Sometimes we find little calories sneaking into our diets that wreck havoc and we have no idea where they are coming from. Hunting out the sneaky calories and making a few small changes can make a big difference to your diet for a small amount of effort. Here are my 13 healthy foods that make you fat:
1. Fruit Juice
Even 'all-natural organic' fruit juice is chock full of sugar and the juicing process removes the bulk of the fibre so you're doing yourself out of the fruit's full potential. Try a whole piece of fruit or mix your fruit juice 50/50 with soda water or still water and halve the sugar content instantly.
2. Olive Oil
We're told olive oil has a host of health benefits, which it does but olive oil is still a fat. By all means slosh it on your skin but use it sparingly like you would with any fat. This also goes for Oilve Oil margarine. A little is great, lots is a disaster for the hips!
How often have you bought an herbal tea when trying to give up coffee and filled it with honey because it's 'natural' and a 'healthy' alternative to sugar. While avoiding refined sugar is a good idea, honey is still sugar. I find if I have white sugar to hand I only use half a teaspoon at a time where honey gets used a tablespoon full at a time. If you have just 5 cups of herbal tea with tablespoonful (or a heaped teaspoon) honey a day that's an extra 3 kilos of sugar a month!
4. Greek Yoghurt
Yoghurt is fantastic for the body as it provides beneficial bacteria for your digestive system. Ideally the less sugar in the yoghurt the better so many people turn to fruit-free, unsweetened greek yoghurt. Where most fruit yoghurts have a fat content of around 1-3% Greek Yoghurt can have 10-15% fat content so a 150g standard size tub will have 15 grams of fat in it! Look for a low fat unsweetened yoghurt instead.
5. Muesli Bars
Muesli bars are a mixed bag. Many so-called 'healthy' and 'natural' muesli bars are packed with cheap filler ingredients like peanuts, sugar, oils and fats not to mention chocolate toppings! Even some of the 'diet' brands of muesli bar contain a surprising amount of fats, sugars and carbs. Either really read the labels or just don't bother; many those so called 'natural' muesli bars are no better for you than a chocolate bar
6. Frozen Yoghurt
Somehow we think that if it's called yoghurt instead of ice-cream it's magically healthier but unfortunately not all yoghurts or ice creams are made equal. Read your labels and you may find a low fat ice cream will have less fat and sugar than a full-fat frozen yoghurt.
7. "Diet" Foods
I'm amazed when I compare the labels of some so-called diet foods with 'regular' foods how often the diet foods come out last! Just because it has a "diet" or "lite" label doesn't mean it's the healthiest option. Be aware to that whichever one of the unholy trinity of fat, sugar or carbs a product is claiming to be low in it will inevitably be high in the rest.
8. Artificial Sugar:
This seems like a lifesaver to anyone counting carbs but the more I research artificial sugar the more bad news I learn. Most recently, studies have shown that artificial sugar consumption increases weight gain - defeats the purpose of it then doesn't it?
9. Diet Soda
How often have you slugged back a diet soda thinking "It's guilt free because it's only got one calorie". See the artifiicial sugar comment above.
10. "Fat free" Lollies
At last! Fat free jelly beans! The fact that they've always been fat free evades you and you end up eating more than you intented because it's a "guilt free" snack. Be aware of sneaky packaging and guilt free hype - just because it's fat free doesn't mean it's sugar free or low calorie.
11. Skinny lattes
It's so easy to think that because it's liqid and low fat it must be a free pass for the weight watcher. It's worth noting a grande non-fat latte (from Starbucks) has 168 calories and 24g of carbohydrate. That's the equivalent of a two slice of white bread and tomato sandwich. When you go to order that third skinny latte maybe it's worth asking yourself if you'd eat three sandwiches in one sitting for a snack?
Not all soups are equal. So often when I look at a restaurant menu and see a list of meals with massive hunks of meat and fries I turn to the soup thinking it's the best alternative. Soups can be made with ingredients sauteed in butter and oil, extra bits of meat and high fat cheeses and finished with full cream. Add a couple pieces of garlic butter toast on the side and maybe you were better off with the steak and a salad. Ask the staff what's in their soup or go for a simpler meal like steak and a salad (dressing on the side) so you know what you're eating.
It seems a healthy option but bear in mind your dressing and sneaky calorie-laden extras like cheese, nuts, croutons. Always get your dressing on the side and generally go for a vinegraitte over a mayonaise or ranch dressing. A sachet of McDonald's ranch dressing has 13 grams of fat in it - the same amount of fat as a small bag of fries!