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When you are trying to lose weight, it’s all about the calories–you must take in fewer than you expend or, in other words, create a caloric deficit. Unfortunately, many convenience foods masquerading as diet-friendly options are, in fact, fattening foods. Avoid these high-calorie diet disasters to keep the scale moving in the right direction.

Frozen Yogurt

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While full-fat ice cream consumption continues to decline, many still believe that frozen yogurt is a low-calorie option. While non-fat frozen yogurt contains less fat than ice cream, it is usually full of sugar and calories. In addition, many frozen yogurt varieties are low in calcium and protein.

Frozen Meals

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While the portion sizes of frozen entrees are usually modest, the caloric values may not be so modest. So, these meals will often leave you hungry for more, and many are also high in fat and sodium, making them a less healthful choice.

Popcorn

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Air-popped popcorn is a high-fiber, whole-grain, and low-calorie snack. However, store-bought oil-popped popcorn can be a diet disaster, full of fat, sodium, and calories. Even if you avoid the butter, you might be surprised how little that helps.

Jam and Preserves

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Perhaps you’ve decided to avoid topping your toast with butter to cut calories. Bravo! Just be careful if you are replacing that butter with jam or preserves. These are high in sugar and, on average, provide 50 calories in 1 tbsp.

Fruit Smoothies

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Fruit smoothies are popular “health” drinks, but, particularly if they are juice-based, are high in sugars and may contain hundreds of calories. Beware, particularly if you accompany a smoothie with a “real meal.”

Sugar-Free Candy

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Sugar-free hard candies are not calorie-free. A few pieces can easily cost you a hundred calories, without filling you up. Unfortunately, few things in life are “free.”

Flavored Waters

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While some of these bottled beverages are sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners and are calorie-free, others are not. One serving, or half a bottle, may cost you 50 calories. If you want to do something good for your health, flavor plain water with a fruit wedge or a cucumber slice.

Salads

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Salads are known for being diet-friendly. However, with toppings that range from croutons to shredded cheese to bacon bits–the calories can be higher than a fast-food sandwich, and that’s not even including the dressing.

Coffee Drinks

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You may feel virtuous ordering a “tall skim mocha,” but you may be mistaken. While skim milk is low in calories and a diet-friendly addition to coffee–many gourmet coffeehouse items are flavored with high-calorie syrups.

Tuna Salad

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Water-packed tuna is low in calories and high in protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Unfortunately, tuna salad has mayonnaise added to it. While you may think that a bit of mayonnaise won’t impact your diet, just keep in mind that 1 oz. has more than 100 calories.

Nuts and Nut Butters

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While nuts are nutrient-dense and provide healthy fats, they are also calorie-dense. Eating large quantities without considering portion sizes can lead to excess calories.

Granola

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Granola is often marketed as a healthy cereal or snack option. However, many commercial granolas can be high in added sugars and calories. It’s crucial to be mindful of portion sizes.

Dried Fruit

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Dried fruits are concentrated sources of natural sugars and calories. Eating too much can result in a high-calorie intake. Also, some dried fruits have added sugars.

Quinoa and Other Whole Grains

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Whole grains like quinoa are nutritious, but they still provide calories. Portion control is important, especially for those trying to manage their calorie intake.

Energy Bars

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While marketed as convenient and healthy snacks, some energy bars can be high in calories, sugar, and additives. It’s essential to read the labels and choose bars with minimal added sugars.

Conclusion

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In conclusion, certain food choices may contribute to weight gain. Highly processed and sugary foods, as well as those high in unhealthy fats and low in nutrients, can contribute to excess calorie intake. It’s essential to be mindful of portion sizes and make balanced choices to support a healthy weight. Incorporating whole foods, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains into your diet can contribute to overall well-being. Remember, moderation, and a well-rounded, nutrient-dense diet play key roles in maintaining a healthy weight.

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