conjures up a picture of a healthy breakfast and is often accompanied in adverts in a beautiful alpine setting with trees, bright blue skies, clear lakes and clean air. But not all muesli’s are the same and as with anything you buy you need to read the label and not just go by the hype on the front of the packet. Many can be laden with high amounts of added sugar and salt and this can turn a healthy breakfast into an unhealthy one,” explains Marilyn.