A while ago, I wrote about three healthy foods that will make you fat and a lot of you told me that this made a big difference.
Nothing is worse than thinking you are eating “harmless” foods that in reality are adding inches. It’s betrayal, plain and simple.
So I thought it was a good time to add more culprits to the list.
Consider it a way for you to protect yourself against the “health food industry” that seems to still have us all gobsmacked.
So here are three more foods that many people think of as healthy. But they’re actually helping you pile on the pounds.
Fat trap #1: Freshly pressed juices
Freshly pressed juices promise instant energy, weight loss and a bevy of vitamins and minerals. All this wrapped up in a glass.
Not so much.
First off, when you juice fruits, you remove all the pulpy fiber, leaving behind a heap of liquid sugar. Without fiber, the fruit sugar is quickly absorbed and ready to spike your blood sugar.
And, that fiber you tossed in the trash? What a waste! It’s one of the most filling nutrients you can eat to control hunger and help keep your blood sugar on an even keel.
So drinking your fruit omits one of the key benefits of eating whole fruit. At the same time, juicing fruit makes it all too easy to down hundreds, maybe even thousands, of calories.
The result? Drinking too much fruit can make you gain weight, just like eating too much candy. And when fruit is in a juice form, it’s easy to down a ton without even realizing it.
Plus, drinking too much fruit juice can up your risk for diabetes. One study, published in the British Medical Journal found that those who swapped their fruit juice for whole fruits three times a week cut their risk by 7 percent.1
Turn it around: Okay, I’m biased, but instead of fruit juices, try RealReds™ instead. With one serving, you’re getting all the antioxidant benefits of four servings of fruit along with the anti-inflammatory benefits of naturally occurring plant polyphenols and other phytonutrients – while cutting out more than 200 calories of pure sugar.
All in all, a better choice, don’t you agree?
Fat Trap #2: Bran Muffins
You walk into a donut shop and decide you’re going to be virtuous. “I’ll take a bran muffin,” you say. Virtuous? As if. Sure, the word “bran” evokes an image of wholesome goodness, but that doesn’t mean you should start your morning with a muffin.
The muffin may contain some bran, but it’s also loaded with sugar and butter … or worse … hydrogenated fats with dangerous trans fats. Plus, many donut shops pass off oversized portions as the new normal.
By the time you’re finished brushing the muffin crumbs off the table, you might as well have eaten a big hunk of chocolate cake.
Turn it around: Pass on the donut shop and its sugary carbs. Instead, head to a coffee shop (or your home kitchen) where you can order up a healthy, protein-rich breakfast such as an omelet with spinach, mushrooms and avocado. Request egg whites if you’re watching your cholesterol intake and toss in a side of black beans for a fiber boost.
Fat trap #3: Granola
In my original list, I included granola bars… but I was afraid some of you might think the bad part was the BAR part.
In reality, plain old granola is just as bad. Sure, you’re thinking that anything loaded with good-for-you nuts and oats has to be, well, good for you, right? Sure, if by good for you, you mean loaded with fat and calories.
To make it taste sweet, most granola manufacturers add tons of sugar. Oh sure, they may be hiding under the names “evaporated cane juice,” “molasses,” “brown rice syrup” or “oat syrup solids.” But make no mistake. They all mean the same thing… sugar!
And don’t forget about the fat they add, often as hydrogenated oils. And, since you think you’re eating healthy, you’ll be munching and munching and before you know it, you could be racking in 500 calories or more. (One cup of a typical granola can pack about 600 calories!)
Turn it around: To tap into the goodness of nuts and oats, serve up a hearty bowl of steel-cut oats sprinkled with almonds or walnuts. Add a serving of whole berries for a boost of fiber.
I hope I’ve opened your eyes to some of the fat traps you may be falling into. Any other healthy foods you’re eating that you’re not sure about? If you’d like me to look into any of your diet staples, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll investigate and put the results in an upcoming blog post.
Steve Sisskind, M.D.
Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.
As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.
Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?
I have dedicated my life to answering these questions... And I share this knowledge with you every day here at RealDose Nutrition.
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1. Muraki I, Imamura F, Manson JE, et al. Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies. BMJ. 2013;347:f5001. PMID: 23990623.