Often time the value of a food, or whether or not it will help you lose weight, is determined by the calories. We definitely need to be concerned about how much we’re putting in our mouths, but not all calories are created equal. Here are three foods that look like a bargain in the calorie department, but could end up coming back to bite you in the long run.

Gatorade G2
The first ingredient after water is sugar. Other ingredients include two (2) artificial sweeteners, sucralose and aspartame, artificial flavoring, and couple different food colors. One bottle is 75 calories, which doesn’t seem that bad. But 100% of those calories are coming from sugar. You’re also getting heightened flavor from artificial sweeteners, which have been linked to diet sabotage. Eating Well magazine cited a study done at the University of Texas that revealed people who drank two or more diet sodas every day were six times more likely to have an increased waist circumference. Think of Gatorade’s G2 as an uncarbonated “diet’ish” soda.

Instead: Try adding a splash of orange juice to water. If you’re really in need of electrolytes, add a little bit of sea salt (a little goes a long way).

Keebler 100 Calorie Right Bites
Aside from having no nutritional value whatsoever, the first ingredient is always one to be leery of: enriched flour. Enriched means that the ingredient, usually flour, has been stripped down to nothing and completely refined. On the back end, vitamins and minerals are added back into it. Much less absorbable and much less healthy, the word “enriched” looks much more charming than it really is. What’s more, this little pack of cookies contains trans fats. Whether you’re eating them because it’s an easy go-to for something sweet, or it’s getting packed in your kids’ lunches because it looks like a less-lethal snack, it’s truly unhealthy and will not help.

Instead: Have a square or two of dark chocolate instead. Your heart will love you for it. Packing a lunch for your kids? Try surprising them with a darker chocolate. Start at 60% and work your way up. They just might like it!

Nabisco Ritz Crackers
In just five Ritz crackers, you get enriched flour, sugar and trans fats! If you sit down and eat more than a serving size, or just five crackers, you’ll be chomping down on over a gram of trans fats. What’s more the combination of enriched flour and sugar will likely spike your blood glucose levels, creating a less than desirable insulin reaction that could lead a larger waistline.

Instead: If you’re in the mood for something crunchy and salty, try air-popped popcorn with sea salt and a little olive oil. If that doesn’t do the trick, get a little creative and make a big bowl of kale chips or green bean “fries” (all three for much less than a box of Ritz, too!).

Traci is a nationally recognized health and fitness expert who has been featured on The TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and wellness coaching, as well as private training. Contact Traci here.

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