Diana Kelly Levey

7 Surprising Weight Gain Culprits

pretzels as low-fat foods and weight gain

August 10, 2019 | Categories:

You think your diet is nutritious and your fitness routine is on the right track so why are you packing on the pounds or struggling to shed the weight? Read on to learn how aspects of day-to-day lifestyle could be interfering with your ability to lose weight. Avoid these 11 foods diet and nutrition experts never eat.

Learn 7 Surprising Reasons You Gain Weight

Low-Fat Foods

While the benefits of good-for-you fats—like monounsaturated fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids—are well known, why are we still afraid of them? If you find yourself snacking on low-fat chips, fat-free muffins, and fat-free pretzels instead of raw nuts, veggies and hummus, or an apple and peanut butter, your scale might be stalled. Healthy fats help keep you satisfied longer and can even fight cravings. Eating monounsaturated fats (like avocados, nut butter, nuts, and olive oil) can help reduce belly fat as well, according to research.

Diet Soda

Is diet soda still the preferred beverage of choice? Science keeps linking artificial sweeteners to metabolic health problems, including an increased BMI and possibly cardiovascular health issues, as found in a meta-analysis review that was released last year. Swap out diet sodas for water, sparkling water, or unsweetened iced tea.

Flavored Water

Drinking a bottled beverage after your workout to enhance recovery, but forgetting to look at the nutrition label? Whether your drink is a sports-performance beverage or flavored water that says it’s infused with vitamins, if it contains sugar that could be the sneaky source of calories causing your weight gain. Unless you’re training for an endurance event, drink plain water and skip the sports beverages with added sugar.


While whole potatoes do have healthy minerals and vitamins—and even a resistant starch that can help with weight loss—it’s time to stop kidding yourself when you think potato chips are part of a healthy diet. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, potato chips topped the list on dietary factors that were strongly associated with weight gain over a four-year period.


When you’re experiencing a lot of drama in your life and stress is permeating your life, you might find that even eating a healthy diet isn’t translating into scale success. That’s because stress causes the hormone cortisol to surge through your body, basically saying, ‘We’re in danger! We have to get out of this situation! But, when you’re under constant stress in your work environment or personal life, that constant surge of cortisol messes with your body’s hunger levels. A University College London longitudinal study of over 2,500 men and women over age 54, those who had the highest levels of cortisol (found in hair samples) tended to be overweight and have more belly fat than people with lower levels of cortisol. Perhaps that’s because when we’re stressed we’re more likely to overeat and probably high-fat, sugary comfort foods. Find healthy ways to handle your stress, like exercise, talking to a loved one, reading, listening to music, or meditation.

Late-Night TV

Many of us are guilty of occasionally staying up too late watching a favorite guest on a late-night talk show, or binge-watching our favorite shows until we realize it’s way past our bedtimes, but it could be the reason your weight loss has plateaued. Researchers have been looking at the ties between not enough sleep and weight gain in the past decade and found a direct connection, according to the National Institutes of Health. Not getting enough sleep plays a role in your brain’s function—affecting the motivation and reward circuits in the brain and sparking a desire for tasty foods. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night and see if logging quality zzz’s doesn’t help kickstart your weight loss.

Processed Meat

Bacon at breakfast, a hot dog at lunch and pasta with sausage at dinner could be a few of the reasons your pants don’t fit. Not only are those meats packed with sodium, but processed meats (including lunch meats, corned beef, jerky, canned meat, even salted fish and meat-based sauces) could be causing weight gain. One study that examined over 8,000 diets and incidents of diabetes found that subjects who consumed any processed meats were thirty-eight percent more likely to develop diabetes. Swap these foods for organic meats or free-range proteins whenever possible, and consider processed foods a special exception in your diet, not the norm. Here are 8 healthy snacks to keep at your office.


Read the full article on Doctor Oz.


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