21 foods you think are healthy, but are making you gain weight (fast!)

Having trouble losing weight? These "healthy" culprits are actually making you pack on the pounds.

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  • Being healthy is an admirable goal, but it's a lot harder than it seems. Dieting is hard enough on its own, but it can get even trickier when food labels aren't what they seem.

  • If you are exercising and dieting and you still can't lose weight, this could be why. Here's a list of 21 foods that you think are healthy, but are actually making you pack on the pounds:

  • 1. Yogurt

  • Added sugars and lots of fat make yogurt one of the worst breakfast foods. And all that hype about the good probiotics? This study shows that there's really no benefit.

  • 2. Whole wheat products

  • Whole wheat is naturally bitter, so whole wheat products usually have a lot of added sugar. You should also be careful of products that are "multigrain," which may not include the whole wheat portions.

  • 3. Tortillas

  • There are many kinds of tortillas-corn, wheat, whole grain and even spinach-but beware of high fat and sodium levels.

  • 4. Salads

  • Obviously, it's not the greens themselves that are the problem. The problem is all the add-ons: the dressing, the croutons, the salty sunflower seeds, etc.

  • 5. Energy bars

  • They are disguised as healthy snacks because they're associated with working out, but don't be fooled. One little bar can have over 350 calories, which come from high-fructose corn syrup and other unhealthy additions.

  • 6. Mashed potatoes

  • Potatoes naturally have a lot of vitamins and fiber, but most of those healthy elements are in the peel, which is lost in mashed potatoes. Then you add the butter, the sour cream and the salt, and suddenly this staple side dish has lots of fat and none of the fiber.

  • 7. Dried fruit

  • Fruit naturally has a lot of fiber and vitamins, but dried fruit usually has a lot of added sugar. Also, the drying process reducesthe Vitamin C levels in the fruit.

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  • 8. Trail mix

  • High sodium in the nuts, added sugar in the raisins and high fat content in the M&Ms mean that this isn't the healthy snack you thought it was.

  • 9. Sports drinks

  • The levels of sodium and sugar in sports drinks are so high that they can damage your insulin sensitivity.

  • 10. Protein powder

  • Too much protein can damage your liver and kidneys. Besides, protein is more easily digested when it comes in natural forms like tofu, legumes and flaxseed.

  • 11. Agave

  • This natural sweetener is supposed to be a healthier alternative to sugar, but it actually has even more calories.

  • 12. Diet soda

  • It saves you the calories, but it's not proven to make you lose weight. In fact, it's associated with a higher risk of diabetes.

  • 13. Skim/lowfat milk

  • Taking out the fat also means taking out a lot of the minerals. Some kinds of skim milk come fortified with extra Vitamin D and other minerals to try and make up for it, but you're better off just drinking 2%.

  • 14. Margarine

  • In addition to having harmful chemicals, margarine can raise your cholesterol.

  • 15. Fruit juice

  • Added sugars and high-fructose corn syrup are lurking behind labels of health-looking fruit juice.

  • 16. Canned soup

  • Depending on the kind of soup, you can find extremely high levels of sodium.

  • 17. Pita chips

  • If your pita chips were made with refined pita flour, then it's just empty calories. Plus, pita chips are fried and salted, which makes them even worse for you.

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  • 18. Veggie chips

  • The deep-frying process adds a lot of fat and strips away the natural nutrients.

  • 19. Fruit cocktails

  • That high-fructose corn syrup preserves fruit and makes it sweeter, but it also adds way too many calories.

  • 20. Muffins

  • Even the healthy kinds of muffins, like bran muffins, have astonishing amounts of sodium and calories.

  • 21. Peanut butter

  • Peanut butter has a lot of protein, but it has a lot of fat too. Eat it in moderation. Almond butter is sometimes a better alternative.

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Hannah Chudleigh joined FamilyShare because of its positive influence on families worldwide. She has a bachelor's degree in English and loves reading, writing, and running.

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