Now that you’re officially over your hangover and ready to go forward with a new year’s resolution, it’s time to get serious. Getting rid of that spare tire formed out of a regimen of holiday cookies and spiked eggnog takes some will power. Even though many people will sign up for new gym memberships in 2014, not everyone will drop the pounds they want to lose. There has been a long-time debate about what matters most in the process of weight loss: diet or exercise?
Different nutritionists, personal trainers and doctors all have conflicting opinions. One thing is for sure: eating healthy is a key element for looking and feeling good, but looks can be deceiving nowadays. Many dieters believe they’re being mindful of their calorie intake when they scarf down certain foods, but they could just be contributing to the problem. Here are six deceitful foods that can cause weight gain.
6. Starchy Vegetables
Though they are considered high-quality carbs because of vitamin and fiber content, starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn need to be eaten in moderation if you’re watching your figure. Starch is important for parts of your body, as long as you don’t eat it excessively. It can raise your blood sugar levels and the veggies have a lot more calories than non-starchy ones. So leafy greens like spinach and lettuce as well as portions of carrots and mushrooms would be a better bet to keep off the pounds while giving you loads of potassium and calcium.
You might want to think twice the next time you get your morning bagel before work. On average, they pack up to 60 grams of carbohydrates and 350 calories, the equivalent of about 4 pieces of bread. Top that with some butter, cream cheese, or some bacon, and you’re just adding fat. The other issue with bagels is that they don’t really offer any redeeming nutritional value. They lack vitamins, fiber, and minerals. There are some lower-calorie options like whole wheat and whole grain bagels — but if a person is trying to shed pounds, they may want to avoid them altogether. Bagels can easily overload you with too many carbs, causing your body to store them as fat.
4. Fruit Juice
Having a slow metabolism makes weight loss almost impossible, and sugar is something that only contributes to it. One way to help you avoid this is to cut down on sweet drinks. But while beverages like sodas and special lattes are scrutinized for this, consuming fruit juices too can cause you to exceed your body’s glucose levels. When that happens, your liver stores it as fat. As a result, drinking juices in moderation can only help people control their weight. Some doctors actually say that juices are just as bad as soda because of the sugar content. It’s an important issue to discuss because these drinks are not just known for causing weight gain, they are also connected to many other health problems.
3. Salad Dressings
Sure, salad has nutritious vegetables that help you to stay healthy and keep your diet on the right track, but when you top them with large amounts of high-calorie dressings, you could sabotage your hard work at the gym. They can quickly ruin your day because they pack an upwards of 200 calories and 20 grams of fat per serving. It’s essential to read the labels and see just exactly what you’re ingesting. In some cases, even the “light” dressings can be counterproductive because they’re higher in sodium and sugar as a way to compensate for lowered calories. It’s also important to pay attention to the serving size, which is usually around two tablespoons — a direction that most people ignore while dousing their salads with dressings.
2. Frozen Yogurt
It’s a great summertime treat for most people, and when having a nice helping of frozen yogurt on a hot day, you may not feel any guilt. But it can be really high in sugar and calories. Add in some toppings like nuts and syrup and you got yourself a dessert. Some frozen yogurts actually contain almost the same number calories as ice cream, and when you eat the fat-free flavors, they just compensate with more sugar to match the calories.
This may seem like common sense, but you could even be putting on pounds from eating your favorite breakfast cereals. Downing a big bowl of Frosted Flakes or Cap’n Crunch can be a bad start to your stay, especially if you don’t pay attention to the portion size. These foods are high in calories and are loaded with sugar. Even the “healthy” cereals with dried fruit sometimes have a high count. Combine that with milk, some sliced nuts or pecans, and that number grows higher. Even cereals that are considered “healthy” by a lot of people like granola can pack a large amount of calories. So beware!