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Included in these diets are foods that you may think would help you lose weight, but actually do not burn fat and can even increase caloric intake. For example, if a food is labeled “low fat” or “fat free” it is expected that it is good for you. However, this is not always true. Following are some examples of misleading “diet” foods.

DIET SODAS Many people think that diet sodas are better for you because they have different ingredients. However, some of these ingredients have been shown to be even unhealthier for you than regular sodas. Also, switching to diet sodas has not actually been proven to help you lose weight. It is better to cut out sodas all together or limit them to special occasions. Try H2O! Six to eight glasses a day are the ticket to help you feel full, aside from providing many other health benefits.

LOW FAT YOGURT The name “low fat” suggests that these yogurts aid in weight loss more than regular yogurts. However, this is not entirely true. When these yogurts are made, taking out some of the fat content can reduce flavor. Therefore, more artificial sweeteners are added to these yogurts, which can make them unhealthier. Also, it has been shown that people who know something is “low fat” can be more likely to eat more of that product. This could cause the person to eat more calories than they would if they had eaten a smaller amount of the regular product. Still, some low fat products can actually serve you well. Check in with a nutritionist or join a Weight Loss and Vitality, to learn about the best low fat products.

MARGARINE In the US, we love butter. We can cook anything in it and it adds that delicious, salty flavor. However, it has been shown that butter increases the calories of anything you cook with it. So, an alternative, margarine, was discovered. It is the same consistency and provides the same great taste as butter without the caloric intake. What could be better, right? Wrong. Margarine provides a lot of trans fats for the body, which can cause cardiac issues and other problems along with weight gain. Also, trans fats limit the body’s ability to burn fat by reacting against insulin. Try oils instead for less fat and greater health.

AGAVE SYRUP Agave syrup is meant to be a healthier syrup that replaces the sugary, highcaloric, but lovable regular syrup. What are pancakes without syrup? This is supposed to be a naturallysweet nectar that can enhance and sweeten your foods. However, this sweetening option increases fructose intake, which increases the risk for cardiac disease and can even slow down your metabolism. Therefore, it can cause you to gain more weight and experience more issues. Try honey. It’s healthier for you and not associated with weight gain.

FRUIT JUICE Many people think fruit juice is better for you than soda and can help you lose weight. Fruit is healthy, so fruit juice must be too. However, this is not entirely correct. First of all, drinking your fruit does not allow you to feel full and can increase your caloric intake. Also, juice takes away the natural, healthy sugars in fruit and requires a replacement with additive sugar. Thus, you are taking in more calories with fruit juice than you would be by just eating the fruit. Juicing, on the other hand, can be very beneficial.

GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS A lot of the population in the US has jumped on the gluten-free train. For some people, these options are healthier because they cannot digest the gluten or are even allergic to it. However, for those simply indulging in these items to lose weight could find that this method is not productive. Unfortunately, these foods make you feel less full than something that has gluten, while maintaining the same number of calories if not slightly less, so you will need to eat more in order to satisfy your hunger. Unless you have a disease that requires gluten free, stick to regular foods and the right low fat options to properly focus on your weight loss. In fact, adding more protein to your diet helps to stimulate the feeling of fullness to prevent overeating and to stick with the right portion size. FYI- the right portion size for your main meal portion is the size of the palm of your hand.

“HEALTHY” FROZEN MEALS Though low-calorie frozen meals can be better for you than the junk frozen meals, they are not beneficial in weight loss. To make these foods stay fresh, the makers must add a lot of preservatives and sodium. A high sodium intake will increase caloric intake and water intake. Therefore, eating them is counter-productive and can in fact increase weight gain. It is better to enjoy fresh foods than to quickly eat a “healthy” pre-prepared meal unless you are on a weight loss program, such as those offered at Weight Loss and Vitality. If you are trying to lose weight, remember to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, keep your intake consistent and spread throughout the day, and avoid fad diets. Eat every two to three hours, filling the in between meal times with healthy snacks, such as a fruit tray or vegetable tray. One thing is for certain, if you are interested in losing weight, you have to have a good goal. Seek out professional advice for the right regimen for you.

HIGH FIBER SNACK BARS Fiber is very good for you. It helps your body cleanse itself normally, provides energy, and can even make you feel full. However, in this case, too much of a good thing can harm you. Fiber is meant to be consumed consistently throughout the day. This will cause your body to react consistently throughout the day and function properly. However, eating fiber bars can cause stomachaches and even slow body functioning and even weight loss.

David J. Bauder, PA-C David Bauder, PA-C, is a certified physician assistant and the medical director at Weight Loss and Vitality in Alexandria, Virginia, and Washington, DC. He enjoys helping patients optimize their physical and mental health to improve their overall well-being. He earned his physician assistant degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Afterward, he gained admission into the reputable graduate program for physician assistant studies at the University of Nebraska Health Science Center in Omaha. David has over 25 years of experience working as a physician assistant. He’s practiced in podiatry, family medicine, emergency medicine, general surgery, urgent care, and functional medicine.

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