Diet Tricksters That Are Making You Fat

variety of sushi on a platter( — You’re trying hard to watch what you eat…but could some of those “good-for-you” foods actually be diet disasters in disguise?

Here are just a few of the foods they may be tricking you into a larger waistline:

1. Granola

Granola seems so innocent, right? Actually, just one cup contains up to 500 calories and over 20 grams of fat — and that’s before the milk!

Eat smarter: Mix a quarter cup of your favorite granola into a cup of low-cal, whole-grain cereal, such as All-Bran Complete Wheat Flakes, or sprinkle a tablespoon on oatmeal.

2. Sushi

Just fish, seaweed, rice and veggies, right? Wrong. Popular “American-style” sushi rolls can contain higher calorie ingredients, such as cream cheese and mayo. Also, remember that tempura just means “battered and fried,” – one 6-piece shrimp tempura roll contains about 500 calories and 20 grams of fat.

Eat smarter: Stick to the basics – fish, rice, seaweed, vegetables — and skip creamy sauces. Sashimi (sliced raw fish, no rice) and nigiri (raw fish with rice) are safe, as are cucumber rolls. Order a side of protein-rich edamame to fill you up.

3. Ground Turkey

Think you’re doing good by switching from ground beef to ground turkey? Not necessarily. Surprise – ground turkey can still contain fat and skin. A 3-ounce serving can contain 13 grams of fat – almost triple the amount in lean ground beef. Regular ground chicken, which can be very high in cholesterol, is no better.

Eat smarter: Read labels and make sure you’re only buying extra-lean ground turkey. If you can’t find it, then your next best bet is to go ahead and buy extra-lean ground beef.

2. Fruit Smoothies

Yep, you’ll get in a few servings of fruit — along with up to 500 calories, and possibly more fat than you were counting on.

Eat smarter: Always choose the smallest size available, and avoid high calorie ingredients like sherbet, sorbet and granola. One exception to this is peanut butter – you shouldn’t go crazy, but adding a tablespoon or two of peanut butter to your smoothie can actually provide a healthy protein boost before or after a tough workout, or when you plan to drink it as a meal replacement.

3. Diet Soda

“What’s the problem?? It doesn’t even have any calories?!” According to research from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, people who drink artificially sweetened beverages gain more weight than those who didn’t, possibly because the sweet flavor may trigger cravings for the real thing. In another study, soda sippers were more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure and ab fat that raises heart-disease risk.

Eat smarter: Save the soda for special occasions; switch your daily drink to seltzer or sparkling mineral water, such as San Pellegrino.

4. Low-Fat/Fat-Free Salad Dressing

Believe it or not, not all fat is bad. In fact, your body needs some fat to better absorb some of the nutrients contained in your veggies. In a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who used fat-free dressings didn’t absorb any lycopene or beta-carotene, two health-boosting antioxidants.

Eat smarter: Dress your salad with an oil-based, reduced-fat dressing (usually 2 to 4 grams of fat per 2 tablespoons) that contains heart-healthy oils like olive and canola. Or make your own easy and healthy dressing! Just mix 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 1/2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and a pinch of minced garlic.

5. Yogurt

Guess what? Plain yogurt naturally contains about 16 grams of sugar per cup. So…if you eat more flavored yogurt than anything else, then…guess what? You’re adding an extra 15 or more grams of sugar.

Eat smarter: Choose plain, low-fat yogurt and stir in a teaspoon of honey, maple syrup, or all-fruit spread for a hint of sweetness. Or, try the suddenly-popular Greek yogurt (fat-free), which is lower in sugar than even regular plain yogurt, but typically has twice the protein – which will help keep you satisfied longer.

6. Sugar-Free Sweets

You’ll actually be happy you read this one…when manufacturers remove the sweet stuff, they often add stuff you don’t want, like extra fat or sorbitol, which can cause bloating and diarrhea. Our solution? Go ahead and eat the real thing! Yay!

Eat smarter: Yes, you read correctly…eat an actual sweet with actual sugar. But (you knew it was coming), go for sweets that won’t do too much damage, such as graham crackers, or those 100-calorie snack pack numbers that are all the rage these days…ummm, just don’t eat the entire box of those snack packs. of your favorite (try Keebler Fudge Shoppe Mini Fudge Stripes). If candy’s your thing, try a lollipop or other treat that tends to be lower in calories and fat, like a York Peppermint Pattie.

With a little bit of diet-saavy, you can eat smart and eat good…and reap the rewards of diet success.