7 Ways to Blow Your Diet without Even Realizing It...

It's a New Year and you want to start working on a New You; you begin a new work out routine, and start on a new diet by eating turkey burgers and drinking diet soda, but are these things okay? I thought they were, but it seems that there are some things we might be doing that go against our new healthy outlook. The lovely Jen Gargotto from MsMorphosis, is guest blogging with us today to share the 7 Ways to Blow Your Diet Without Even Realizing It that she learned by doing a little research...
Are You Blowing Your Diet Unknowingly...

1. Counting Calories? That Turkey Burger Isn't Doing You Any Favors...

Thought replacing beef with turkey was smart? Yeah, so did I. Joke is on us. After some extensive research (i.e. looking at nutrition facts), it appears that lean ground beef often has less calories than ground turkey (and, in my opinion, a far better taste). So, the next time you’re at a restaurant and consider ordering the turkey burger over the beef burger, consider this: a four ounce turkey burger comes in at around 220 calories while a 95% lean beef burger is only 185. Whereas most restaurants won’t bother to use “lean” turkey, many will specify when they have lean cuts of meat. So, rather than just assuming the turkey is the smarter option, check the facts first. As ABC Newsreported in its “food fooler” diets special, “the leanness of a burger has less to do with the type of protein and more to do with the percentage of fat. A turkey burger can pack more fat and calories than a beef burger if the ground meat is made with a higher percentage of dark meat and animal fat. One 4-ounce turkey burger made with 85% lean meat can have 17 grams of fat.”

2. Artificial Sweeteners...

I know, from a taste and zero calorie standpoint, they’re amazing. Unfortunately, from a brain/weight/life expectancy standpoint they’re a disaster. I finally gave up my beloved Diet Mountain Dew and fro-yo thanks to a litany of research that scared my socks off, and now I’m learning that that decision, although brutal, might benefit my waistline. According to simplyshredded.com, a leading bodybuilding website, “synthetic sweeteners include sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol, which can hinder digestion, cause bloating and prevent fat burning.” This could help explain the staggering findings of Harvard Medical School professor and researcher Dr. Ravi Dhingra who found that drinking just one diet soda a day will increase your risk of becoming obese by 31%. That is an incredibly unfortunate statistic, but, now that we know, I suppose we can all amend our ways and go au naturel.

3. Low Vitamin Intake...

Researchers at Laval University in Canada found that women who supplement their diets with extra vitamins have lower appetites than those who don’t. This is probably because when a body is deficient in nutrients it will keep sending the brain hunger signals, hoping that more food will include the nutrients it’s missing. By keeping the body balanced and nourished with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and supplemented with an appropriate vitamin regime, you’re giving your body optimum chances to stay satiated without the extra calories.

4. Fruit...

Anyone with a history of dieting is likely to be confused by the roles fruit play in a weight loss regime. On the one hand, the new Weight Watchers Points Plus system has declared fruit a “zero point” food, making it seem harmless - or even beneficial - to weight loss. Nevertheless, fruit contains an extraordinary amount of carbohydrates and sugar, which is why it’s banned or limited in most low-carb regimes. Per usual, it seems to be an intuitive/best-judgement call: the sweet, often tropical fruits like bananas and pineapples are incredibly high in sugar, so it’s best to stick with the high-fiber, slightly more tart options like apples and peaches. Even when sticking with the less tropical varieties, it’s good to be aware of your total calories and sugar. So, Weight Watchers wisdom aside, if it tastes too good to be true, it probably is.

5. Tap Water & Toothpaste...

A lot of tap water (and toothpaste) has added fluoride, which benefits teeth but not diets. As the author of ‘The Thyroid Diet: Managing Your Metabolism for Lasting Weight Loss,’ Mary J Shomon, explains, “fluoride prevents your body from absorbing iodine, which you need for good thyroid health. If your thyroid is sluggish, your metabolism will be too - and you will gain weight.” You can take her quiz, “Is Your Thyroid Making You Fat?” hereto help determine if you, like an estimated 25 million Americans, are packing on pounds thanks to a sluggish thyroid. If you suspect this is you, there are a litany of options to help reduce speed up your thyroid and get it back on track.

6. Condiments...

We all know that we should be afraid of the creamy demons like mayo and ranch dressing. But what about some of the less dangerous-seeming toppings? The sad fact is that regular use of most condiments can accumulate to a considerable amount of calories. For instance, sugar in your morning coffee? 1 tablespoon is 46 calories. Mayo on your sandwich at lunch? Then another tablespoon of sugar in your iced tea? Tack another 100 calories onto that meal as well. Throw some BBQ sauce on that sub and add another 60 calories (plus insulin boosting sugars). Then, let’s say you put some dressing on your salad at dinner. Well, 3 tablespoons of Italian dressing racks in at a hearty 218 calories. Total, that’s 424 extra calories in one day. You could have a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit at McDonald’s for 420 calories. By drinking your drinks unsweetened, finding new, low-fat dressings, and replacing your mayo for mustard, you can lose almost a pound a week. Go figure.

7. Portion Sizes...

Portions portions portions. We all know that portion sizes have dramatically increased over the last 50 years. We also know that larger portions lead to more calories and larger waistlines. But the problem is, do we really know what a “serving” is anymore? WebMD has a super handy wallet-sized portion guide, with easy-to-use reference points based on everyday household items. How much lean meat should you eat? The same amount as a deck of cards. How much peanut butter? The size of a golf ball. Looking over this list I see a lot of things I eat too much of - and I definitely know what my New Years resolution is!

Jen Gargotto is the author of MsMorphosis.com, a self-improvement blog for modern women. She recently completed her first e-book,Navigating Dating: A Single Woman's Guide to Dating Without Losing Herself. She resides in Denver, Colorado, with her dog Bella.

Additional Sources:

- Everyday Health
- All About You
- Weight Loss on About.com
- McDonald’s Nutrition Facts

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