6 Nigerian Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

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Losing weight can seem nearly impossible at times, especially when you’re surrounded by people who are happily enjoying their favorite Nigerian dishes. If you’re trying to lose weight and would like to understand the right and wrong ways to do it, pay close attention to these five Nigerian foods that you should avoid if you want to maintain your fitness goals.

1) White Bread

The empty carbohydrates in white bread can cause blood sugar to fluctuate wildly, which makes it harder for you to lose weight. Look for a whole grain alternative and add lots of fresh vegetables and lean meats or protein when you make your sandwiches. This way, you’ll have better control over your blood sugar levels and less likelihood of cravings between meals. You might even be able to safely include some kind of sweet topping on your sandwich again. Yes, occasionally sweets are fine as long as they’re not loaded with sugar, ask your doctor what he thinks is best for you! Good luck!

2) Soda 

Most soda contains high fructose corn syrup and other preservatives. These ingredients are bad for your waistline and can cause a variety of health problems in addition to contributing to weight gain. If you’re going to drink soda, drink diet instead of regular. It has no calories, but it will still give you that sweet fix you need without all of those nasty chemicals. You should also try buying sparkling water at restaurants instead of a soda.  This is similar to drinking regular water with small bubbles on top, which means it tastes delicious. The bubbles also help trick your mind into thinking you’re drinking something fun, which means you may actually start liking water!

3) Pastries 

They say there’s a place for everything. And if you’re saying, That doesn’t sound healthy, we hear you. But hear us out: There is a time and place for some of these high-calorie, high-fat items. Our advice? Eat them in moderation, not as an everyday staple and they won’t stand in your way of losing weight. Plus, most often than not, less processed food = more nutrients. Yay!

4) Cassava Fufu

This staple food in Nigeria is made by grating cassava and mixing it with water to create a paste. You would be surprised how filling fufu can be. A major drawback of eating it all day, however, is that its high starch content makes you gain weight really fast. Another disadvantage of eating too much fufu is that it will increase your body’s production of insulin leading to diabetes and other blood sugar-related diseases like hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. The best way to enjoy your food while still losing weight is to eat smaller portions of it every now and then. Your waistline will thank you!

5) Beer 

If you love beer, don’t worry—you’re not alone. But if you drink your beer and want to lose weight, it’s a good idea to keep track of how many calories you consume each day. The issue with most beers is that they contain both carbs and alcohol in one fell swoop, which can put a damper on your diet if you don’t know how much you are drinking.  Be sure to check out healthy tips for healthy portion control. And have some water nearby when enjoying that cold brew! Beer can also cause dehydration; so drink up!

6) Garri

The favorite food of many Nigerians and very hard-to-resist snack food, garri is high in calories, carbohydrates, and sugar. Eat sparingly or avoid it if you’re trying to drop pounds. There are healthier options like brown rice or potato chips, for your soups you can also opt for plantain flour or wheat.

Finally

After taking a closer look at your grocery list, be sure that you’re not buying anything too high in sodium or sugar. It might seem like common sense, but it can help you make better choices as you’re standing there in front of three different kinds of cereal. Ideally, you should read all food labels when shopping for healthy foods and limit yourself to whole grains (like quinoa) and lean proteins (like beans). Most weight loss experts will tell you to eat smaller portions but that doesn’t mean starving yourself, so fill up on fibrous vegetables instead of snacks and don’t feel guilty when eating them. Pay attention to foods that have fiber because they help keep you feeling full longer. Soluble fiber (found in oats) attracts water as it moves through your intestines, forming a gel that may slow digestion. You should also try not to eat more than one serving per meal. For example, if you want two slices of bread with your scrambled eggs instead of three, go for it! That will save a lot of extra calories and saturated fat that could offset any weight loss benefits. Just remember, what goes in must come out!

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