Lots of experts say it’s stupid to forbid yourself from eating certain foods — that denying yourself something you really want to eat can ultimately lead to binge eating and eventual weight gain. So dessert isn’t on this list — it’s OK to indulge sometimes! But some foods really do deserve the ax — especially if you are trying to lose weight. In which case, avoid these foods (when you can!) to fend off cravings and hunger, and support your efforts to slim down.
1. Any snack that only contains carbs
When you eat crackers, dry cereal, bread, or rice cakes alone, your body converts the carbs to simple sugars and sends it directly into your blood stream. In response to the sugar rush, your body produces extra insulin, which helps your body absorb the sugar ASAP. The problem: You end up with low blood sugar and the same hunger pangs that led you to carb it up in the first place. You then may be inclined to reach for sugary foods with no nutritional value to satisfy your need for instant energy, says Charlie Seltzer, M.D., a weight-loss specialist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Eat This Instead: Snacks that contain a combination of carbs, healthy fats, and protein. They take longer to digest, and will, therefore, tide you over for longer. (Another thing: When you treat snacks as balanced mini meals, they contribute to a balanced diet instead of just holding you over between meals.) Try a slice of bread with nut butter, or whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese, suggests Rachel Harvest, a registered dietitian affiliated with Tournesol Wellness in New York.