"giet myths"That is the question!

These days it’s hard to figure out what’s safe to eat or drink diet foods without counting calories, starving yourself, giving up your favorite foods, or eating bland packaged foods.

In her new book Lose Weight Without Dieting or Working Out, Nutritionist and certified weight loss expert JJ Smith says you have to be really careful when shopping at the grocery store.

Why? Diet foods can make you fat.

“Many products,” she says, “are allowed to use the word ‘diet’, because they have some reduced amount of sugar or fat. But unless you look really carefully at all the ingredients, you won’t be able to identify all the hidden ones that can contribute to weight gain.”

She’s come up with a quick list of the reasons why anyone who is trying to slim down needs to avoid certain diet foods:

Sugar-free baked goods

Read the labels carefully! They can have the same or even more fat than the original recipes! You may also be fooled into eating so many because they were labeled as “diet” that you exceed your daily goals without even realizing it. Try graham crackers instead. They have less sugar than other cookies and very little fat, about 2 grams per serving.

Fat-free dressings

Most fat-free dressings are really higher in sugar, which basically just defeats the whole purpose of eating a fat free food. Read the label carefully. Select a reduced fat dressing that contains olive or canola oil that has 2 to 4 grams of fat per serving.

Diet Sodas

Contain artificial sweeteners that can cause health problems and have no nutritional value. When the body finds nothing recognizable as nutrition, it continues to crave something nutritional, which increases cravings and appetite. They can create food cravings for sweets. Drink water or green tea instead of diet soda.

Fruit Snacks

Don’t be fooled by packaging claims that say it is ‘made with real fruit or fruit juices’! They are packed with added sugars and artificial ingredients that have little or no nutritional value. Read the label and see the grams of sugars and the amount of carbohydrates and fat. Eat real fruit instead, which is rich in fiber, phytonutrients, and cancer fighting anti-oxidants!

High-protein Diet Bars (Power Bars) and Shakes

When the body receives a protein or power bar, it tries to break down the sugar and chemicals in it, but when they cannot be fully digested by the body, the excess ends up being stored in the body as fat. This excess can actually produce a weight gain instead of a weight loss. It’s better to eat a vegetable like avocado, which is healthier and high in protein.

Artificial Sweeteners

Those little yellow, pink and blue packages – the ‘sugar substitutes’ may have zero calories, but don’t be fooled. They increase appetite by sending false signals to the brain that sweet food is on the way, and when it never arrives, the brain never gives the signal that you are satisfied causing cravings for sweets. There’s research that shows that aspartame in particular, stimulates the release of insulin, which tells the body to store fat! Bottom line – they actually contribute to weight gain.

“The best alternative,” JJ says, “is to limit or avoid these foods! Drink more water and eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. You’ll feel better, lose more weight, and enjoy what you eat more too.”

JJ Smith is a nutritionist and certified weight-management specialist, passionate relationship/life coach, and inspirational speaker. She has been featured on The Montel Williams Show, The Jamie Foxx Show, and The Michael Baisden Show. JJ has made appearances on the NBC, FOX, CBS and CW Network television stations, as well as in the pages of Glamour, Essence, Heart and Soul, and Ladies Home Journal. JJ’s current work, Lose Weight: Without Dieting or Working Out!, is a revolutionary system that teaches proven methods for permanent weight loss that anyone can follow, no matter their size, income level, or educational level.  For more information visit: www.JJSmithOnline.com