When we take the first few steps toward a healthier diet there are always going to be initial slip-ups, whether that’s a cheeky midnight bowl of ice cream or an accidental bar of chocolate between lunch and dinner. However, we all know that these junk foods are clearly going to be high in calories and detrimental to our goal of losing fat thighs and burning belly fat.
But what about those foods that are less obvious? Have you even thought about the possibility that something you’re eating a lot of could in fact be contributing to your continued overweight situation?
The truth is, there are a lot of foods we eat that contain vast amounts of calories without us even realising, so this list is here to give you the heads up that all may not be as it seems…
It may come as a surprise given the healthy aura surrounding houmous, but the calorie count for a standard pot of houmous is exceptionally high. At around 544 calories in a standard supermarket pot, having a piece of toast or pitta bread with a teaspoon or two of houmous would come out at around 400-500 calories, which is a hefty amount if you’re aiming to eat at a calorie deficit.
My advice is therefore to look for the “reduced fat” option, which generally offers a similar taste but with a much more reasonable calorie content.
4. Frozen Yoghurt
Frozen yoghurt is always cited as the healthier alternative to ice cream, with advertising campaigns boasting about its 0% fat content, but is this the full story? Well, what they’re omitting is the sugar content of their yoghurt. You see, even though there’s no “fat”, there’s plenty of sugar in its place, and we know what that means… You guessed it, high calorie content!
Again, if you’re a frozen yoghurt fiend and you can’t live without it, just eat it in moderation and choose one that’s fresh fruit-based rather than chocolate coated.
3. “Sports”/Isotonic Drinks
Isotonic drinks are a little confusing to me. Granted, for an athlete training hardcore 3+ hours every day, there may be more of a need to replenish electrolytes lost during exercise, but drinking these after a light 1 hour gym session is definitely not a good move. Drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade and Lucozade are all high in sugar and consequently pack plenty of calories, so don’t be fooled by their “sports” branding. They’re essentially a Coca Cola in gym-friendly disguise.
If you’re hitting the gym hard and you’re looking for something to drink while you’re there, water is genuinely your best friend. No calories, so no detrimental effect on your diet regime. If you’re desperate for flavour, the occasional sugar-free cordial is acceptable, but I’d always recommend teaching yourself to enjoy water if you dislike it.
2. Pasta Sauce/Sauces in General
This is a perfect example of hidden calories dieters always forget to factor into their calorie count for the day. Although you might think that adding a tomato sauce to your spaghetti, ketchup to your potato or black bean sauce to your chicken won’t have much effect on your meal’s calories, you’d be wrong! These sauces can be okay, but some are dense with added sugar so can easily boost your meal up 100+ calories without you even realising it!
My advice for flavouring foods is to stop investing in bottled ready-made sauces and instead buying yourself some quality soy sauce, herbs, garlic, fresh tomatoes and a variety of onions. These natural flavour sources are much lower on the calorie scale (although the salt content of soy sauce is questionable, so watch how much you use) and provide you with added nutrients rather than added sugar.
Alcohol is an unusual one and pretty unexpected for most. The general consensus seems to be that beer makes you fat, wine less so and spirits are no doubt pinpointed as the least calorie-dense when mixed with diet sodas. However, the truth is that all three of these alcohol sources are calorie dense, so when you just have “a few drinks”, you can easily be consuming well in excess of 300 calories.
The solution here is clearly to limit the frequency and amount that you drink if your goal is weight loss, because those stubborn fat thighs don’t mind where they get their calories from to sustain their chubbiness!