You'll find all kinds of foods at the supermarket that seem great for dieting because they're labeled "fat-free" or "light." But these items are actually loaded with other ingredients, such as added sugars or sodium, that aren't particularly diet friendly. "Those head-fake foods really get me angry because they don't help you," said Dr. Oz. Beware of these foods in particular:
•Flavored "light" yogurts. They may have little or no fat, but they can contain as much as 14 grams of added sugars, like high fructose corn syrup, per serving. If you're a little heavy to start with, eating sugar works against you because it prompts the body to store more than a third of those calories as fat. Instead, Dr. Oz recommends reaching for plain yogurt and sweetening it yourself with blueberries or honey. Go for Greek yogurt -- it has half the sugar and nearly twice the protein of regular plain yogurt.
•Fat-free foods. These sound ideal, but according to Dr. Oz, they're major diet traps. "Reducing the amount of unhealthy saturated and trans fats is a diet must," said Dr. Oz. "But when foods that are supposed to have fat in them are made fat free, like cookies or ice cream, they're also taste free. To make up for the lack of flavor, manufacturers add things like sugar, salt and starch, which are terrible for your diet." Besides, having some fat in your meals is better for losing weight. "Fat is much more satiating than sugar, so if you're not getting any fat, you may not feel full and that can lead to overeating," said Dr. Oz. "You're often better off having a small portion of the full-fat stuff.
•Juices. Fruit is good, so how can juice be bad? The problem with juice drinks is that they're full of added sugars, making them a big source of empty calories. And while 100 percent juice is better, it's still not ideal. "You get all of the sugar from the fruit, without the fiber to keep you feeling full," said Dr. Oz. One way to have your fruit and drink it, too, is to make a spritzer with seltzer water/club soda and a splash of your favorite juice for flavor.
•Frozen "diet" meals. Steer clear of these, said Dr. Oz, because they're often pumped full of preservatives and sodium, which can blow up our bellies like balloons. "Part of the reason you're dieting is to look good, so you want to avoid things that bloat you; otherwise, you're not going to look so hot," he said. "Plus, when you're bloated, you feel heavier." Rather than stock your freezer with packaged meals, make your own with fresh ingredients, then freeze them for the week. Winter is the perfect time for making chilis or stews. "These are very flexible dishes because you can put in whatever you've got in the fridge that you want to use before it spoils," he said.
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