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June 10, 2013

10 Surprising Foods That Pack on the Pounds

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When you're trying to maintain your weight, it can be difficult to decipher which foods should be on our daily menus, and which we should ditch for good. With all of the trendy diets, health "buzzwords," and deceptive packaging we deal with on a day-to-day basis, the foods you once thought were figure friendly could actually be causing you to slowly pack on pounds. We consulted Lisa Drayer, a nutritionist, author, and spokesperson for Nectresse natural no calorie sweetener, who gave us the rundown on what we should — and more importantly, shouldn't — be snacking on this summer.

Dried Fruit: This common snack can be highly caloric. When fruit is dried, there is less water so sugar becomes more dense — like grapes dried into raisins. Portions should be limited to a quarter of a cup.

Peas and Corn: These vegetables are considered to be a starch because they have a high carbohydrate count. Consider them as bread-carb portions.

Granola: This is often masked as healthy, but a 1/2 - 3/4 cup of most types of cereal is equal to only 1/4 cup of granola in calorie count.

Avocado: These are packed with "good" fats, but when you consume avocados in dip form — yes, we mean guacamole — you can mindlessly consume hundreds of calories. Keep your avocado portions small, like slices on a sandwich.

Frozen yogurt: Unlike regular yogurt, frozen yogurt doesn't have live cultures, and it can have even more calories than ice cream.

Smoothies: Smoothies may seem healthy because of the nutritious ingredients like milk, berries, and banana, but they often have many calories and are loaded with 4 times the daily limit of sugar.

Glaceau Vitamin Water: This calorie drink can have as many calories as a can of soda and is enhanced with sugar.

Ground turkey burgers: This common beef substitute often has skin ground up in the meat, so make sure the turkey you're buying is lean and low in fat.

Energy bars: This grab-and-go snack should be limited to 200 calories per bar, unless you're using it as a meal substitute.

Gluten-free foods: Gluten-free foods are not necessarily healthier and still have a lot of calories — you're not saving in sugar or fat.

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