Diet-Busting Foods That May Surprise You
There are many foods that seem like they're healthy but are actually loaded with calories and fat.
Salad dressings are notorious for sneaking loads of extra calories and fat onto what might seem like a healthy meal.
"Some studies show that women who are high salad eaters get up to 60% of their total fat each day from salad dressings," says Rick Hall, a registered dietitian and advisory board member for the Arizona Governor's Council on Health, Physical Fitness, and Sports.
Throw on a little cheese, croutons, and bacon bits, and your lunch is starting to look less healthy, more calorie packed, and detrimental to your diet.
Don't be fooled by the wrapping.
"Some breakfast bars look healthy and even have healthy looking pictures on the box," Hall tells WebMD. "But if you look at the actual calories and extra sugars in its ingredients, it's pretty high."
The telltale trick, explains Hall, is to see what's listed first on the ingredient list.
"When one of the first two or three ingredients is high-fructose corn syrup, that's something to be very cautious of," says Hall. "And that's what you see with a lot of the breakfast bars."
Dried Fruits and Granola
"Dried fruits don't contain any water, which makes them very dense in calories," says David Levitsky, PhD, who is a professor of nutrition and psychology at Cornell University.
Foods like raisins, dried apples, and apricots look healthy on the outside, but on the inside, they're secretly carrying more than their fair share of calories.
"A handful is OK," says Levitsky. "But if you sit down and eat the whole package thinking they're low-calorie, you're wrong."
The same goes for granola.
"Granola sounds great, but it's very rich in fat, so you have to watch how much you eat," says Levitsky.
Juice and Soda
"You might think it's just a drink, and not even notice the calories, but they add up," says Levitsky.
You have a juice midmorning, and a soda midafternoon, and next thing you know, you've consumed an extra 400 calories in liquids.
"Don't get carried away with the idea that drinks other than water are calorie-free," says Levitsky. "You have that extra snack or drink each day thinking it's not a lot, but you're not thinking about the long-term consequences."
"When these low-carb diets came out, people would look at a cake and see that it was labeled as no fat and low calorie, and they'd eat the whole thing," Levitsky tells WebMD.
Unfortunately, no fat and low calorie doesn't mean you can have your cake and eat the whole thing, too.
"At the end you have to be careful because they still contain calories," says Levitsky. "Low calorie does not mean no calorie."
"Nuts are generally healthy," says Levitsky. "They're a good source of protein and vitamins."
But the tricky thing about nuts is that they're only healthy if you can eat just one serving.
"The problem with peanuts is that most people don't eat half a cup and walk away," says Levitsky. "Once you get started it's hard to put a jar of peanuts down."
That's when your diet goes south.
"Nuts are extremely high in fat and calories," says Levitsky. "And if you're sitting there with a bag or jar of peanuts, look out."