Healthy foods are high in nutrition and beneficial for our overall wellness. In our rush to include more such wholesome foods in our diets, we often can forget that some of those ideal choices also can have high calorie counts. For this reason, let me share healthy foods that can also make you fat if you overdue those portions.
Grapes, for instance, can be deceptive. A cup of red or green grapes averages about 110 calories. Though it doesn’t appear like a lot of calories, it is the amount of sweetness those grapes leave in your mouth that causes the problem. To put it simply, grapes have 15 grams in that cup serving compared to what you consider a sweeter treat such as three Chips Ahoy cookies that have 11 grams of sugar and 160 calories. This may be confusing, but a better explanation is that you can’t satisfy your taste buds as quickly to reach that same level of sweetness just munching one cup. What usually happens is we tend to eat more (typically about three cups) before that gratification is achieved. This is why you need to be careful when grabbing a bunch to snack on.
Dried fruits also can be problematic if you neglect watching your portions. The basis for this is because the sugar that you’re consuming becomes concentrated from the amount of fruit it takes during the drying process. Furthermore, manufacturers often add more sugar for fruits such as cherries to counteract any bitterness.
Let me tell you a funny story. I had a dehydrator that I loved for this purpose of drying fruits and vegetables, especially for making banana chips that tasted like candy. However, I got rid of it because I was eating too many banana pieces without thought of all the calories. As a result, I gained one pant size! I found it is safer to eat the fresh fruits and vegetables since you can calculate the portion for calories over drying them and randomly munching.
Nuts are another of these healthy foods that also can make you fat. One ounce of something like peanuts is something to be leery of even if eating just three tablespoons. You might compare that size with 160 calories to a shot glass or a small prescription medicine bottle. Though nuts are supposed to make you full, they also can be hard to stop mindlessly eating once you start. When I was college, I had a very tight schedule one semester with no lunch break. The problem was I had to eat quickly on the run trying to make it from one end of the campus to the other building that was further away and high on a hill. What I did was filling an old plastic prescription bottle with peanuts to pack in my handbag and munch as I ran. Believe it or not, I gained two pant sizes that one semester because of that tiny bottle of shelled peanuts.
Those trying to escape sugar for a healthier natural substitute may turn to ones such as agave or honey. The only problem is that both alternatives possess more calories than sugar. For example, a tablespoon of honey has 64 calories while a tablespoon of agave measures 63 calories compared to 48 in the same amount of regular sugar. Honey is only slightly lower on the glycemic index (at 58) than sugar (at 60 on that chart) in how fast blood sugar can rise, but as we know also has a bounty of beneficial properties from its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial capabilities. On the other hand, agave is much lower on the glycemic index coming in at 17. While as wonderful as that is, it is no reason to celebrate since it also possesses significant amounts of fructose that can cause triglyceride levels to spike for risking diabetes and heart disease according to the American Diabetes Association.
These are just a few healthy foods that can make you fat if you don’t pay attention to what you’re putting in your mouth. This is not to say give those nutritious foods up, but to exercise a bit more caution before thinking that all healthy foods are the same.