A calorie is a calorie, right? Wrong.
"Sugar calories"--the calories that come from carbohydrates (aka sugar)--are the only calories that truly affect weight loss and weight gain, says Jorge Cruise, author of Inches Off! Your Tummy. Why? They spike your blood sugar levels, triggering the release of hoards of insulin, which tell your body to store food as fat and hang onto the fat your body already has. Meanwhile, your blood glucose and energy levels plummet, hunger mounts, and you're left looking for your next fat-packing sugar fix--all before you're even done digesting the first.
To break the cycle, Cruise recommends limiting your intake of sugar calories to 100 per day. Doing so keeps insulin levels balanced so that you burn belly fat and keep it off. Calculate how many sugar calories you're consuming by multiplying the number of total carbohydrate grams listed on the back of your food by four, the number of calories that a single gram of carbohydrates contains, says Cruise. But beware: Even some so-called "health foods" are full of insulin-spiking sugar. To help you keep your diet as healthy as possible, here are 10 foods that are surprisingly high in sugar calories, plus low-sugar swaps guaranteed to keep your taste buds--and waistline--happy.