Do you always look for fat-free or zero carb foods on the store shelves? Are you constantly skipping meals to cut calories? Or perhaps you're sipping on fruit juices all day long? These common clean eating mistakes might be the reason why you're not losing weight. Just because a food is healthy on its own, it doesn't mean it's good for fat loss. Plus, many seemingly foods are nothing but candy in disguise. Don’t worry - even the pros fall into this trap. Food manufacturers are getting more and more creative, so it can be hard to tell what's actually good and what's just marketing hype. To help you navigate the do’s and don’ts of good nutrition, we're going to describe the most common clean eating mistakes. Let's get into it!
Filling up on Diet Foods
Many people mistakenly believe that diet foods are a must for clean eating. Think again. "Clean" food is fresh food. Anything that's man made is not "clean." Let's take sweet potatoes, for instance. They're an excellent choice for those who want to eat clean. Sure, these starches do contain carbs, but those carbs are slowly released into your system and have little effect on blood sugar levels. Low-fat potato chips, on the other hand, come with a long ingredient list and skyrocket your blood sugar. They're loaded with synthetic flavors, hydrogenated oil, dextrose, salt, and chemicals. Do you really think that eating low-fat potato chips is better for your body than eating the real thing?
Not Reading the Labels
No matter what you're buying, always read the labels. It's not uncommon to see healthy foods like oatmeal that have a bunch of fillers. Some even contain sugar. Unless the label says 100% whole grain oats or 100% oats, move on. Most food manufacturers would do just about anything ti trick customers into buying their products. Thousands of foods that were otherwise healthy are now processed and packed with chemicals. A good example is whole bread. Contrary to popular belief, this food isn’t really that bad. If it's made from whole grains, it can be a decent source of carbs - especially after intense training. The problem is that most types of whole bread often contain mostly white flour. Check the label and you'll see that some brands have as much as 70% white flour and less than 30 percent rye, barley, or whole wheat flour. Not to mention the additives and preservatives!
Swapping Sugar for Artificial Sweeteners
Everyone knows that sugar causes weight gain and affects insulin response. What most dieters don’t realize is that sugar substitutes are even worse. Research
shows that artificial sweeteners cause us to eat more. These products increase hunger and cravings, alter the brain's reward system, and impair your body’s ability to process sugar. In the long run, they may increase your risk of diabetes, insulin resistance, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and hormonal disorders. Furthermore, artificial sweeteners have been linked to cancer and other health issues. Sucralose, for instance, is made by chlorinating sucrose. Chlorine displays potential toxicity
and promotes tumor growth. The only natural sweetener is stevia. Use it a replacement for sugar in coffee, tea, baked goods, and desserts. Beware that honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, and other so-called healthy foods are loaded with sugar.
Overindulging in Healthy Foods
Except for water, all foods and beverages provide calories. Unless you burn those calories, you'll eventually gain weight. A common mistake is assuming that healthy foods can be consumed in large amounts and at any time of the day. Pistachios, for example, have 691 calories per cup. Walnuts, almonds, and other nuts have a similar caloric value. It's quite easy to eat one cup or more while watching TV, so the calories add up. Good nutrition isn't just about choosing whole, natural foods. It also involves mindful eating. Whole foods can be just as bad for your health - and your waistline - when consumed in excess. If you’re serious about clean eating, watch your portions and don’t go overboard.
The juicing craze has taken the world by storm. Everyone is fasting with juices, or praising them as the ultimate weight loss aid. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Fruit juices
often have just as much sugar (in the form of fructose) as soda and energy drinks. Plus, they contain little or no fiber. When you’re drinking a big glass of orange juice, it’s like getting all the sugar from five or six oranges - minus the fiber. Would you normally eat that many fruits? A single glass of juice won’t do any harm. However, you drink one every day, don’t expect to get leaner. As a rule of thumb, always choose whole fruits and veggies over juices. You'll stay full longer, cut back on sugar, and get more nutrients in your diet. If you really love these beverages, at least opt for vegetable juices as they’re lower in calories and carbs.
Thinking of Clean Eating as a Diet
Clean eating is a lifestyle you commit to, not a diet. It's a way of living that promotes health and well-being. If you tell yourself that you’re going on a diet, you’ll eventually fail. No diet lasts forever. Clean eating, on the other hand, is something you can do for a lifetime. Perhaps you’re eating clean in order to lose weight. But why stop once you achieve your goal? If you do that, you’ll end up gaining the weight back and return to your old eating habits. Commit yourself to good nutrition. Sure, it’s no need to eat clean 24/7, but do it at least 70% of the time. Feel free to have a cheat meal once a week or twice a month. This way, you’ll keep the pounds off and stay healthy without giving up your favorite foods altogether. Better yet, tweak your recipes by swapping ingredients so they fit into your new lifestyle. Are you making any of these clean eating mistakes? What’s stopping you from reaching your fitness goals? Share your experience below!