Some foods are worse than others if you're trying to slim down. Cut down on these foods.
1. OLIVE OIL
This may be good for your heart, but too much of it can make you put on weight, says Jaclyn Reutens, a dietitian at Aptima Nutrition & Sports Consultants.
One tablespoon provides 135 calories and 15g fat. It is easy to overdo olive oil without realising it, she cautions.
"In cooking, most people tend to be liberal with its usage because they think it's good for them. But if you drown your salads with olive oil, you can easily be consuming three tablespoons of olive oil, which is a whopping 405 calories!"
Her advice: use the olio sparingly, drizzle it in salads and if you are using a non-stick pan to cook, one tablespoon is more than enough.
2. PLAIN BISCUITS
You're kidding yourself if you think they're much better than more decadent cookies.
According to Jaclyn, a plain biscuit has 50 calories, while a chocolate chip biscuit has 54 calories. To be fair, the plain biccie has a lower fat count, 0.4g compared to the latter's 2.6g.
However, if you munch on a few pieces a day, these numbers will accumulate, and so will the numbers on the scale, warns Jaclyn.
In a study of 120,000 healthy men and women which spanned 20 years, Harvard researchers sussed out the worst foods that led to weight gain.
Potatoes, French fries and potato chips are among the top offenders, causing participants to gain between 580g to over 1.36kg for every additional serving a day over four years.
4. SUGARY FOODS
The World Health Organisation recommendation for daily sugar intake is 25 grams (six teaspoons) or less a day.
But many of us are ingesting it unknowingly - it's lurking in our cereals, pasta sauces, condiments and canned soup - and we might even be hooked on it.
Dr Mark Hyman, author of The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet claims that animal studies have found that sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine, so if you're fixated on a snack or drink, this could be why.
5. ORGANIC AND GLUTEN-FREE SNACKS
You need to do your research here and look beyond the packaging, says Bonnie Rogers Nutrition Coach at The Nutrition Clinic.
'Gluten-free' and 'organic' are marketing dream words that have been linked in people's mind as healthy, but she cautions that they can be equally loaded in sugar as non-organic versions.
"When it comes to gluten-free there are often heaps of unhealthy ingredients added. Just because it says it's healthy it doesn't mean it is."
Lesson? You really need to turn the product over and read the nutrition label and ingredients.
6. ARTIFICALLY-SWEETENED DRINKS
Sure they may have less calories, but a study from University of Texas Health Science Centre cautions that people who consume artificially-sweetened drinks are twice as likely to become overweight or obese as non-diet soda drinkers.
Similar to consuming goods labelled as "healthy", these health halo foods and drinks make us feel like we're eating better, and trick us into gorging on more.
7. TEA OR COFFEE WITH DAIRY
If you have a habit of having a morning brew at home, one when you reach the office, another one mid-afternoon, you need to know that you could be drinking your way to a broader waistline, says Jaclyn.
Black coffee or tea is the only form with almost no calories, but if you like to add milk, sugar and whipped cream, that could be bad news. Jaclyn shares that your three cups of latte a day adds up to 432 calories, which for most of us is a third of our daily calorie allowance, or one meal!
Shape Singapore is now available in both print and digital formats. Log on to www.shape.com.sg to subscribe!