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Weight Loss Dos And Don’ts: What’s In Your Grocery Cart?

Grocery cartI know it’s not politically correct to look at what other people buy at the grocery store, but as a physician I just can’t help noticing. Some carts contain huge containers of soda pop, Doritos, frozen pizza, and other packaged goods.

I’m not surprised, because at the end of every isle is a display case that offers the giant soda for 89 cents or the Doritos on special for $1.29. With this type of marketing, it takes a strong person to resist the “bargain.”

Yesterday the woman in front of me (overweight, middle-aged) had a strange assortment of goods that she probably thought would help her lose weight. She had several Weight Watcher-type meals, diet drinks, power bars, and lots of “light” items — “light butter,” “light crackers,” “light yogurt,” and “light ice cream.” 

Folks, this won’t work. Eating this way won’t help her lose weight. She needs to make dramatic changes to drop the pounds.

Recent research shows that sweet-tasting, low-calorie beverages may trigger cravings for more sweets. A study of rats showed that the animals who were fed saccharin yogurt ate more calories and got fatter than those who ate yogurt flavored with glucose. It doesn’t take long for our taste buds to stop craving sweet drinks and enjoy water. The first step is to cut out the diet drinks.

The “light” items are a joke. Cutting a few fat calories a day will not lead to weight loss. She needs to avoid those center isles that have cereal, crackers, frozen food, canned food, pasta and rice and shop the periphery. Fruit is the best snack and if you want to have a bowl of ice cream (once you are at ideal body weight), there’s no problem. But to get to ideal body weight, she will need to cut out the processed carbs, sugar, and packaged foods.

And let’s talk about “power bars.” Is 230 calories really a bargain? With 45g of carbohydrates and 20g of sugar, this is only useful if it’s eaten by itself as a meal or if you are an endurance athlete that needs a burst of carbs to finish the Tour de France.

Unfortunately people believe they are doing the right thing by shopping this way. Then they get frustrated with themselves when they don’t lose weight. Weight loss requires a major change in lifestyle, and it starts by avoiding the middle isles and ignoring the display cases at the grocery stores. Madison Avenue advertising is not our friend.

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

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