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Six Foods that Sabotage Diets

Are you eating well?

"I eat healthy, really! I have no idea why I'm gaining weight." It's a phrase I've heard hundreds of times over the years. People THINK they're eating well, but what many don't realize is it's the little things that can do them in. Are you making choices that sabotage your healthy plans?

Here are six foods most people don't even think about that can destroy the best-laid diet plans. (If you spot something you're eating, change it!)

Maple Syrup Maple Syrup. It's rich, smooth and makes pancakes and waffles taste amazing. It also holds a whopping 210 calories and almost 48 grams of sugar (nearly an entire day's supply) in a quarter-cup serving. Pour more than a quarter cup out and you can easily double the calories on your plate.

INSTEAD, you should reach for sugar-free syrups. Most only have about 40 calories per serving and none of the sugar that can cause you to crash an hour after eating it.

2% Milk 2% Milk. Picking out a healthy cereal is only half the battle. Pour two cups of 2% milk on it and you've just added 224 calories, 9.8 grams of fat and 6.1 grams of saturated fat (that's half a typical person's daily allowance of saturated fat.) What's worse is most people don't measure, so they can easily end up pouring three or more cups over the top without thinking.

INSTEAD, switch to fat-free milk and use a measuring cup. Two cups of fat-free have only 181 calories and none of the fat or saturated fat that 2% does.

Coffee Specialty Coffee Drinks. A tall (12 oz.) caffé latte from Starbucks with a shot of vanilla and whipped cream has 430 calories, 18 grams of fat and 44 grams of sugar. That's more fat than two McDonald's hamburgers and more sugar than three Dairy Queen vanilla ice cream cones.

INSTEAD, ask for fat-free milk, sweeten it with sugar-free vanilla syrup and skip the whipped cream. You'll end up with a drink that has only 100 calories, no fat and 14 grams of sugar.

Regular Mayonnaise Regular Mayonnaise. A single tablespoon has 5 grams of fat and almost 60 calories. Put a typical serving of three tablespoons on your sandwich for lunch and you've just added 180 calories and 15 grams of fat on top of what might have been a healthy meal.

INSTEAD, toss the mayo in the trash. Newer fat free versions taste virtually identical to the original without the fat and only 10 calories per tablespoon. Don't tell your family it's fat-free and they'll never know.

Dressings Dressings. Salad dressings are a nutritional minefield. Add just two tablespoons of Blue Cheese, Caesar, Creamy Italian, French, Ranch, Russian or Thousand Island on top of your greens and you're adding at least 150 calories and 14 grams of fat to lunch. Pour it right out of the bottle and you're probably getting double that on your food. Even innocent-sounding honey mustard has 120 calories and 12 grams of fat per serving.

INSTEAD, ask for balsamic vinaigrette. Two tablespoons have only 50 calories and 5 grams of fat. When that's not a choice (or you just don't like vinaigrette), ask for a fat-free version of your favorite. If neither of those are options, get the dressing on the side and do NOT pour it on top of anything. Instead, dip your fork in first, and then spear your food. You'll get a measured taste in each bite and avoid giving your food a fat bath.

Sports Drinks Sports Drinks. If you don't work outside in the hot sun or exercise for more than an hour and a half in the gym, you probably don't need a sports drink. A typical 32 oz. bottle will set you back 200 calories, give you more than 55 calories of sugar and 800 milligrams of sodium (1/3 your daily allowance).

INSTEAD, opt for the sugar-free drinks like Crystal Light or Wylers. If you don't want artificial ingredients, add lemon, lime or orange slices to a bottle of water.

Small choices can create huge changes. It's up to you to make the right ones.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.