There are no foods that directly make us gain or lose body fat. Period. However, some really healthy foods can get in the way of fat loss.
Why – The main ingredients in hummus are chickpeas, olive oil and tahini (sesame seed paste). All of these foods are super healthy, right!? The reason hummus can be problematic is the following reasons:
Due to the tahini and olive oil, hummus is very high in fat. Fat is higher in energy than protein and carbohydrates.
Foods high in fat and salt are very palatable. We can eat a lot of these – FAST.
Hummus is not something we tend to portion. We pick at it freely, and before we know it, a whole pot is gone.
Does this mean I can’t eat hummus if I’m trying to lose weight?
Hell no! You can eat anything, but there are some steps you can take to ensure you don’t overindulge:
Portion it – Don’t pick mindlessly. Portion a heaped tablespoon as part of a snack or meal. Don’t eat straight from the pot.
Sides – Most people eat hummus with pitta. A small tweak of using wholemeal instead of white pitta will make a difference as it has more fibre. Remember, fibre fills us up! Even better, having it with vegetable crudites and some protein like chicken breast will ensure you are full and not want to head back for more. Remember, protein keeps us feeling full.
Nuts & nut butter
Why – As with Hummus, nuts are very high in healthy fats. The fats in nuts are super healthy and definitely can be part of a rounded diet. See below why they become problematic:
Nuts are mostly fat. Fat yields 9kcal/g, whereas protein and carbohydrate contain only 4kcal/g.
As with hummus, we generally pick at them and do not portion them. This leads to us overeating unknowingly.
Eating occasions. We often eat nuts when consuming alcohol. When we consume alcohol, we lose track of things.
Nut butter taste incredible! For this reason, it’s super easy to go heavy on the portioning.
Does this mean I can’t eat nuts if I’m trying to lose weight?
Of course not! But again, there are some habits you can integrate that will make it less likely to overeat these foods:
Pair nuts with protein and fibre. For example – Have a protein shake with an apple and a small handful of cashews.
Don’t overdo the portion sizes. Remember, all you need is one thumb-size portion.
Avocados are really good for us and packed with healthy fats, the same as the foods above. See below for some reasons why they can sometimes get in the way of really good results:
Avocados are mostly composed of fats. Fats are higher in calories. Therefore it’s easier to consume more energy.
They have been touted as “superfood”, and pretty much are a staple of any IG blogger or influencers feed. Therefore, we automatically think more is better.
There seems to be a common misconception (especially with vegans and vegetarians) that they contain protein. This is absolutely not the case.
We often go way too heavy on the portions. Have you ever tried to make smashed avocado on toast with a thumb-sized portion?? Impossible.
Does this mean I can’t eat avocados if I’m trying to lose weight?
I think you know the answer to this by now:
Portion sizes! Stick to smaller portions. Eat less often.
If you simply can’t live without a whole avocado, maybe pull back slightly on the carbs. This will shift your meal’s balance to a higher fat, lower carb (essentially cutting the calories from a different macronutrient).
By Matt McEntegart
Matt brings a wealth of experience from a background in professional sport, coaching, corporate nutrition and wellness. "I founded Holos because I believe that sustained engagement between the coach and client is needed to see real progress.
I felt the traditional, in-person models were a barrier to most people due to the price tag. I also didn't feel that there was a really easy end to end solution for intelligent coaches to connect with clients and offer a remote service that complimented their day to day in-person earnings.
I believe that good coaches can have huge positive impacts on their clients' lives and that we should be looking at ways to open this service up to more people. That's what Holos does".
In sideline to Holos, Matt is co-founder of ROAM Foods, an exciting nutrition startup that makes savoury high protein snack bars with the mission to make real food more accessible.