Figuring out the right weight loss diet for yourself can be difficult. We all know the importance of eating healthy, but sometimes we lose sight of what “healthy” actually means, especially with so many processed foods being branded as better-for-you when in reality they can actually be quite bad for you in the long run. Especially if you have a sensitive gut, certain foods can trigger digestive issues such as bloating, and may even lead to inflammation and serious health consequences over time—even the ones that may seem innocent.
To get down to the bottom of things and uncover one type of food you should steer clear of if you want to avoid issues like bloating and inflammation, we spoke to Dietitian Amy Lawson, owner of Thrive Nutrition RDN. She told us that, surprisingly, low-fat foods are some of the biggest culprits. Read on to learn why!
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If you’re trying to lose weight, you may be inclined to reach for “low-fat” alternatives to some of your favorite items at the grocery store. However, it’s important to remember that “low-fat” or “low-calorie” doesn’t always equal “healthy.” In fact, Lawson warns that foods labeled as low-fat may worsen issues like bloating and inflammation. That’s because they tend to be loaded with sugar. Sounds counter-productive, right?!
“Many times, with ‘low-fat’ items, the fat content is lower to reduce the overall calories of the product, but sugar is added in to make it taste better,” she explains. “The problem with this is that most consumers believe the product to be healthy because it says on the package ‘low-fat’ yet high intakes of sugar have been linked to chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, as well as heart disease.” Yikes!
Some of the biggest culprits include low-fat salad dressings, processed, low-calorie desserts, and more. At the end of the day, remember that any sort of process food is likely to take a toll on your body—even if it’s low in calories or seems like a healthy option, like granola bars and yogurts. Even sugar-free foods are a risk due to the fact that artificial sweeteners lead to gut issues. That’s why it’s always best to check the ingredients and choose whole foods whenever possible.
Lawson’s advice for a healthy diet? “Stick with whole foods, vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, lean meats and fish,” she says. “Try to stay away from ultra-processed foods such as soda, candy, chips, and fast-food as their high fat, high-sugar content can ramp up undesirable effects such as bloating and inflammation.” Noted!