Since we are still in the middle of the summer and there may still be a number of people who have to go on holiday or who are leading up to the competition season, I think cut currently an interesting topic. More specifically, food to avoid when you are cutting!
Anyone who has been dry for a while knows that the first weeks of cutting are fairly easy, especially if you have just come out of a bulk. Sometimes you feel better mentally and physically than in a calorie surplus. However, after the first kilos of fat have disappeared and hormonal adjustments start to take place in the body, which makes you more and more hungry and food saturates less and less, it becomes more difficult. At this point it is good to take a closer look at your food choices. Foods that are very calorie-dense (many calories per unit weight) saturate less per calorie and will therefore satisfy hunger less.
To make cutting a bit easier for you, I want to discuss nutrition to avoid with you, precisely for this reason. In addition, I want to offer alternatives that are a better choice in such phases.
There is (almost) no right and wrong
Please note: I am not hereby saying that certain foods are by definition bad. Few foods are inherently bad, almost everything is context dependent. If you already eat a kilo of vegetables per day, more vegetables are not necessarily better. Water is good for you, but with too much you can get into a coma.
For the foods that I mention below, in my opinion (from a lot of experience coaching clients who want to lose weight) there are better / more sensible alternatives when things get harder. The choices for these foods may limit the chance of overeating. Not only because they fill better, but perhaps also because the saying 'you are what you eat' seems to have more foot in the ground than many people realize. New research seems to suggest that the bacteria in your gut can affect the foods you prefer to eat and vice versa. If you eat a lot of junk food, the bacteria that grow best on it may therefore cause more appetite for junk food, which in turn causes more of that kind of bacteria, etc. Of course, this also applies the other way around. Anyway, this might be something for another time, but at least it's something to think about!
Nutrition to avoid
1. Salty snacks
Or basically anything that you can eat directly from a bag that tastes great. Of course they are tasty, but there is years of research into creating the most perfect flavor combinations; the hungry you will not be able to cope with this once you start. Easiest solution? Just don't pick it up!
Do you want to eat something salty that comes close to this? Then choose popcorn or one high-protein snack.
2. Full dairy
I am the last to have anything against dairy, but during cutting it is wise to scrape liquid calories as much as possible; milk does indeed contain a lot of nutrients and proteins of very high quality, but the calories can increase rapidly. Foods that you have to chew saturated more and there are plenty of foods with high protein quality that are not liquid. If you really want milk in your diet, opt for half full, or lean if you can handle it. This also applies to full curd cheese compared to low-fat curd cheese.
3. Ice from trays or tubs
Despite all the light ice cream hype lately, I don't recommend eating a lot of ice while cutting, especially during the later stages. A tub of Ben & Jerry's contains most of your total daily intake and you can eat it empty without any effort, without filling it even slightly. And those light variants? Be honest, they are not nearly as tasty and often just diluted. In addition, such a light tub also goes through without effort. Something with portion control.
Prefer to choose prepacked water ice creams; when 1 runs out, it runs out. Just as with bags of chips open, it is difficult to stop eating or spooning before it is completely empty. So don't make it harder for yourself. Of course you can too make ice cream yourself that has much better nutritional values.
An even better alternative is itself a protein fluff to make; I was able to eat this literally to vomit during my prep, without it taking a huge dent in my calorie intake.
4. Soft candy & chocolate
Red Cadillacs, acid mats, Redband, Milka ..
All very tasty, but you chew them away and again the story about opening a package and serving control. Rather choose hard sweets to suck on (plus points if they are packed individually) or rather leave the sweets just for what it is.
5. Sugar-containing soft drinks
I can be very brief about this one; Drinking calories while cutting is definitely nutrition to avoid. A can of soda soon contains 130 kcal, while you can drink something like 30 cans of light soda for those calories. So, while cutting (or actually always), prefer light soda if you want to drink soda. Water is of course always ok. And no, aspartame is not a carcinogen.
6. Fruit juice
A glass of fresh orange juice for breakfast, great right? However, this brings us back to the story of liquid kcal. The same goes for apple juice. We can be very brief about this, rather choose the fruit in its original form. You have to chew on this, so it will take longer. In addition, fruit in any case contains more fiber than the juice variants.
7. Nuts (butter)
Nuts are very healthy and I definitely incorporate them into my own diet and that of my clients; however, you will need to be careful, since nuts contain a huge amount of calories per unit weight. They will therefore add up to your energy intake without saturating too much. The more fluid the food, the less satiety. For that reason, all nut butters and certainly also peanut butter (even though peanuts are not actually nuts) are not recommended during cutting, no matter how tasty they are. Be honest: Have you ever been in a peanut butter pot with a tablespoon? Can be very tasty, but very unwise in terms of kcal intake.
For your healthy fats, choose a piece of fish and if you eat nuts, eat the unsalted, unroasted / dry roasted version.
Make it a lot easier for yourself!
This is the list of foods to avoid that I notice from practice that it is wise to make these adjustments to your diet when cutting becomes a little more difficult. Of course there are many more things to come up with and if there are questions or need for a subsequent article on this topic, I can certainly devote an article to that, but try to apply these tips and let me know if it works or not!
Success in the coming period with cutting, shredding and strolling!
Jan Willem van der Klis