You made a plan, chose a diet, and set out on a fat loss goal. Little do you know that your “healthy” choices are actually the reason why you can’t seem to lose the fat.

“I remember one particularly frazzled night when I ate the whole box,” a friend recently admitted as we discussed the past few decades’ health fads. Everyone at the table agreed the low-fat craze, permeated by those horrendous fat-free cookies, constituted the biggest fraud.

“They tasted terrible,” my friend continued about that box of fat-free devil’s food cookies, “but I couldn’t stop myself.”

Thankfully, in 2017 we’ve made huge nutrition leaps. We know dietary fat can be very healthy, agave isn’t a healthy sweetener, popcorn is a GMO nightmare, and eating one 100-calorie pack of cookies can very easily become three or four packs.

Knowing we’ve become savvier, manufacturers spend major money to convince us unhealthy foods with bold bogus health claims are somehow good for us.

Let’s use these five things as an example. While they can be healthy, manufacturers often sabotage them with food intolerances, bulking agents, and sugar, sugar, sugar, making them impostors that sabotage your waistline and overall health.

smoothies

1. Smoothies

Fresh berries, low in fat, maybe a banana and even a scoop of protein: How could you not love those big-chain store smoothies? Easy, starting with their massive sugar load.

One 16-ounce commercial smoothie can pack a whopping 12 teaspoons of sugar, essentially making them adult milkshakes. Skip ’em and make your own fruit smoothie using fresh or frozen berries, avocado, unsweetened coconut or almond milk, and maybe a scoop of protein powder (see #5).

Check out these homemade green smoothie recipes that’ll help curb sugar and calories, but give you an immunity boost.

green drink

2. Green drinks

Plain vegetable juice tastes terrible. Manufacturers know this, so they ramp up potentially wince-worthy concoctions with fruit, spiking sugar amounts in the bargain. One popular commercial “green juice” — which is actually mostly fruit — contains almost 12 teaspoons of sugar in a 15.2 ounce bottle.

Save money and sugar load by making your own fresh-pressed juice (try this electrolyte-replenishing green juice recipe to start) with mostly green vegetables and a little lemon for zing.

balsamic vinaigrette

3. Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic became a healthier option to the plethora of creamy and sugary dressings, yet most commercial varieties are made with white wine vinegar, caramel coloring, and thickeners like cornstarch and gum, ramping up the calories and sugar.

Keep it simple and douse your salad with extra-virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, or reach for any of these homemade salad dressings that will ensure you never buy bottled again.

protein shake ingredients

4. Protein Shakes

Studies show a meal-replacement shake can help you lose weight and keep it off, yet many commercial protein powders contain added sugar, artificial sweeteners, soy, dairy, and other ingredients that provide a longer shelf life while shortening yours.

Instead, scrutinize labels carefully and look for non-dairy, non-soy plant- or animal-based protein powder, ideally with about a gram of sugar.

greek yogurt with berries

5. Yogurt

Plain yogurt carries a tart, acquired taste, so many commercial varieties come livened up with fruit, honey, and other ingredients that massive increase their sugar load. If you don’t believe me, read your label: One tiny cup of fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt can contain as much sugar as a candy bar!

If you’re not dairy-intolerant, unsweetened plain Greek yogurt provides protein, healthy fat, and gut-boosting probiotics. If you can’t tolerate dairy, no-sugar-added coconut yogurt makes a great alternative. If you need to dial up the sweetness, stir in some fresh or frozen berries, or try out any of these unexpected recipes that use Greek yogurt.

What supposedly healthy food did you later learn was unhealthy?