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Healthy Foods That Can Pack On The Pounds Fast

If you’re looking to lose some unwanted pounds and slim down your waistline, switching out processed and refined foods for more natural food sources is a great place to start. However, just because a natural food is something we’d consider to be “healthy” doesn’t mean you’ll automatically lose weight by eating it.

There are numerous examples of healthy foods that when consumed in excess can easily promote weight gain. In this post, I’m going to cover four of the biggest culprits. Remember fat loss requires more than just eating healthy. There needs to be a deficit in energy at some point in order for your body to call upon fuel reserves from stored body fat.

It’s all about creating short term restrictions and deficits with dietary changes and exercise to set the conditions right for fat burning. At the same time, there must be supportive nutrition to the cells and periods of “re-feeding” in order to avoid a down-regulation in metabolism. For now let’s address the four foods you want to be cautious with in your diet.


This has to top the list of healthy foods that can pack on the pounds fast. Nuts are an excellent source of nutrition and fuel for your body but a little goes a long way. Nuts are high in fat, fiber, and most importantly calories. Although most contain some protein, nuts are not an ideal source for protein in your diet. I’d categorize nuts as a fat source.

Your ideal sources are going to be almonds, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts. I’m not big on cashews, peanuts, and mixed nut varieties. Peanuts especially should be consumed in moderation as they’re actually not a nut but a legume.

Raw nuts are always going to be your preferred source although I typically consume both raw and dry roasted. For dry roasted varieties look for sources that are low in salt.

The reason you have to be cautious with nuts is due to the fat and calorie content. A handful of almonds (around 10-12 almonds) will provide approximately 8 grams of fat and 100 calories. That’s not a lot and if you were to consume 1 cup you’d be getting almost 1,000 calories and 70 plus grams of fat! Once again, nuts are a good food source for a snack or to add with a meal but a little goes a long way. You’re best advised to keep your servings sizes to a handful.

Also as a side note, I recommend eating nuts either by themselves or with another source of protein. I do NOT recommend eating nuts with starch or simple sugar carbohydrates. Think along the lines of maybe nuts with a hard-boiled egg or beef jerky. Purchase from Beef Jerky Online for premium grade and healthy jerky meat you can enjoy eating.

From a fat loss perspective you’re better off consuming fats and carbohydrates separately as excess blood sugar and dietary fat combined is an instant recipe for fat storage. Once again, this depends on energy demands, insulin sensitivity, the amount consumed and other factors.

It’s just a pretty good rule of thumb to go by when possible. You’re still better off to eat a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit than some crackers or other processed food so put in all in perspective.

Trial Mix

This sort of goes back to what I’ve been talking about with not looking to combine lots of dietary fat with sugars. Trail mix provides a heavy punch of energy and fuel, but unless you need the energy you know where it’s going….right to fat cells. Trail mix makes sense if you’re on a long hike or something like that, but it’s generally not a good choice for a mid-morning or afternoon snack.

The combination of nuts and seeds with dried fruits, granola, or heaven forbid M&M’s can provide a wallop in calories from fats and sugar. If you were to eat a whole bag of Planters Trail Mix (Nuts & Chocolate), which is not hard to do, you’d get a whopping 900 calories, 72 grams of sugar, and 54 grams of fat. Can we just say it’s best to leave this stuff alone?

Making your own trail mix from assorted nuts and seeds (without the dried fruit, granola, or M&M’s) is going to be your best bet. This way it’s just fat and fiber without the sugar. Once again a little goes a long way so don’t overdo it.

Peanut Butter

While I’m personally more of a fan of almond butter than peanut butter, there can still be a place for it in a healthy diet. As you can imagine it’s the fat content that you need to be concerned with. A serving size of most peanut butter’s (2 tbsp), is going to provide approximately 180 calories and 16 grams of fat.

Of course you’re always better off consuming natural peanut butter over the processed Jiff, Peter Pan, and other varieties. Sugar content differs from product to product so you’ll have to read the labels. There’s a new peanut butter alternative on the market called PB2 which I’ve wrote about in a previous blog post. It’s basically a powdered form of peanut butter with significantly less fat. This can be very helpful for individuals who like the taste of peanut butter and are looking to keep dietary fat on the low side.

Dried Fruit

This is something I almost never eat with the exception of raisins from time to time. Dried fruit is high in sugar and void of a lot of the nutritional benefit you’d get from eating the fruit fresh in its natural form. There’s just not much of a cause to consume dried fruit when you could eat fresh fruit.

Be cautious when buying dried fruit as some varieties are actually sugar coated. As if there wasn’t enough sugar already! Again if you were going on a long hike or doing some extended physical activity outdoors I can see packing along some dried fruit for convenience. It’s certainly better than a Snickers bar. I just don’t see it as a good choice for a mid-morning or afternoon snack.

Bottom line…

There are certainly other foods we could add to this list. These were simply four of the biggest culprits I see being misused or overdone. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to let me know. I’m always here to help in any way I can.

Shane Doll is a certified personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Fitness Training Studios. If you’re looking for a personal trainer in Charleston, you can receive a no-obligations personal training trial and consultation without risking a dime. Over 1000 Charleston area residents have transformed their bodies following our unique burst training workouts and simplified nutrition programs. Experience the Shaping Concepts difference today.

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Category: Nutrition.