11 Diet Foods That Are Bad for Your Waistline

Even though today more people are trying desperately to eat healthier and diet in order to lose weight, nearly 70 percent of the American population is classified as overweight, yet the diet industry has never been stronger. (1)

And diet foods, such as those labeled “low-fat,” “low-calorie” or “fat-free,” are specifically target marketed to people looking to shed excess pounds.

However, many diet foods may do your waistline more harm than good.

Here are 11 diet foods often considered healthy, yet are bad for your waistline

1. Fresh-Pressed Juices

Many people drink fresh juices made of fruits, vegetables or a combination of both in order to improve health or boost weight loss.

Although not all juices are high in sugar and calories, most fruit juices are. Drinking fresh fruit juice regularly can contribute to excess sugar calories, which will end up causing weight gain.

Stick to juices that contain mostly non-starchy vegetables like kale or spinach and low-sugar fruits like lemon or cranberries to help control your blood sugars.

2. Low-Fat Flavored Yogurt

Fat is a filling nutrient that amplifies a food’s flavor. When fat is removed to reduce the   calorie content of certain products, sugar is usually added to heighten its taste.

Many low-fat yogurts are loaded with added sugars, which isn’t good for waistline or overall health. For instance,1 cup of Yoplait low-fat vanilla yogurt contains over 7 teaspoons (29 grams) of sugar. (2)

If you like dairy then full-fat dairy products are a much better option than low-fat dairy products.

3. Healthy Sweeteners

With many people cutting white sugar from their diet, alternative sweeteners marketed as “healthy” have become increasingly popular. Agave, honey, coconut sugar and date sugar are just some of the many sweeteners available.

Even though these products are often deemed healthy, going overboard with any sweetener, even if it’s natural, will contribute to weight gain.

Agave, for example, is higher in calories than table sugar and extremely high in fructose, a type of sugar that can contribute to fat accumulation in the liver. (3)

Because any type of added sugar can cause weight gain, it’s important to limit your total consumption of sugar, including alternative or natural sweeteners.

4. Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. However, since dried fruit is smaller and sweeter than whole fresh fruit, it can be easily overeaten.

Plus, a serving of dried fruit holds more sugar and calories than an equal amount of fresh fruit.

Therefore, although dried fruit is convenient, fresh fruit is a much better option.

5. Flavored Coffees

It’s well known that caffeine acts as a mild appetite suppressant, which leads many people to up their coffee intake when trying to drop weight. (4, 5)  Although coffee has many health benefits, you should refrain from certain coffee drinks when trying to lose weight.

Many such beverages — including lattes, frappes and cappuccinos — are loaded with sugar. For instance, a Starbucks Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte made with skimmed milk comes loaded with nearly 11 teaspoons (42 grams) of sugar. (6)

Even though a daily latte may seem harmless, sugary coffees could sabotage your weight loss efforts and add to your waistline.

6. Smoothies

Smoothies are all the rage in many of the wellness communities on social media these days. And while some smoothies are nutritious and exceptionally healthy, others are loaded with sugar.

For example, some premade smoothies, like Naked Blue Machine, contain nearly 14 teaspoons or 55 grams of sugar in just one 15 oz bottle. (7)

Additionally, smoothies can easily be consumed too quickly, stuffing your body with massive amounts of unnecessary empty calories from sugar.

7. Granola

Granola is a filling breakfast food beloved by many health-conscious people. However, while granola can contain nutritious ingredients like oats, nuts, seeds and coconut, many are saturated with added sugars and unhealthy fats.

To control your sugar intake, choose granolas with no more than 6 grams of sugar per serving and limit your intake.

Better still, make your own granola at home by baking oats, cinnamon, nuts, coconut and coconut oil at a low temperature.

8. Sports Drinks

Sports drinks can be beneficial for athletes and anyone participating in prolonged, intense workouts. However, these beverages are simply unnecessary for the average person.

Sports drinks can be filled with sugar and may contribute to excess empty calories that can add to your waistline.

Plus, any type of sugary beverage can spike your blood sugar level, which can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain. (8)

9. Reduced Fat Peanut Butter

Reduced fat peanut butter is lower in calories and fat than regular peanut butter.

Although this may seem like a good choice for weight loss, diet peanut butter regularly contains unhealthy oils and added sugars.

Therefore, natural peanut butter made with limited ingredients is a far better choice for weight loss. (9)

10. Low-Calorie Condiments

Low-calorie condiments like salad dressings and ketchup are notable hidden sources of added sugars that can contribute to your waistline.

Surprisingly, many low-calorie dressings are packed with sugar. For example, just 2 tablespoons of Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Honey Mustard dressing contain 2 teaspoons (8 grams) of sugar. (10)

Other condiments that tend to be high in sugar include barbecue and tomato sauces.

11. Low-Fat Foods

Many people try to cut back on fat when attempting to lose weight. However, research shows that this can be counterproductive.

One review determined that low-fat and nonfat foods contained more sugar than regular versions of the same foods. (11)

Consuming even small amounts of added sugar can lead to weight gain, blood sugar problems and an increased risk of heart disease. (12, 13)

What’s more, dietary restraints will likely increase the chances of future weight gain. (14)

The Bottom Line:

Although many diet foods are branded healthy, they are anything but and may destroy your weight loss efforts.

Products like Healthy Sweeteners, smoothies and low-fat foods can negatively impact your health and even add to your waistline.

Research shows that dieting is not the best way to lose weight. (15)  In fact, following a whole-foods diet rich in healthy fats, proteins and fresh produce is, by far, the best way to keep your weight in check.