Several sneaky foods that commonly tear through calorie-controlled diets.
If you’re trying to lose weight, chances are you’ve been watching your calories closely and paying extra attention to what you eat. This is the very essence of weight loss — you have to expend more calories than you take in. With that in mind, note that high-calorie foods are not necessarily unhealthy, but they are potential hidden diet killers if you don’t know to watch for them. Associations such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and American Dietetic Association provide calorie calculators and food databases for calorie look-up, so with just a few clicks, you can check your favorite foods for calorie content.
High-calorie produce. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds readers that “fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins, minerals and fiber that may help protect you from chronic diseases.” Just because some have a little higher calorie content certainly doesn’t mean they should be cut out of the diet, but be sure to mix lower-calorie fresh produce with fruits such as bananas and strawberries. Soybeans, dried fruits such as dates, and avocados all rank much higher than other fresh fruits and vegetables on the calorie scale.
Diet food. Just because it’s low-fat or no-fat, sugar-free or labeled for any other “diet” characteristics does not mean that it’s low-calorie. In fact, sometimes this means you need to look a little closer at the labeling to see what serving size those numbers really represent. In addition, meal replacements like soy-based diet shakes are very high in calories and can seriously hamper weight-loss efforts if used incorrectly.
Grains. While some grains are a no-brainer for high calories, some are widely accepted as diet food and believed to be lower calorie. Items such as granola, some whole-grain cereals, oatmeal and that whole-grain bread for your light breakfast are often hidden sources of high calories. While these are healthy, essential parts of your diet, don't count on being able to cut very many calories in this particular group. Instead, eat in moderation and focus on making nutritious, low-sugar and low-fat choices for your grains and starches for healthier calorie consumption.