When you're trying to shift weight, you're faced with a minefield of diets and fads mixed in with good information and facts. It's hard to know what's good and what's bad all the time. We spoke to holistic health coach and nutritionist Kaya Peters to root out some of the foods people just don't know are bad for them.
1. Dates and dried fruit
At a whopping 282 calories per 100g, each of these little morsels can be a hidden calorie bomb.
Kaya says: 'In small amounts they can be very healthy, especially before workouts, but I don't recommend eating too much dried fruit as they can affect stable blood sugar levels. Dried cranberries and Goji berries are a safer option due to their sour properties.'
Be mindful, café-bought coffee can carry huge calorie implications, with additions like syrups, milk and sugar. A regular vanilla latte is about 221 calories. Instead, grab a long black with a dash of low fat milk.
Kaya says: 'Excessive caffeine intake can drain the kidneys and adrenals and cause hormonal imbalances, which add to weight gain. Green tea is a great alternative, with zero calories and much lower caffeine content.'
3. White bread
It's like cake, with no sugar. Really. One measly 100g piece of bread takes up around 350 calories of your daily intake. And to add to that, white bread has no real nutrients.
Kaya says: 'If you're really serious about fitness, try to cut out bread as much as possible, except for the occasional gluten-free or wheat-free slice. However, be careful with gluten-free products and always read the labels, as they're often full of sugar and additives. Whole rye bread is slightly sour and great for the heart and for maintaining healthy arteries. Wheat is an allergen for many people nowadays and cutting it out might have amazing benefits for your digestive health and energy levels.'
With around 112 calories in one glass of orange juice, you could be racking up the calories without even knowing it.
Kaya says: 'Fruit juices have high sugar content, and pre-packed ones often have syrups and artificial ingredients added. Instead, opt for veggie juice with green apple or berries. Juices are definitely not suitable for all body-types, so be mindful of how you feel when consuming raw juice and don't take health hypes as the ultimate truth.'
We're talking about salad toppers - some are good and some are very, very bad. It's always best to opt for basic ingredients. Take French dressing for example: 80 calories for just a teaspoon of the stuff! Try balsamic vinegar instead.
Kaya says: 'Make your own dressing by mixing some yoghurt, Italian herbs, apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Another great option is ginger juice, stevia drops, apple cider vinegar and lime. Stay away from store-bought dressings altogether.'
Nuts are a great source of healthy fats and protein but go easy on them because a cup of dry roasted unsalted cashews is a whopping 786 calories. Opt for the lower-calorie raw nuts and stick with a small portion - not more than half a cup.
Kaya says: 'Another great option for a mid-afternoon salty bite is having a handful of toasted pumpkin seeds with soy sauce or sea salt. Full of zinc and anti-oxidants and super satisfying, but less calories.'
A common misconception is that muffins are a healthy alternative. Store-bought muffins are full of sugar, fats and preservatives, and some contain around 415 calories each.
Kaya says: 'Muffins, cakes, cookies and other flour-based products are guaranteed to make you puffy and fluffy. Instead, bake your own cakes from almond flour and fruits, or have some figs and nuts if you crave something sweet.'