Trying to lose weight? Did you swap out your snack drawer full of candy bars for health bars in an effort to eat healthier?
That’s a great start to losing weight, but don’t think simply swapping out junk for fitness food is the way to fix your weight problems. If you’re not careful, the reduced guilt from eating supposed “healthy food” might make you feel like you’re allowed to eat more food and exercise less.
A study conducted by the American Marketing Association found that slapping the word “fitness” on a product and marketing it as a health food may actually cause people to eat more and exercise less. The study had participants eat two different bags of trail mix, one labeled “fitness” and the other one “trail mix.”
To add to the fitness branding, the supposed healthier food had a picture of running shoes. Participants were told to rate the food and were allowed to exercise after eating it.
Overall, people who ate from the fitness bag tended to eat more and were less inclined to exercise after eating. According to the study, for these participants, the “fit” food became a sort of substitute for exercise.
While you may understand fitness food, your body won’t. Calories are still calories, whether the food is healthy or not.
Recently my cousin has been trying to lose weight. He’s taking all the right steps, buying more vegetables, switching out to whole grain pasta and eating less beef and more chicken.
The problem is he would cook a pot of whole grain pasta and then proceed to eat the entire pot during one meal instead of saving some of it for later. Whole or processed, pasta is still a ton of carbs that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
For weight loss, it’s all about moderation.
For example, Clif Bars are one of the most popular fitness bars. Aside from being a bit on the carb-heavy side, they’re generally considered good for you.
Say you replace your daily Snickers (250 cal) intake with a daily Clif Bar (250 cal). You will probably feel better both mentally and physically after eating it, but you’re still feeding your body the same calorie count.
If you continued your current diet and exercise routine and only changed the type of bar, you will still weigh the same. If you’re looking to lose weight though, you need to really look at the calorie count.
Due to the heavy carb content, Clif Bars aren’t a good choice for grabbing during an afternoon snack attack. (On the trail, where you’re constantly burning energy, this is a different story.) Try swapping out to a Kind bar, which has 200 calories and has less carbs, for your desk job munchies.
Another option is to buy a jar of nuts to keep around your desk. Nuts have a lot of protein and fat, which will leave you feeling fuller longer than a traditional health bar. But remember, a little goes a long way!
Eating healthier types of foods will leave you with more energy and feeling better, but don’t let that go to your head and think you can pig out on health food and skip the gym.