Dieting can be tough. Keeping up with calorie counts, portion sizes, getting enough protein and all the rest can do your head in sometimes! That is where diet meals come in handy. These frozen meals are already portioned and typically include food that is fairly low in calories. With a variety of foods to choose from, it should be easy to stay on top of things. Unfortunately, there is more to those (admittedly clever) pre-packaged diet meals than meets the eye. While they are convenient and fast, they aren’t always the healthiest option. So what exactly is the problem with these meals?
Problem #1: You’re Not Getting Enough Calories
There is more to life than calories. Yes, even when you are trying to lose weight. When it comes to diet meals, they often have 300 calories or less. If you’re eating diet meals and only diet meals, that would put your daily well under where you should be. This may cause you to lose weight rather quickly but it will also put your body into starvation mode. It simply isn’t used to getting so few calories! How does your body react to this? By holding onto more fat than usual. It will cause you to lose water weight and muscle, but that can actually cause health problems.
Problem #2: All The Hidden Sugar and Sodium
The food in front of you may look healthy…. but that doesn’t mean it is actually full of nutrients. Many pre-packaged diet foods are frozen, which means they are typically processed and full of preservatives. They are harder for the body to break down, which contributes to weight loss. They are also often packed with sugar, sodium, fats, and so on. Each of these meals may be low in calories, but they can also be low on the essentials as well!
Problem #3: You Heat Them In The Microwave
Just like pre-packaged diet meals, your microwave is a convenient tool. In just a few minutes, your food is cooked and ready to go. But did you know that it could also take away nutritional value in food? It all has to do with the way microwaves warms up food, though friction heating. This heating method changes the molecular structure of the food, impacting the nutrient level.
Problem #4: You May Gain Back The Weight
Yet another problem with diet meals? The weight typically goes right back on once you stop eating them. It’s true! When you being re-introducing normal foods into your diet, your body will begin to store more fat. This happens because isn’t used to being out of starvation mode! This can cause you to put on weight or appear bloated… at least for a while.
Diet meals can be useful but they can also be problematic. Relying on pre-made processed food simply isn’t an appropriate long-term solution. So, rather than grab another frozen dinner, look for fresh foods with lots of fibre, protein, and essential nutrients. Your body (and your skinny jeans) will thank you for it.