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Smart Foods That Cause Weight Gain

Smart Foods That Cause Weight Gain
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 6 min read

You already know that you need to keep your diet healthy and balanced if you want to avoid gaining weight, but what you might not know is that so many of the foods that are touted as "€œsmart"€Â or "€œhealthy"€Â or "€œdiet-friendly"€Â are actually just dressed-up junk food! If you want to avoid ballooning weight you need to make sure you're not eating this not-so-smart food without realizing it.


Smart Foods That Cause Weight Gain - Bottled Apple or Orange Juice

You may think that it's great to grab a bottle of juice and get all your vitamin C in one go! Bottled apple or orange juices are loaded with carbs and sugar, however. One 16 oz. bottle of orange juice has as many carbs as five slices of bread and the equivalent of 12 spoonfuls of sugar.


Bottled Tea

It's pretty common to want to find a good replacement for sugar-loaded soft drinks. You may want to reconsider grabbing a bottle of tea, though. The sugar content of most bottled teas is as much or only slightly below that of regular soda beverages.


Dried Fruit

You might think that dried fruit is just as healthy as fresh fruit, but this is not the case. Dried fruit is much denser than fresh fruit, and you'll find that a dried fruit averages from 5 to 8 times the calories over its fresh counterpart. Fruit is already high in sugars, and many dried fruits come with large amounts of added sugar. You're definitely going to watch out when it comes to eating too much dried fruit.



Most people consider granola to be the healthier alternative to cereal, but unfortunately this is totally wrong. All the oats in granola are great, but it also has a huge amount of added oils and sugar. Granola ends up packing way more calories and unhealthy fats and sugars into your breakfast than many brands of cereal. The bottom line is a good brand of cereal is way healthier than granola.



Another common breakfast staple is muffins, which are filled with sugar. You may argue that you already know muffins are bad, but it's okay because you stick with bran muffins. Well, bran muffins are hardly better than any other kind, and they still pack a ton of sugar and butter.


Rice Cakes

Rice cakes are often sold as a light, healthy snack, but this just isn't the case. Unfortunately, rice cakes have very little nutritional value. They are completely void of protein and fiber and therefore do nothing to sate your appetite. So rice cakes are essentially empty calories that just make you hungrier.   The kicker is that most are flavoured with either high-sodium seasoning or sugary coatings. Rick cakes are definitely not ideal as far as snacks go.



Many people are surprised to see salad on a list like this. Raw veggies are great for you, true, but that isn't the problem with most salads, especially the kinds you order in a restaurant. Most salads pack a lot of diced or shredded cheese, which gets very fattening very quickly. Candied nuts and/or croutons are very unhealthy also, packing a ton of sugar and oil into your salad. Salad dressing is the worst offender of them all, though, when it comes to ingredients that pack on pounds quickly. Ranch-type dressings are the worst, but don't be fooled into thinking vinaigrettes are harmless. While less fattening, most vinaigrettes contain nearly as many calories as any ranch dressing, so watch out.


Sushi Rolls

Sushi rolls have a reputation for being clean, healthy food. Rice, vegetables and protein packed into a small package seems like a great nutritional dinner, but that's overlooking some important factors. Almost all sushi rolls are absolutely slathered in either mayo or cream cheese sauces. Any roll that contains tempura battered (deep fried) meat or vegetables is packed with saturated fats. Soy sauce has a massive amount of sodium. So when you go out to enjoy sushi rolls just remember it's really no different than indulging in fast food.



Tofu itself isn't actually that bad for you; though you want to make sure not to eat too much soy (too much can mess with your hormones). The biggest problem with tofu is that almost is accompanied by things that are very much unhealthy. Tofu doesn't magically turn a dish healthy, so when you have it deep-fried and accompanied with rich, fattening sauces or sodium-loaded soy sauce, you're not doing yourself any favours.


Veggie Burgers & Dogs

Many people are aware of the unhealthy nature of beef and especially beef burgers and beef hotdogs. Subbing that beef for a veggie patty isn't turning a burger into a healthy meal, however. Many veggie burgers have large patties that are crammed full of calories, bound together by fattening cheese with even more calories. Beef or veggie also doesn't matter when it comes to the burger or dog bun, which is typically loaded with carbs and sugar. Condiments can be big culprits as well - for example ketchup, which is loaded with sugar. So don't be fooled into thinking that because your burger or dog has no meat it's somehow a healthy, smart dinner.



Wraps are usually considered to be the "€œhealthy"€Â alternative to sandwiches or burgers, but this is a big misconception. Wraps may not have thick slices of bread or bun, but the flour wrap is usually very large and just as unhealthy. Wraps are often filled throughout with dressing or mayo, most often containing considerably more than a sandwich. It's important to recognize that a wrap is not a "€œlighter"€Â or "€œsmarter"€Â choice than a sandwich when you're trying to pick a good lunch option.


There are plenty of good, healthy food options when you want to avoid gaining unexpected weight. But you have to make sure you're making the right choices and recognizing what's in items that most people consider "healthy". Avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates, sugars, or artificial sweeteners, and avoid any processed foods including so called "smart" foods. Keep your eyes open for "€œjunk food in disguise"€Â and make the best choices you can!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.