7 'Healthy' Foods Making You Gain Weight

These worst-foods-masquerading-as-healthy snacks can do a number on your diet.

March 3, 2016
woman eating popcorn
7 'Healthy' Foods Making You Gain Weight

Let's blow the snacking-to-lose-weight theory out of the water. Eating mini-meals, snacks, or whatever you want to call them becomes an acid-washed nutrition equivalent, meaning that outdated myth should get retired immediately.

Snacking for fat loss gets a big thumbs-down in my book. Every time you eat, you ramp up insulin, a hormone that stores things; namely, fat. More snacking means more insulin spikes, creating plenty of opportunities to store fat.

More: 50 Foods You Should Never Eat

Snacking also ramps up your caloric intake, opening the door for potential food intolerances and high-sugar impact foods. How often do you snack out of genuine hunger? Instead, you're stressed out, bored, pissed, or maybe you broke up with your boyfriend, so those 100-calorie packs momentarily assuage your pain.

What really irks me, though, are the endless snacks that manufacturers craftily position as "healthy," but actually create serious metabolic mayhem and stall fat loss. These seven are among my top worst-foods-masquerading-as-healthy snacks:

skinny coffee drinks
1. Skinny coffee drinks

At some point, "skinny" became the new "lite." Whenever coffee shops or manufacturers downsize dietary fat to reduce calories, they usually load more sugar to increase taste.

"Skinny" coffee drinks provide the perfect example: They typically come loaded with sugar or artificial sweeteners (these 7 hidden dangers of artificial sweeteners will turn you off them for good), revving up their caffeine-milk combo that cranks up your blood sugar and probably leaves you craving a high-sugar impact pastry.

reduced fat muffins
2. Reduced-fat muffins

Even though recent studies vindicate dietary fat and experts like Mark Hyman, MD, argue sugar, not fat, makes you fat, coffee and donuts shops still sells reduced-fat muffins that, you guessed it, carry the same (if not more) sugar weight and create a halo effect that you're eating something healthier. You're not.

Instead, reach for any of these healthy breafasts that taste good to get your morning fill of healthy fats, protein, and carbs.

healthy cookies
​3. "Healthy" cookies.

High-fiber, nutrient-fortified, low-carb: whatever. A cookie is a cookie, period.

Manufacturers pull all kinds of stunts to convince you these junk, highly processed foods are suddenly healthy. Most of them taste like the box they came in, yet really, when was the last time you opened a box of cookies and ate just one? 

But there is an upside. If you go the DIY route, cookies can be a part of your perfect day of clean eating, so long as you stick to the low-sugar counts. 

protein granola bars
​4. Protein bars

Most commercial protein bars are nutrient-enriched, overpriced candy bars.

Protein and fiber provide the buzzwords, but flip that label over and you'll find sugar, artificial sweeteners, excessive sugar alcohols, food intolerances, and other junk ingredients often disguised in pretty terms like "organic cane syrup."

Instead, follow a much healthier guide to your post-workout protein consumption to get your fix without hurting your waist line. 

baked potato chips
​5. Baked chips

Bag labels come riddled with all sorts of bogus health claims like 67 percent less fat or baked rather than fried. That halo effect alone can make you devour an entire bag.

Just because they're lower in fat doesn't mean these chips or popcorn aren't still high glycemic, which means they raise your blood sugar and store fat. Homemade veggie chips, however, can give you a just-as-great taste but with a fraction of the fat. 

woman eating popcorn
​6. Popcorn

A popular myth suggests popcorn is a healthy, low-calorie snack. Nope. 

Most corn is genetically modified (GMO). Popcorn is generally made with damaged fats. Microwave popcorn may have toxins in the bag liners, and researchers have found that the bags are one of the biggest thyroid damagers hiding out in your home. Popcorn is high-glycemic, spiking blood sugar and setting up problems with hunger. And popcorn is a trigger food: it makes you want more salt, starch, and fat.

agave syrup
​7. Agave-sweetened anything

How this sweetener got a healthy reputation shows really marketing savvy.

According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, agave can be up to 97 percent fructose, the most damaging sweetener that wreaks havoc on your liver, spikes inflammation levels, and converts to triglycerides (fat) that find a nice home around your midsection. 

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