If you have read a few of my other posts or taken my meal planning course you know that I’m not a big fan of labeling foods in categories like “good” and “bad” or “healthy” and “unhealthy”.
What matters at the end of the day for both health and fitness are not individual foods but your diet as a whole.
Yes, a diet that contains mostly junk food and candy will usually lead to bad health and obesity, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat donuts or hamburgers every now and then.
This is also why I think the idea that there are foods that you have to exclude from your diet plan is stupid. That said I want to talk about a food category that does kind of fit the bill of a “bad” food and could be called a diet breaker.
The True Diet Breaker Foods
The foods I’m talking about include certain starches and sugars.
Now, don’t get me wrong!
I’m not anti-sugar or anti-starch and cutting these out from your diet won’t guarantee weight loss success, either.
What I’m trying to say is that there are certain foods that can ruin a diet even in small amounts, not because they are physiologically bad for you, but because some people cannot stop eating them once they have started.
Foods that fall into these categories are some sources of simple carbs like chocolate and certain starches like potato chips or sugary cereal.
Like I said before, these foods will not make you gain weight unless they also lead to a calorie surplus, but for some people even moderate amounts make them hungry for more of the same, which can ruin their diet.
Now that I explained the meaning behind my definition of diet breaker foods, what can you do to keep them from ruining your diet?
Identify Your Diet Breaker Foods
The first step is identifying your diet breakers and writing them down. They will be different from person to person and the ones I listed before are just a few examples.
Basically, you want to figure out if there are any foods out there that you know you won’t be able to resist once you have eaten just a tiny bit.
A good example for me personally would be doritos. Once I eat just a single chip I cannot stop and will probably finish the whole bag.
Sounds pretty scary I know, but I’m only human, too.
Working around my diet breakers helped me control my cravings and improve my dieting results.
How did I do this?
How To Correctly Exclude Diet Breakers From Your Diet
Basically, the next thing you want to do after having identified your diet breakers is to look at your meal plan and see how often they are included.
If you are just starting your diet you should either cut out that food entirely from your meal plan or limit its intake to 1 or 2 days.
This might sound drastic especially if you really like it, but keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you can never eat chocolate or chips again.
The interesting thing is that your cravings will decrease quite a bit when you lower your consumption of these foods. This works best when you eliminate them completely from your diet but eating them only once or twice per week also helps.
If you decide to keep them around the house, make sure to buy the small packages so even if you can’t control yourself anymore you will only have a little bit of this food for the grabbing.
Substitute Your Diet Breakers With The Right Alternatives
Next, you have to figure out what to do with the extra calories you just gained after taking out your diet breakers from your meal plan.
There are two ways to go about this. I will assume that your protein intake is already high because there is really no reason to have it low at any time. High protein diets start at around 0.8 gram per pound of bodyweight daily.
So assuming sufficient protein is already included in your meal plan you can either substitute the diet breakers with more carbs or more fat.
If you are currently following a high carb and low-fat diet your best bet will be to go with more fat, primarily unsaturated fats. These fats will not only be healthy for your, but they also balance hunger since fat slows down digestion.
But what should you do if you already have quite a bit of fat in your diet?
If diet breakers are just a minor inconvenience in your life then it usually doesn’t matter what you swap them with.
When you go for more carbs just make sure to choose quality complex carbs like whole grains, rice or potatoes. When you go for more fat focus on primarily unsaturated fats like nuts or olive oil.
But if diet breakers are a huge problem that you need to get out of the way before seeing any success, you will not only have to go with more fat but probably also want to reduce your total carbohydrate intake even more.
This will create a high-fat and low-carb diet, which does several things.
1. First, it categorically rules out most junk food which definitely helps with weight loss.
2. Next, it is better for people with low insulin sensitivity. People who fall into this category are usually overweight and don’t exercise.
3. And lastly, it further stabilizes hunger because of the high protein and fat content in the diet.
Now there are some drawbacks to this approach, which is why it’s not right for everyone. Some people, myself included, feel extremely week on such a diet and the low carbohydrate intake will also hurt your performance in the gym.
There are some solutions to these problems like targeted ketogenic diets, but the post would get too long if I went into these now.
So the way to go is trying it yourself. If you believe you might have low insulin sensitivity and diet breaker foods are more than a small inconvenience, try limiting not only those but your total carb intake.
For everyone else, especially people who regularly exercise, a moderate to high carb intake and a moderate fat intake will usually be best.
So in conclusion, diet breaker foods do exist, but they aren’t what most people think. They won’t magically make you gain weight but can mess up your diet simply because you cannot stop eating them once you had a tiny bit.
So the solution is to identify your diet breaker and then either substitute them with more quality fats or more quality carbs.
And that’s it.
With these tips your diet breakers will once again turn into what they were meant to be. Delicious treats instead of dangerous weight gainers.