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Healthy Habits: How-Tos

Sneaky Diet Spoilers

Could you be sabotaging your weight loss -- without even knowing it? A top nutritionist reveals some surprising diet-wreckers.

Two-thirds of dieters who seek my nutrition advice think they’re eating well and can’t understand why their weight won’t budge or drop faster. But when I ask them to show me their food log, the truth comes out: They’re not getting fat by eating ice cream sundaes and Fettuccine Alfredo -- those are obvious weight loss wreckers. Instead, they are consuming these sneaky diet spoilers.

Diet Spoiler: Low-fat or Non-fat Foods
Products labeled “baked,” “light” or “fat-free” seem like they must be good for you. The truth: Many baked chips and light salad dressings contain only 20 or 30 fewer calories than their full-fat counterparts. So when you’re opting for these foods, I’m sorry, but you can’t eat twice as much and still lose weight.

Diet Spoiler: 100-calorie Snack Packs
It's common for my patients to eat three or four 100-calorie snack packs every day! They can be a great way to control portions, but it's easy to go overboard. In fact, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when a product was labeled "small," people felt less guilty about eating it. If you're a fan of 100-calorie packs, keep the empty bag until the end of the day to remind you that you've already had one.

Diet Spoiler: Healthy Fats
Packed with antioxidants and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, olive oil, nuts and avocados are superfoods for sure. But they’re also loaded with calories. Just 1 tablespoon of olive oil greases you with 120 calories, and 20 little peanuts also contain the same amount. So be sure to measure out proper portions rather than pouring directly from the bottle or grabbing a handful of nuts from the bowl.

Diet Spoiler: Juice-based Drinks
Smoothies are healthy, right? Not when they're 400 calories a pop -- like they are at many juice bars. Plus, they're often filled with cavity-causing sugar. Even a large glass of OJ will set you back 200 calories. Since calories from beverages don't make you feel as full as calories from food, fill up instead on healthy food that will keep you satisfied, and save juices and smoothies for an occasional treat.

All photos: Corbis Images

About the Writer:
Dawn Jackson Blatner is a registered dietitian and the author of The Flexitarian Diet. She is a frequent contributor to CompletelyYou.


Also read: Are You at Risk for Diabetes? and Eat Your Way to Healthier Gums

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