Cut Junk Food To Lose Weight

Reducing or outright eliminating junk food is one of the most useful diet tips you can follow for healthier eating habits and to lose weight long-term.

What Constitutes Junk Food?

Junk food typically refers to highly processed foods that offer little to no nutritional return for the calories, which are called “empty calories.” Most junk foods are purchased from fast food restaurants and street carts or are packaged foods in stores. Fried foods, baked goods and processed candies, snacks and desserts are generally included in the junk food category.

Why are Empty Calories Bad?

Ideally, you should eat calories that provide vitamins and nutrients. These allow your body to get the most out of everything you eat. Empty calories that offer no additional nutrients tend to be quick-burning. For instance, consuming large amounts of sugar can give you a temporary burst of energy called a “sugar rush.” A “sugar crash” often follows shortly thereafter, as your body scrambles to maintain that level of energy without the ingredients to do so.

Your body needs more than calories to function. Eating junk food instead of healthy foods prevents your body from receiving the vitamins and nutrients needed to keep all bodily functions running smoothly. Eating junk food in addition to the nutritional requirements typically means you’re consuming far more calories than your body needs, which can lead to weight gain and obesity.

What Should I Avoid and What Should I Eat?

The fewer processed foods you consume, the more likely you are to get the nutrients your body needs for weight loss and healthy maintenance. Avoid packaged foods that have high amounts of carbohydrates and fats listed but little else. Sugar, fat and oil are often added to foods to enhance flavors, but when eaten too often, these can cause weight gain and health issues.

Pay special attention to beverages as a simple method of how to lose weight. We often forget that drinks have calories, too. Juice, alcohol and sports drinks can have a surprising number of calories–and no nutritional value.

The fewer ingredients used in the production of a food, the less likely it is to contain empty calories. Some general substitute suggestions include the following:

  • Canned fruit in water instead of juice eliminates unnecessary sugars.
  • Purchase canned tuna, crab and salmon in water instead of oil.
  • Reduced-fat and fat-free milk lack the sugar and fat of whole milk.
  • Tea sweetened with honey instead of sugar has more nutritional value.
  • Unsweetened applesauce with cinnamon lacks the sugar content of sweetened applesauce.

Don’t feel like you have to completely quit the foods you love, as you can eat carbohydrates and still lose weight.