"Biggest Loser" stars talk health foods vs. diet killers

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Amanda Arlauskas and Mark Pinhasovich are really close friends. Both were contestants on NBC's hit reality television series, "The Biggest Loser". In the show, contestants compete to lose the highest percentage of weight over several months. Amanda lost 87 pounds and Mark lost 213 pounds.

What they learned about food was eye-opening. On lesson was that certain foods that they once thought were healthy, actually contributed to their weight gain.

Arlauskas says, "So what Mark and I've done, we have compiled a list of 5 so-called health foods that really aren't that healthy."

First on the list, pretzels, people tend to prefer these over chips and other snacks.

Arlauskas says, "The truth about it is all refined white flour full of sodium, so if you are looking for that crunch, Kale chips are the way to go."

Next, the bars! Protein bars, granola bars, and health bars. They sound healthy, but...

Pinhasovich says, "Everyone would think granola bar or oat bar 'ooohh' it's so healthy, it's all natural. It has 360 calories in here, tons of sugar."

So if you are trying to make a healthy food choice, it is important to pay attention to the labels on the back, not on the front.

We all want to eat more fruit when we are trying to be healthy. So a popular snack, applesauce, should be a healthy choice for you. But, looks can be deceiving.

Arlauskas says, "The harsh reality is that your natural store bought applesauce has 3 times the sugar of an unsweetened applesauce."

So bottom line, most natural applesauce products and fruit cups are loaded with sugar. So make sure you get the kind without sugar, and if you need to, add a natural sweetener like stevia.

Cutting down on high calorie cuts of meat has many of us choosing sushi. But beware, Mark Pinhasovich says a roll of sushi can contain up to 800 calories. This is due to all of the white rice, crunch toppings and sauces. His alternative? Sashimi! He likes the fact the fact that the are only 2 ingredients, fish and rice. And he prefers the kind without the rice.

For breakfast, yogurt is a popular option. Be certain to check that label!

Arlauskas says, "When i'm in the grocery store, I always see people go for the fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, because they hear fruit and they hear yogurt and they think it is a great option." She says this is maybe 3 to 4 times the amount of sugar than a greek yogurt, no-fat, no-flavor, plain yogurt.

Sweeten that plain yogurt! Grab some stevia, throw in blueberries or strawberries and/or add a vanilla extract for a healthier vanilla yogurt.


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