YOUR DIET’S WORST ENEMIES

You know, you know–that daily bagel and cream cheese habit will have to go if you want to eat healthier and lose weight. Same for mindless chips-munching on the couch. But what else might be holding you back from reaching your weight loss goals?
We tapped four registered dietitians to find out what items they’d recommend as the first to go on the diet chopping block–and some might surprise you. Though there is a consensus on eliminating some items completely–buh-bye, soda–nearly all of our experts say they believe in a balanced approach that focuses on drastically cutting back on the bad guys, while adding more whole, natural foods in their place.

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1. SODA

The first on our list is perhaps the most obvious culprit, but despite numerous studies backing up the negative effects both diet and regular soda have on your body, our pros say it’s shocking how much of it people drink. “This is not a benign food!” says Carissa Bealert, RD and co-owner of Evolution Fitness Orlando. “Artificial sweeteners and aspartame in diet soda in particular can mess with our body’s regulatory system. Plus, soda doesn’t nourish you. It doesn’t give your body anything at all.” In addition to excess calories, studies have linked soda to tooth decay, headaches, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and decreased bone health. And despite its name, diet soda is no better: researchers at the University of Texas found that in the course of a decade, diet soda drinkers had a 70% greater waist circumference than non-drinkers. To quit a soda habit, Bealert suggests overloading your glass with ice. The soda will be diluted, and you can steadily wean yourself off. If you still need a little extra something, Bealert suggests zero-calorie sparkling water with natural flavors.

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