86ºF

Are your snacks sabotaging your diet?

Registered dietitian Shreela Sharma from UTHealth School of Public Health says there are some common snacks that could keep you from losing weight. You might think you're making healthy choices, but she says there's a little bit of a warning attached to some of your seemingly healthy choices.

1. Peanut butter

Peanut butter will stick to your waist just as much as it does to your mouth unless there's limited, easy-to-understand ingredients.

“All you have to do is look at the ingredient list and if it says ‘peanuts,’ that's all you need,” Sharma said.

Added sugar and oil are the enemy in pre-packaged peanut butter. Instead, Sharma recommends making your own nut butter at the grocery store.

2. Trail mix and granola

Reading the nutrition label is critical to avoiding unwanted sugar, sodium and calories in these otherwise healthy snacks.

“The rule of thumb is less than three grams of sugar per serving,” Sharma said.

That immediately nixes the trail mixes and granola bars made with candies or dried fruit.

“You want to go with any granola bar where you can actually understand the ingredient list that's listed on the back.”

If it's an ingredient you don't know, Sharma said that likely means it's one that experts don't fully understand the impact it could have on our health.

3. Zero-calorie drinks

Most of these drinks use artificial sweeteners to enhance the taste, but Sharma said that’s tricking your brain into craving more sugar.

“You may not be consuming calories, but you are consuming a product that's not natural and may have a negative impact on your health,” Sharma said. “You're conditioning your taste buds for the sweet taste of the food regardless of whether it's calorie-free or with calories."

4. Cereal

Cereals can also hide a lot of sugar in them. The same rule of thumb applies, look for less than three grams of sugar per serving on the nutrition label.

“Some cereals have six, nine, even 12 grams of sugar,” Sharma said.

She recommends adding fresh fruit to whole grain cereal to make it sweeter and more filling.

However, make sure you’re only eating the recommended serving size. Sharma suspects most people consume double the portion listed on the label.