11 Surprising Foods That Can Make You Gain Weight Instead of Lose It

July 5, 2011 6:15 pm

It’s bikini season so many of us are opting out of our occasional indulgence of fried potato chips or chocolate cake, choosing healthier options instead —or so we think! Many foods that dieters eat can actually cause weight gain instead of weight loss. Make sure you’re noshing on the right foods to keep you feeling full, fit and healthy!

1. Granola
Filled with super healthy nuts and oats, granola gets a tasty twist when oil and sugar are added to make it crisp and sweet. It might seem healthy, but this faux diet friendly food is one you should definitely avoid! Many other cereals are way more healthy and weigh in with half the fat and sugar content as granola.

2. Dried fruit
This came as a shocker to me! As a frequent dried mango muncher, I was dismayed to learn that these wrinkly little fruits can have nearly four times as many calories as their fresh counterparts! Plus, many are loaded with sugar. If you’re craving fruit, stick with the fresh version instead….they’re just as sweet and way more healthy!

3. Juice
Many juices are loaded with carbohydrates, some with the equivalent of five slices of bread! Most of these carbs take the form of sugar — about twelve spoonfuls. When looking for fruit juices, make sure they list only fruit (not fruit concentrate) as the ingredients.

4. Bran Muffins
Because they’re made with oats and sometimes fruit, bran muffins look like they could be a healthy alternative to, say, a cupcake. But looks can be deceiving and these fatty culprits are filled with butter and sugar and are really no healthier than a slice of cake. You’re better off having some whole wheat toast with honey.

5. Half and Half
A little splash in your coffee may seem harmless, but be careful! Just a few spoonfuls ranks in at about 200 calories and nearly as much fat as a big pat of butter! Try soymilk for a low-fat way to make your coffee creamy and delicious.

6. Wraps
Many diet aficionados opt for a wrap instead of a sandwich. They’re making a grave decision though- many restaurant wraps spread out at nearly a foot in diameter, so you’re consuming way more carbohydrates than you would with two slices of whole wheat bread. Plus, with the added surface area you’re more likely to increase the amount of cheese, mayo or fattening sauces you add. Opt for bread for an overall healthier alternative to the giant tortilla.

7. Rice Cakes
Ah, the dreaded rice cake. These are a staple in many weight watchers pantries but the crunchy cakes are no where near healthy. Though they might be fat-free and low-cal, rice cakes are simply an empty calorie. With no fiber or protein to keep you feeling full, you’ll end up eating just as much later in the day, regardless of your rice cake snack. Try snacking on some wholegrain crackers with peanut butter for a filling alternative that’s also short on calorie content.

8. Sushi
A sushi night out with the girls seems like the perfect light dinner when you’re on a diet, right? Filled with veggies, protein rich fish, and seaweed, sushi gives the illusion of being a low cal-but-delicious dinner for dieters. But beware! These bite-size Japanese rolls can be loaded with fat and calories! Those yummy spicy sauces you like to douse your California roll in? LOADED with fattening mayo. The salty soy sauce that is a must-have at any sushi bar? SUPER high in sodium, which causes bloating. And watch out for tempura! This fried crunchy coating goes straight to your thighs! Instead, pick fresh sushis which aren’t fried, and use creamy sauces sparingly. Opt for a tuna roll with veggies and use a tiny bit of soy sauce for flavor. You’ll still be satisfied at the end of the meal!

9. Bottled Teas
Many teas are good for you, but the bottled kind if usually full of sugar (often times they have as much sugar as soda)! Limit your intake of bottled tea, or steep your own tea for a fresh drink.

10. Frozen Diet Dinners
Although these meals promise to be low in calories and fat, their health quotient is close to zero. To make up for the lack of fat, they’re packed with sodium which will cause you to bloat. Steam your own veggies and grill your own meat for a meal that’s fresh, healthy, and way more delicious!

11. Salad
Salads seem like the perfect meal for anyone looking to slim down for summer, but be cautious! Many dressings, even some vinaigrettes, are filled with fat. Make a salad with fresh lettuce and veggies, and add some olive oil and red wine vinegar — it’s just as yummy as the caloric pre-made dressings, but has way less fat!

Knowing where the hidden fats are in our foods is the first step toward a healthier, more fit lifestyle!