Sneaky Calories – Foods to Avoid if You Want to Lose Weight
Some calories can be really sneaky – you don’t necessarily feel full after eating foods with these calories, but your body is faced with having to burn off as many calories as if you’d eating a big meal (or several big meals!). Where are these sneaky calories, and how can you avoid them? Here are some foods and beverages that you may not suspect as preventing weight loss.
Some claim that having a cocktail before dinner stimulates the appetite, but there can be a lot of calories in that drink! Depending on the drink, some mixed drinks contain lots of sugar, heavy cream, and of course the alcohol itself. Whiskey contains about 60 calories a tablespoon, and other liquor is comparable.
2. Other beverages
It’s so easy to grab a soft drink or sweet tea in a restaurant, or going through a drive-through window. If you attend a picnic or other event, you may find that cans of carbonated drinks are the only liquid around. But those colas and bottled teas can contain a lot of calories – depending on the drink, a 16-ounce can contains anywhere from 150 to 250 calories. And you don’t feel satisfied after drinking them, so those are “empty” calories.
Tea and lemonade sweetened with sugar or corn syrup also contain a lot of empty calories. A small plain baked potato, for instance, has about 120 calories – add a salad to it and you would have a much more nutrient-rich and satisfying 200 or so calories.
Plain, prepared mustard generally has few calories, but ketchup, processed cheese slices, mayonnaise, “special sauce,” and other condiments can add up to make even a veggie burger high in calories. When you build your own sandwich or order out, be conscious of the condiments and leave out as many as you can.
4. “Diet” foods
Some nutrition researchers claim that pre-packaged “diet” foods are made to look diet-friendly, but are actually empty calories. Examples might include 100-calorie “snack packs” of cookies, or chocolate-coated granola bars or granola “wafers.” Some argue that these convenience packs are really just a clever way of marketing junk foods. So beware – just because a food is marketed for dieters does not necessarily mean it will help you lose weight.
5. Pre-packaged food
Whether it’s geared toward dieters or not, pre-packaged food often contains hidden sugar – usually in the form of high fructose corn syrup – and therefore sneaky calories. Even salad dressing may be adding extra sugar and calories to your favorite diet food – the salad!
The problem with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), say experts, is that your body does not do a good job of recognizing the fructose, and therefore you don’t get the “I am full” signals from your brain to your stomach. Therefore, you could end up eating a lot more of the HFCS-containing food than you might otherwise.