Foods You Should Limit on the Total Body Diet - dummies

Foods You Should Limit on the Total Body Diet

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

As much as the Total Body Diet is about adding healthy foods into your life, there are some foods that you should limit. Foods that are highly processed with too much salt, added sugar, and solid fat should not be eaten regularly. In this section, I look at foods and ingredients that should be limited because they aren’t doing your body any good or could be causing disease states to creep up.


Sugar is in numerous foods and beverages. Naturally occurring sugars are found in milk products (from lactose) and fruits (from fructose), but the sugar that you want to be on the lookout for is sugar that’s added during processing, preparation, or at the table. Sugars found naturally in foods are part of the food’s total package of nutrients and other healthful components. Check ingredient lists on food labels for sugar added during processing as it can add up to extra calories.

Here are some common names that sugar goes by on food labels:

  • Anhydrous dextrose

  • Brown sugar

  • Confectioner’s powdered sugar

  • Corn syrup

  • Corn syrup solids

  • Dextrin

  • Fructose

  • High-fructose corn syrup

  • Honey

  • Invert sugar

  • Lactose

  • Malt syrup

  • Maltose

  • Maple syrup

  • Molasses

  • Nectar

  • Raw sugar

  • Sucrose

  • Sugar

  • White granulated sugar

You aren’t getting any nutritional value — just empty calories — from added sugar, so limit the candy, cookies, cakes, as well as sugary cereals, premarinated meats, and sugary beverages like smoothies, sugary sodas, gourmet coffee drinks, and lemonade.


Protein is the hot nutrient today. Just peruse the grocery store aisles and you’ll see protein-fortified cereals, breads, pasta, juices, smoothies, and nutrition bars. But with all this protein, you could be overdoing it. Dairy products, as well as nuts, seeds, beans, and peas, contribute protein to the diet, too. If you get too much protein, it’ll be stored as excess calories and may cause weight gain over time.

How do you know how much protein you should be eat every day? According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, in general, adults need between 46 and 56 grams of protein per day. You can track how much protein you’re eating daily at SuperTracker.


Fat is important to get daily, especially the better-for-you fats — the unsaturated fat, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat. Decreasing the saturated fat and replacing it with the better-for-you fat is a big bonus for decreasing heart disease risk. Keep in mind, though, that portion still counts — heart-healthy or not. A couple of tablespoons a day is all you need, so space them out throughout the day.

Watch for the liquid oils that are made solid through a process called hydrogenation. There are two types of hydrogenated oils: fully hydrogenated oils, which are firmer and do not contain unhealthy trans fats like the semi-soft, partially hydrogenated oils, used in shortening and soft margarine. Check food labels and avoid these fats as much as you can.


Salt is one of the world’s oldest seasonings. Table salt is two minerals — sodium and chloride — which are needed to balance fluids (water) in the body. Sodium is an important mineral and electrolyte that is necessary for total body wellness. A little bit goes a long way, though!

Highly processed, packaged foods like baked goods, crackers, chips, cereals, and processed meats, such as salami, hot dogs, and bacon, are loaded with salt. Preparing foods yourself or looking for low-sodium or no-salt-added varieties can save you a lot of extra salt that your body does not need.

How much salt do you need every day? According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the average adult, without high blood pressure, should aim to get no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. If you have high blood pressure or are at risk for it, are African American, have chronic kidney disease or diabetes, and are age 51 or older, drop your sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day.

Salt can add up fast, if you aren’t watching it. Here’s what a daily dose looks like :

  • 2,300 mg of salt = 1 teaspoon

  • 1,500 mg of salt = 2⁄3 teaspoon

A great way to decrease the salt, but increase flavor is to use herbs and spices. Plus, herbs and spices are salt-free, calorie-free, and offer a robust aromatic element. Look for salt-free seasoning blends, too. Here are some fun culinary tips for using herbs and spices in the kitchen:

  • Toss fresh or dried basil and ginger into a vegetable omelet.

  • Shake garlic powder (no garlic salt) into popped popcorn.

  • Pop a sprig of fresh thyme into tomato soup or a chunky stew. Sprinkle dried thyme over pizza, scrambled eggs, or a tomato and cucumber salad.

  • Sprinkle fresh rosemary leaves into diced sweet potatoes with extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, paprika and a dash of salt for a deliciously aromatic side dish.

  • Stir a cinnamon stick into your coffee or hot chocolate. Sprinkle ground cinnamon over whole-grain toast and peanut butter.