Eating empty calories is like that ex you know is no good. It’s complete trash! Not only do calorie-free foods have little or no nutritional value, but they make up your daily calorie allotment in just a few bites. You’ll want to do your best to avoid these foods if you’re trying to lose weight. While there are the usual suspects (processed foods like potato chips and candy that trigger inflammation), there are some unexpected offenders you might be snacking on that aren’t as healthy as they seem. If you are ready to upgrade your snacking game and eat something healthier, you are in the right place.
To learn more about these two surprising no-calorie snacks and healthy alternatives, we spoke with Mary Ellen Sabbat, registered dietitian, personal trainer, and founder of BodyDesigns by Mary. They said so fruit dessert And Whole grain crackers They are the worst “healthy” snacks for weight loss because they both make nutritional claims on their packaging but are often devoid of any actual nutritional value. Find out more below!
1. Fruit gum
While fruit gummies are often made with real fruit, the actual amount of fruit used is minimal at best. Sabat explains, “This means that a lot of the nutritional content of the fruit has been removed. Most snacks in the form of sweetness also contain added sugar, which is why they are considered calorie-free.” [snacks]. In addition, chewing gum is often processed and Contains added artificial flavors, colors and preservativeswhich also strips them of their nutritional value.”
Instead, she recommends choosing actual fresh fruits, because “the vitamins and minerals in fresh fruit can also help support healthy weight loss.” Yum! Specifically, blueberries can be a great fruit substitute. This bite-sized fruit is packed with antioxidants, high in soluble fiber, and low in calories and carbohydrates making it the perfect snack.
2. Whole grain crackers
While there are countless types of crackers on supermarket shelves, and probably in your cupboard (know which foods are high in unnecessary calories!) most don’t quite meet the criteria for optimal weight loss. Many crackers, such as salt or soda crackers, are high in sodium and offer no nutritional benefits. And although whole grain crackers claim to be nutritious and full of healthy fiber, Sabbat warns that they are equally harmful to weight loss.
“Whole grain crackers can be made with whole grain ingredients, but they are usually processed and higher in calories due to the added fat and sugar,” she says. They contain unhealthy additives such as salt and artificial flavors. Because of their high calorie content and lack of essential nutrients, whole grain crackers can be considered a zero-calorie food.”
Sabat suggests swapping out the whole-grain crackers for popcorn as a snap. “Popcorn is a whole grain, low in calories and fat, and high in fiber,” she explains. “Eating popcorn can help satisfy cravings without adding extra calories and can help you feel fuller for longer.” Who knows? Just make sure you don’t add excessive amounts of salt because salt can cause your body to retain more water, which can show up in your body as extra pounds. Sabat also warns against overindulging in popcorn. Three cups of popcorn only contain about 100 calories.
So, next time you’re about to grab fruit gum or whole grain crackers, just remember that these snacks are sneaky and full of empty calories. It will only lead to weight gain, no matter how tempting. Experts like Sabat say that these snacks can lead to consuming more calories than you need, which can lead to weight gain rather than loss. The calories you eat in fruits and whole grains can also replace food, giving you the nutrition your body actually needs to stay healthy. Try fresh fruit or unsalted popcorn instead. Your body will thank you!