You can never have too much of a good thing – right? Well, actually, you can.
If you have a healthy diet based on real whole foods, but you’re still having trouble shifting some of those extra kilos, it could be a case of too much of a good thing. Even if you’re opting for healthy fats and sugars, those kilojoules still add up. So before you pop another almond into your mouth, check out our list of healthy foods below that could be making it hard for you to shift weight.
Dates are a natural source of sugar with a whole fleet of extra nutrients, like fibre, potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, K, and B. But like any natural source of sugar, dates are best consumed in small portions. One date can contain up to 280kJs and 16g of sugar. When you consider a teaspoon of refined sugar contains around 5 grams of sugar – a single date is like downing three teaspoons of the sweet stuff. So even though they’re a natural source of sugar, avoid popping dates like they’re grapes and be mindful of their sugar content when you add them to recipes.
Same goes for honey. As well as boasting natural anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties, honey contains traces of niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and vitamin B6. It’s more kilojoule dense than sugar, but it’s sweeter, so you don’t need as much of it for the same sweet hit. Stick to a teaspoon or two at a time to reap the benefits without impacting your waistline.
This creamy super food is high in fibre, full of vitamin K, C, E and B group vitamins and mono-unsaturated fat. And yes, while it’s true these fats can help to reduce our risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels when used in place of the saturated fats in our diet, a little really does go a long way. Skip the avocado smashie at your local cafe and opt to use this natural fat as you would other butters and oils: sparingly.
Yoghurt is a high-protein source of dairy, meaning it maintains bone health, helps build muscle mass, and can help you feel full for longer, reducing the need to snack between meals. Because of its effect on appetite, as well as its digestive benefits from good bacteria, yoghurt is often heralded as a great weight loss food. Yes and no. Again, its high-fat content means a little goes a long way. Opt for low-fat yoghurt or limit yourself to a dessertspoon or two of the full-fat variety on top of your muesli.
Nuts are a good source of dietary fibre and provide a wide range of essential nutrients, including B group vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, antioxidants and healthy omega-3 fats. But it’s easy to overeat them. Depending on what sort you fancy, nuts comprise 50-75% fat, and although they sport the good kind of fat, too many will still put a dampener on your bikini plans. Stick to a small handful of nuts each day.
Adored by celebrities and lauded for its ability to boost immunity, improve digestion, and beat cravings, coconut, and its list of subsidiary products – oil, water, milk, cream, flour, and sugar – have become the health food du jour. These claims are based on coconut’s high quota of lauric acid, a special type of fat linked to a stronger immune system and preventing insulin resistance. But like any kind of fat, you need to watch your portions sizes. Use coconut oil as you would with other cooking oils, and be mindful of the fat content of coconut milk and cream when making curries or sweet treats.