3 Surprising Foods That Might Be Causing You to Gain Weight

by Nyssa LaClair

Feel like you’re eating “right” but can’t seem to shed those last few pounds? There are many reasons why your body might be holding on to excess fat such as hormone imbalances, toxicities, etc. However, there is also a good possibility that the quality of foods you are consuming could be a contributing factor. We all know that we can’t binge eat fried food and lose weight, but what if some of the proclaimed ‘health’ foods are also to blame? The following are 3 of the major ones to look out for:

1. Protein Bars

If you’re one of those people that grabs a protein bar as a meal replacement, this one's for you. Of course, it is great to have a bar handy in a pinch, but choosing to have a full meal with real food is always your best bet. Unfortunately for consumers, brands have caught on to buzzy words that make something seem healthy to the naked eye (“protein”, “all-natural”, and “no sugar”) and are doing a good job of influencing buying decisions. More often than not, these ‘health’ bars are filled with 15+ hidden ingredients and sweeteners.

Here are the first 8 ingredients found in a Special K Protein ‘Meal’ Bar:

  1. SUGAR ← Sugar


  3. CORN SYRUP & VEGETABLE OIL ← Chemicals for freshness

  4. FRUCTOSE ← Another word for sugarINULIN ← Another word for sugar

  5. COCOA PROCESSED WITH ALKALI ← Another word for sugar & chemicals

  6. DEXTROSE ← Another word for sugar

  7. NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS ← MORE words for sugar + chemicals

Even if you are consuming less calories by eating a bar as opposed to a full blown meal, the quality of the ingredients will lead to insulin resistance, weight gain, and other issues down the line. For a quick snack, replace store bought bars with homemade protein balls.

2. Salads

Yes, it is a possibility that eating a salad may be causing you to gain unwanted weight.The majority of restaurants and ‘fast food’ companies (including Sweetgreen) use inflammatory processed oils and excess sugar in many of their dressings. Restaurants will also throw in dried cranberries, tortilla chips, and croutons to make you forget the fact that you are eating raw vegetables. Do yourself a favor and skip those additions. If you’re going to add meat, make sure it is high quality. People often make the mistake of ordering chicken on their salad unaware that it may be pumped with hormones and antibiotics. When in doubt, ask questions and don’t be afraid to customize your order when needed.

Replace dressings with cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Replace croutons and tortilla chips with chickpeas or seeds for extra crunch.

3. Nut Butter

Last but not least: nut butter. We know, it’s so tempting to grab a spoon and eat directly out the jar, but unwanted calories and digestive discomfort will be the result. It is especially important to pay attention to the type of nut butter you’re eating. Peanut butter in particular (i.e. Jiff, Skippy, pb2, even some ‘all natural’ brands) are filled with additives to make them taste creamy and delicious. Take it upon yourself to check the ingredients and sugar content prior to throwing them in your grocery cart and limit yourself to the recommended serving size.

Replace with: 2 Tablespoons of Raw Almond Butter or Sunflower Butter (allergy friendly)

About The Author

Nyssa LaClair is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who specializes in gut-brain health and is passionate about creating nutritious, real-food recipes. She is the founder of her own health coaching practice, The Wellnyss Co, and also co-founded a recipe sharing iOS app called ‘Want the Recipe. She loves to study and share the science behind health and wellness topics and believes in creating a happy, fulfilled life through proper nourishment. Guided by a practical approach, Nyssa helps busy individuals improve their well-being and develop sustainable habits to live a healthy and balanced life.

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