Guest post by:  Alexis Bonari 

Diet killers surround us. They come in the form of preprepared foods on our supermarket shelves and from our favorite restaurants. Choosing your food wisely can make or break your diet plans. Here are four of the worst offenders to guard against:

1. High fat extras.

It’s no secret that restaurants add high fat, high calorie ingredients to their food whenever they can. Adding fat is a cheap, easy way to make food taste better than it really is. High fat hamburger makes extra tasty hamburgers without any added seasoning. A salad loaded with cheese and cream based dressing is more cheaply prepared than a salad loaded with dried fruit, grilled shrimp, and quality balsamic vinaigrette.

Educate yourself about calorie counts in common foods. You’ll soon realize that many of your favorite foods can be modified to pack a lower calorie punch. A choice as simple as switching from a regular size cheeseburger to a small hamburger for lunch can reduce your daily intake by 300 calories.

2. Out of control portion sizes.

European and Asian countries are notorious for their rich foods. Why, then, do Americans and Australians have such a hard time controlling their weight? The answer is simple: portion sizes are out of control. It all started out quite innocently. We wanted more for our money, and restaurants obliged by giving us more, lower quality food. When ordering at a restaurant, consider eating half of the meal and taking the other half home for a future meal. This will save you money and inches on your waist.

3. False diet friends.

Not all diet foods are diet friendly. One great example of a false diet friend is turkey bacon. On the surface, turkey bacon seems like a great idea. The average package of turkey bacon cites boasts a calorie count half as high per serving as regular bacon.

Here’s where the catch comes in: the serving sizes on many brands of turkey bacon are half the serving sizes listed on packages of regular bacon. The total number of calories from fat is the same, ounce for ounce. The average consumer of bacon will eat the same amount or more of the turkey bacon, believing that they’re limiting their calories.

Before spending extra money on “diet” foods, be sure to read the label and compare portion sizes. Also, be on the lookout for cheap fillers and excessive levels of artificial sweeteners and salt.

4. Added sugars. 

Sugar is another go-to additive for food preparers wanting to make food more “tasty” for less money. McDonalds and other fast food chains habitually add sugar to their hamburger buns to improve their overall taste. Excessive levels of sugar wreak havoc with your metabolism. A high level of processed sugar causes your blood sugar to follow a roller coaster-like pattern. If your blood sugar peaks and then takes a nose-dive several times daily, your body guards against a potential impending famine by storing fat. Limiting processed sugars and eating small meals regularly will encourage your body to shed the pounds without starvation or excessive exercise.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching various online degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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