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Is Healthy Eating Making You Fat?

Rachael Anne Hill
19 October 2012
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Just because a food is healthy doesn't mean it will help you lose weight.  That's because many healthy foods are also quite high in calories — and if it's weight loss your after it's the calories that count.  Here, Y! Lifestyle nutritionist Rachael Anne Hill guides you through some of those healthy foods that can pack a hefty calorific punch ….

Dried Fruit
Weight for weight dried fruit has five to eight times more calories than the fresh kind.  That's because it has been dehydrated and therefore the remaining flesh is more concentrated. Fresh grapes, for example, have 60 calories per cup, while raisins have 460.  Some brands also add sugar which can increase the calories even more.

Peanut Butter and Tahini Paste
Despite brimming with healthy, cholesterol lowering, monounsaturated fats be warned that just one teaspoon can contain up to 70 kcals.  This shouldn't put you off including them in your diet as both are high in hunger zapping and blood sugar stabilising proteins but just make sure you're not too heavy handed when you're spreading them your toast.

Baked Potatoes
A baked potato is low in fat, high in fibre and contains just 250 calories — all good stuff.  However, a baked potato covered in tuna and mayonnaise, baked beans and cheese or butter and chilli con carne can triple in calories making it a far less diet friendly option.  Instead of adding fats in the form of mayonnaise, butter, salad dressings and cheeses use chutneys, pickles, chopped tomatoes and small amounts of low fat hummus or crème fraiche.  Oh, and don't forget to add fresh herbs such as basil or coriander for added flavour.
Packed full of essential minerals, vitamins and fibre, bananas are one of the healthiest, most conveniently packaged health foods you could hope for but remember 1 medium banana still adds up to around 100kcals.

Fruit Juice
A glass of fruit juice counts as one of your five  a day but don't be tempted to have much more than that or the calories (not to mention the sugar content) of your diet will soon mount up.

We all know that milk is a great source of calcium necessary for maintaining strong teeth and bones.  In fact, milk is so nutritious it's practically a meal in itself which is why, with a coffee house on almost every street corner selling those all enticing lattes, cappuccinos and hot chocolates it can be all too easy to knock back a little too much of the stuff. Just do the maths. One medium latte contains approximately 200 calories so if you fall into the habit of grabbing one every morning on your way into work you could easily be adding an extra 1000 calories a week to your diet.  Over a space of a year this amounts to approximately 50,000 which at 3,500 calories per pound of body fat can soon add up to an extra stone in weight.

A salad may seem like the obvious choice if you're trying to lose weight, don't be fooled.  Recent headlines shouted about how the Macdonalds Caeser Salad which contains more than 253 calories and almost 8 grams more fat than a standard Macdonalds burger and it seems it's not just Macdonalds salads to blame.  Whilst the veggies contained within are great, it only takes a generous drizzle of dressing, a sprinkling of grated cheese, some croutons, nuts, seeds or a few lardons here and there to turn a healthy looking salad into a dieting disaster so always read the labels if their shop bought and dress your home-made salads in lemon juice, balsamic vinegar or a little sweet chilli dipping sauce instead.

Granola Breakfast Cereals
One look at this healthy looking cereal and you'd be forgiven for thinking it's pretty harmless on the diet front but don't be fooled.  That delicious crunchy, crispness is derived by adding oil and extra sugars which means one bowl can contain up to 500 calories

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