It’s time to break out the swimsuit and that means diet season is upon us. Those concerned about their weight oftentimes scour the grocery aisles seeking fat-free/calorie-free items, protein bars to satisfy their hunger pangs and “healthy” fruit shakes as meal substitutes only to discover that the pounds are not melting away.
“While we all want to look our best for summer, those under the impression that they can craft their own diet plans oftentimes find themselves undermining their goals,” said board-certified bariatric surgeon Michael Russo, M.D. of Smart Dimensions in Fountain Valley.
Added colleague Mir B. Ali, M.D., “To avoid the pitfalls associated with self-dieting, Smart Dimensions warns patients that seemingly diet-friendly foods could play havoc with their waistline.”
Fruit Smoothies -- Often perceived as a meal substitute, smoothies can add an extra 500 to 600 calories per shake. In addition, these drinks can actually cause reactive hypoglycemia thus making one hungrier and prone to eating more.
Liquid Meal Replacements -- Essentially vitamin-enhanced milkshakes, liquid meal replacements such as Ensure and Boost were originally designed for those too sick to eat solid food. Packing an extra 250 to 350 calories per serving, daily intakes of these shakes can result in steady weight gain to the tune of one to two pounds per week.
Energy Bars -- Many so-called “energy” bars contain more than 400 calories and ten grams of fat per bar. Check the labels carefully and seek out bars that contain 10+ grams of protein and avoid using them as snacks. Fruit and low-fat yogurt are good low-calorie alternatives.
Fat-Free Snacks -- Many dieters see the words “fat free” on the label and eat with abandon. Many of these snacks, though, boast nearly the same number of calories as their fat-laden counterparts and contain higher amounts of sodium and sugar to make up for lost flavor. For a diet to be effective, such products are best avoided entirely.
Cereal -- Granola and whole grain cereals contain an unusually high number of calories despite their perceived health benefits. Opt for flaked, puffed, higher volume cereals instead and top with fresh fruit for added flavor.
Soup -- While canned soups can serve as a meal, dieters typically consume far more than the recommended 4 - 6 oz serving. (Most canned soups have 12 or 16 oz servings.) Dieters should avoid cream-based soups altogether as they can contain up to 20 grams of fat and 400 calories per can.
Eggs -- Jumbo and extra-large eggs contain up to 96 calories and 276 mg of cholesterol. Consider eating medium-sized eggs or use an egg substitute and reduce these numbers by one-third.
Cheese -- At nearly 100 calories per one-ounce slice, cheese is a very calorie-dense food. Exercise caution when adding cheese to sandwiches or as a topping to salads. If cheese is your one indulgence, consider using grated or crumbled lower-fat offerings such as feta, Colby, Parmesan or bleu cheeses for flavor.
“Dieters also must be on the lookout for hidden sugars, which manufacturers oftentimes disguise under a variety of other names like dextrose, fructose, corn syrup, sorbitol, fruit juice concentrate, galactose, lactose, polydextrose, mannitol, xylitol, malodextrin or turbinado,” continued Russo, who said that those suffering from diabetes must be especially diligent in eliminating excess sugar in their diet.
For more information, call (714) 861-4666 or visit www.smartdimensions.com.
Smart Dimensions is a full-service bariatric practice dedicated to offering patients a wide range of state-of-the-art weight-loss options and the support they need to maintain that loss. For those carrying100+ excess pounds, dieting is successful in only 1% of cases, so surgery is often an effective option. In addition to advanced surgeries like the gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, robotic sleeve and now VBLOC non-surgical options include the obalon, Reshape, orbera balloons, and medication augmented weight loss. The Smart Dimensions team also make sure that patients receive support and education, as well as weight-loss supplements and books so that they can maintain their newfound lean figures.