Committing to a healthy diet in order to lose weight can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re someone who loves to indulge in decadent meals that are loaded with less-than-healthy ingredients your taste buds love. However, if you want to shed some pounds, switching out unhealthy foods for more nutritious options is one of the best things you can do—and that starts by taking a look at the food in your very own home. In fact, some of the worst foods for your overall healthy may be right in your pantry.
To discover some of the worst pantry snacks you should cut out if you want to avoid belly fat, we spoke to nutritionists Trista Best from Balance One Supplements and Valeria Dolbel, founder of Beauty Diets. They told us about two you should think twice about adding to your cart next time you’re at the grocery store: Doritos and cookies.
1. Chips like Doritos
When it comes to the worst snacks for your overall health, Best says that chips are definitely somewhere at the top of the list—especially if you want to avoid weight gain. “They are often fried, made with inflammatory omega-6 oils, refined carbohydrates, and a combination of fat and carbs that cause oxidative stress in the body,” she explains.
And while there are tons of fattening chips that should be avoided, she tells us that “Doritos are one of the worst types of chips to consume, regardless of flavor.” As Best points out, “They are made with artificial colors and flavors along with refined carbs. This form of carb causes a rapid increase in glucose, which increases the body’s fat-storing rate.” Yikes!
In addition to all those carbs and artificial ingredients, another major downside to Doritos is the fact that they’re “easy to snack mindlessly due to their various flavors.” That makes it difficult to enjoy the chips in moderation, which, as we all know, is one important key to healthy eating. “When eating chips, if you must, it is best to opt for whole grain and baked options or to eat them pre portioned,” Best suggests.
2. Store-bought cookies
If you have a sweet tooth, you may typically opt for cookies over chips. Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), store-bought cookies aren’t a better option. Dolbel says that these treats, along with other sweets like pies and cakes, “are the food category that contributes the most calories accounted for added sugar intake yet provide little to no nutritional value.” When you overload on all those calories without getting anything substantial from the food, you put yourself at risk of weight gain: “Low fiber and highly refined grains increase the risk of weight gain and higher levels of belly fat,” Dolbel explains, adding that your favorite cookie likely “causes belly fat due to highly-processed ingredients such as butter, sugar, and refined flour.” Say it ain’t so!
Luckily, you don’t have to ignore your sweet tooth altogether just to avoid weight gain. There are plenty healthy yet sweet options out there. Dolbel recommends going with plain Greek yogurt and homemade granola, which can “aid in weight loss by controlling the portion size to ensure you will achieve all nutrients and keeps you full for a longer time.” Yum!
At the end of the day, achieving the body if your dreams is about more than cutting out a few snacks; you’ll have to maintain a healthy diet all around and put in the work during your workouts. However, if slimming down is your goal, it’s a good idea to avoid these foods as much as possible.