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Weight loss doesn’t just happen overnight. And there is no magic pill that will burn calories for you. The reality of how successful weight loss works is a little more complicated than that. In fact, it takes a commitment to eating a healthy diet, and regular exercise to keep the pounds off. What if you learned that some of your favorite so-called “health” foods were actually diet saboteurs in disguise? It might make you re-think about what you’re eating. Right?

If you are working towards a weight loss goal, here are the five worst “health” foods you should avoid:

worst health foods | Activated You1. Protein Bars

You might think that food bars are a good way to get the balanced nutrition you need to achieve your weight loss goals. But you might be shocked to know that these ingredients can be found in some of the most popular brands of protein/energy bars on the market today: large amounts of sugar, artificial sweeteners, unhealthy fats (trans-fats), GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms), and even synthetic forms of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These are not things you want to be putting in your body to stay healthy.

Only purchase food bars at or under 200 calories, with about 15 grams of healthy fats, less than 15 grams of sugar, and at least 20 grams of protein for an ideal meal replacement.

worst health foods | Activated You

2. Weight Loss Smoothies

In order to lose weight and keep it off, you need to consume a range of different nutrients to keep all of your body’s systems running at optimal performance. This includes your metabolism, sleeping patterns, and even food cravings. That’s why it is so important to eat the recommended amount of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. (On the topic of eating fresh produce, aim for eating a rainbow of colors as each

One of the best ways to do that is to drink smoothies. They can contain anything, including leafy greens, beets, and even carrots. Seems ideal, doesn’t it? But what you may not know is that smoothies can actually cause you to gain weight. There are a number of reasons why, including the larger sizes of some smoothies, the loads of added sugars (sweeteners), and the astronomically high calorie count in the drinks. If you want your weight loss smoothie to actually help you reach your goals, you may want to start making your own at home, or just ask your favorite juice bar attendant and to skip the added juices and sweeteners. It can make a big difference in your weight loss.

worst health foods | Activated You

3. Bottled Beverages

If you have a weight loss goal, it is important to maintain balanced blood sugar levels. When you consume sugar, your body responds by releasing insulin from your pancreas. If you consume too much sugar, you may suffer from insulin spikes (high peaks) which signal to your brain to store more fat. And that is a fast way to sabotage your weight loss. Ideally, you want to only consume 10 percent or less of your daily calories from sugar (about 25 grams), per the new recommendation set forth by the World Health Organization.1

Some of the sneakiest sources of sugar are so-called “healthy” beverages, including fruit juices, sports drinks, and even bottled teas. Don’t believe it? Just one bottle of Gatorade contains over 30 grams of sugar. Check the labels of your favorite bottled beverages, and you’ll see that some of them contain as much sugar as a can of Coca-Cola (40 grams). Avoid these hidden sugar bombs at all costs.

worst health foods | Activated You

4. Low-Fat or Fat-Free Foods & Drinks

If you think that cutting back on fat can help you lose weight, you’re right. But what you may not know is that the low-fat label is actually one of the worst weight loss lies out there today. In fact, clinical studies have shown that artificial sweeteners, like those found in low-fat or fat-free foods, can actually worsen cravings for sweet foods and drinks, only making weight loss harder. In one study, researchers found that consuming artificial sweeteners only encouraged more sugar cravings and dependence on sweet foods and beverages.2

worst health foods | Activated You

5. Breakfast Cereals

Starting your day off with a healthy breakfast is an excellent way to jumpstart your weight loss. But some of your favorite so-called “healthy” cereals are actually loaded with sugar, only preparing you to crave more sugary foods all day long. So, skip the sugary breakfast cereals. You may have to check the ingredient list for the many, many names of sugar to be sure. They include caramel, dextrose, high fructose corn syrup, lactose, agave and honey … just to name a few.

You can achieve your weight loss goal, no matter how many pounds you want to lose. With a little bit of dedication, and a commitment to a healthy diet and regular exercise, you’ll be well on your way. Be sure, however, to always watch what you eat carefully, with plenty of veggies and fruits representing a rainbow of colors, and avoid these five worst foods for successful weight loss, at all costs.

For more articles about health and wellness, keep reading:

10 Surprising Facts About Your Gut Microflora

Top 10 Health Benefits of Steam Rooms and Saunas

1.”WHO Guideline : Sugar Consumption Recommendation”. World Health Organization. N.p., 2017. Web. 15 June 2017.

2. Yang, Qing. “Gain Weight By “Going Diet?” Artificial Sweeteners And The Neurobiology Of Sugar Cravings: Neuroscience 2010”. PubMed Central (PMC). N.p., 2017. Web. 15 June 2017.