Could ‘Diet’ Foods Be Making You Fat?

Do you find that the more you try to watch what you eat, the harder time you have losing weight? Are your cravings for sweet and salty foods making it difficult, if not impossible, to stay on your weight loss program?

If you’re anything like a majority of people who are on a diet, you fill your fridge and cupboards with low-fat and no-fat foods to help you lose weight. Sure, you also buy a decent amount of healthy fruits and veggies, along with quality proteins and complex carbs, but you also make sure you pick up a few ‘diet’ foods to enjoy along the way.

And, why not? There’s a healthy selection of products available to you. There are 100 calorie snack packs, reduced calorie frozen meals and low-fat desserts that are sure to tempt your palate.

So, the question is, if you’re eating all of these things, why are you still hungry all the time and not losing weight like you should?

It’s Not Your Fault

womens feet on weight scale

The good news is that your difficulty losing weight isn’t necessarily your fault. Yes, you are responsible for choosing healthy foods and not eating more than you need, but there may be some things going on that are making your weight loss efforts harder to reach than they have to be.

For example, when you eat foods made with artificial sweeteners (as most diet foods are), you set your blood sugar on the same roller coaster ride as when you eat regular sugar. First, you experience the good feelings you get when it spikes, but when it drops you feel all lethargic and are easily irritated.

Your body craves feeling good again and so it initiates a craving for more artificial sweetener. That’s why it’s often hard to stop eating low calorie sweets once you start. Think of it like a drug addict looking for their next fix. Essentially, you’re looking for your next fix of sweetness.

And, when you’re facing the intensity that some of these cravings create, of course it’s more difficult to lose weight. You’ve now got one more hurdle in your path that you need to jump in order to reach the finish line.

There are also issues with the salt that a lot of diet foods have. Salt interferes with your body’s natural ability to determine when you’ve eaten enough food to be satisfied. When you eat salty foods, then, you tend to eat more of them because your body isn’t registering when you’ve had enough.

That’s why a lot of bars and pubs put salty snacks on the table. You may just think they’re being nice to you, but actually they understand that the more salt you consume, the more food and beverages you’ll be purchasing.

In addition, what happens when you have too much sodium? You bloat, right? You start to retain water and before you know it, you can’t get your pants zipped up.

So, since most diet foods are made with artificial sweeteners and salt to make sure they taste good and last a long time, is it any wonder that you’ve found it hard to lose weight? Not at all.

How to Fix the Problem

dipped chocolate strawberries

Obviously the best advice would be to avoid these two substances, artificial sweeteners and sodium, to keep yourself off the weight loss craving roller coaster. But, since that isn’t realistic, there are things you can do to enjoy the foods you love but still meet your weight loss goals.

Here are some pointers:

  • Drink a lot of water. Not only does water fill you up which may deter a craving, but it also helps your body get rid of the excess sodium. While it may seem counterproductive to drink more water when you feel bloated, you actually need to put more water in your system for your body to be okay with letting some go.
  • Eat sweet treats with some form of protein. If you’re in the mood for something sweet and nothing will satisfy your sweet tooth other than that low-calorie diet treat, then go for it. Just make sure you eat it with a protein so that your blood sugar is more stabilized. That way you can enjoy your dessert without worrying about fighting cravings the rest of the day.
  • Buy low sodium products when you can. Because of the concerns with high blood pressure, a lot of manufacturers are making and selling low sodium versions of their best-selling diet products. Try to pick these over their full salt counterparts when you can so that you don’t take in more salt than you need. You’ll have an easier time determining when you’re full or not have to feel that horrible belly bloat.
  • Use diet foods to satisfy cravings, not hunger. There’s a difference between wanting to eat when you’re truly physically hungry and wanting to eat because you crave something that’s crunchy and salty or smooth and sweet. If you’re hungry, you’re better off with real food because it is going to fill you up quicker and be more nutritious in the process. However, if you’re having a craving that will only be satisfied with a crunchy, salty snack then that’s when it’s best to have your diet treat.
  • Watch your consumption of diet soda. Diet soda is often thought of as a weight loss dream but remember that it’s made with the same artificial sweeteners that diet food is. That means that it is prone to sending your blood sugar on those dreaded spikes and dips, starting the craving process. Maybe you’re better off having it only at meal times when your tummy is digesting other foods and nutrients as well.

So, does the diet industry set out to make you fail? Like anything else, you really can’t generalize because there are honest, genuine people out there that want to see you succeed at weight loss. But, there are also people out there that understand that the only way they’ll keep turning a profit is if you never reach your goal.

When it comes to losing weight, there is only one thing to remember. No one will ever look out for you as much as you do yourself. With that in mind, make sure you take care of your body and your health in the best way you see fit.

If something doesn’t work then you need to change it. It’s time to change what “diet” food is doing to you.

About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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