If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s easy to know the foods you’re “supposed” to stay away from. With donuts, pizza and soft drinks it’s pretty easy to understand why you shouldn’t have them, even if they might be hard to give up sometimes. But what about other foods that are sabotaging your efforts? The ones that don’t seem bad on the surface, but when you dive in, you find out how difficult they really can make weight loss.

Here are 3 foods you probably didn’t know you should stay away from if you’re looking to lose weight:

Granola and Granola Bars

Granola sounds great! The advertisements are stacked with adventurous people in the outdoors hiking and doing other athletic things — so it’s gotta be great, right?

Well, not so fast!

Granola and granola bars tend to be stacked with sugar and usually turn out to be nothing more than very well-marketed candy bars. If your granola bar tastes “just like a candy bar,” it’s probably because it’s stacked with all the same ingredients as a candy bar and packed with calories.

If you’re outside trekking through the mountains, a granola here or there won’t kill you, but otherwise you might want to cut back a little (or a lot).

Skim Milk

Got milk? I hope not!

Milk (especially skim milk) is massively insulinogenic. That’s a big word that means it spikes your insulin levels as soon as you consume it in order to keep your blood sugar level within a normal range.

So what do high insulin levels do? Here’s a good in-depth explanation, but put simply, they tell your body to switch from “fat-burning” mode to “carb-burning” mode and tell your body to store any extra glucose that your body doesn’t need as fat.

Because most people’s diets consume more fuel than they need and because our foods are so high in sugar, there’s usually a lot of glucose left over that ends up being stored as fat. In the end, chronically high insulin levels promote weight gain, inhibit fat loss and are a pre-cursor to type 2 diabetes. And milk is one of the foods that causes the most dramatic spikes. Yikes!

Instead of a big tall glass of skim milk for breakfast, stick to water, tea or coffee for your breakfast drinks instead.

Potatoes

Potatoes are incredibly high on the glycemic index, which measures the effect a food will have on your blood sugar and corresponding insulin response. On the conservative side, potatoes are an 82 (for points of reference, sugar scores 100 and pizza is an 80).

On top of that, they’re packed with calories (150+ per serving) and carbohydrates (37g and up) as well. Both of which, in excess, contribute to weight gain.

If you must eat potatoes, go for their much healthier cousin, the sweet potato, for preference (and only in moderation). However, if you want to keep things simple, the next time you make steak and potatoes, stay away from the spuds and add some greens on the side instead.

What other foods do people typically assume are healthy, but aren’t? Have your say in the comments.

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Featured photo credit: QuintanaRoovia Flickr

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