Some foods with healthy reputations do more harm for your weight than good. Dr. Mike Moreno, author of The 17 Day Diet: A Doctor’s Plan Designed for Rapid Results, tells you what to avoid.
1. Dried Fruit: Cup for cup, dried fruit has tons more calories than the fresh kind because it has been dehydrated and is much denser. Fresh grapes, for example, have 60 calories per cup, while raisins have 460.
2. Granola: It’s loaded with good-for-you nuts and oats, but loaded with oil and sugar for more flavor. One bowl racks up around 500 calories. Try low-fat granola instead.
3. Bran Muffins: Most bran muffins are basically just a round slice of cake. One muffin can weigh in at about 20 grams of fat, 420 calories and 34 grams of sugar.
4. Bagel: Many bagels weigh four to five ounces. At 80 calories per ounce, that’s a 320- to 400- caloric hunk of bread. Stick to small, whole-wheat bagels.
5. Half-and-Half: It seems harmless; after all, you put so little in your coffee or tea. But a few spoonfuls per cup of Joe two or three times a day quickly turns into 200 or more calories, plus the same amount of fat as a big pat of butter.
6. Flavored Coffees: Drinks at coffeehouses will sabotage your diet faster than you can say Frappuccino. Some of these items top out at 700 calories a serving.
7. Bottled Teas: Most store-bought brands are souped up with sugar or honey. Oh, and one bottle can contain two or more servings, bringing the calorie count to almost 200, similar to a can of soda.
8. Rice Cakes: These light snacks are fat-free and low in calories, but they’re also completely lacking in fiber or protein — ingredients that can tame your hunger. That means downing two or three won’t do anything but add more calories to your daily total and leave you craving something with substance.
9. Juice: Juice is basically sugar and calories. A 16-ounce bottle of orange juice or apple juice has 55 grams of carbohydrates, the equivalent of five slices of bread. And most of that is sugar: a whopping 12 spoonfuls of it.
10. Fat-Free Frozen Dessert: The label might say it’s as low as 60 calories for a small cup, but lab tests on these frozen delights say otherwise: around 270 calories is more like it.
11. Reduced-Fat Cookies: Three of these will give you 150 calories. But get this: Three regular chocolate-chip cookies are 160 … just 10 measly calories more.
12. Energy Bars: The average candy bar has 250 calories; so does the average energy bar. Energy bars are candy bars incognito, disguised by a few added vitamins (which you’re better off getting
from fruit). Personally, I’d rather have a Snickers.
13. Energy Drinks: The labels say they contain various herbs, minerals and the amino acid taurine, specially designed to boost your energy. But if you look at the ingredients, they’re mostly caffeine and sugar, making them hardly more than high-priced soft drinks.
14. Diet Drinks: The artificial sweeteners they contain make it harder for people to regulate their calorie intake. Sweet tastes tell the brain a lot of calories are about to be consumed. When that
doesn’t happen, you eat more to compensate.
15. Taco Salad: One of these can weigh in at more than 900 calories (that’s if you eat the hard-to-resist shell).
16. Trail Mix: Just three little tablespoons of this snack packs around 140 calories. Most people gobble down much more than that, making this a very high-calorie snack.