As if dieting wasn’t hard enough, trying to be aware of what currently falls under the “clean eating” food list or the “weight promoting” category can be difficult. With so many mixed messages and information overload, even the most health conscious eater can get confused from time to time. Here are 3 foods you should absolutely avoid when you are trying to lose weight! -1: Cereal Would you start your morning with a can of root beer? If you find yourself grimacing at the idea of it then you might want to switch up your morning routine. Many store bought boxed cereals contain a laundry list of ingredients, including preservatives, salt, artificial coloring and of course lots of added sugar (which will make you crave more sugar). Take a quick scan at the back of your cereal label and you can most likely find several different kinds of sugar listed within the first five ingredients. Sugar, brown rice sugar, corn syrup, modified corn molasses, all sugar pseudonyms, making your attempt to beat your sugar craving difficult and likely unsuccessful. The way the body and brain processes sugar is different than other calories; it doesn’t induce feelings of fullness in the same way as other nutrients do. This can cause us to feel hungrier throughout the day, and even lead to overeating and weight gain. -2: Diet Sodas: Avoiding chemicals and artificial sweeteners should be a top priority when working towards creating healthy habits and reaching long term weight loss goals. Diet sodas have actually been linked to weight gain. They contain artificial sweeteners which are much sweeter than sugar and lack essential nutrients, doing little to satisfy cravings. Our bodies continue to crave and search (unsuccessfully) for the source of sweetness, setting us up for a front row seat on the blood sugar roller-coaster, leading to sugar cravings, energy dips and blood sugar spikes. This chemical cocktail confuses the body, and on some levels us as well, by convincing ourselves to think that we are “saving” calories throughout the day. Unfortunately, we most likely will pay back these “free” calories with interest later in an effort to compensate for calories missed during the day. -3: Fancy Coffee Drinks: Some good old fashion bold-roast black coffee can be great for your health, however, coffee becomes problematic when you start adding loads of whipped toppings, creamers, milk and sugar with each cup. A large Dunkin Donuts frozen cappuccino contains 123 grams of carbs, 105 grams of sugar and 610 calories, that’s the caloric equivalent of four Twinkies! Many of the popular coffee house drinks, such as lattes and flavored frozen beverages, are full of sugar and unnecessary calories. High calorie coffee drinks are loaded with empty calories that can be equivalent to a whole meals worth of calories. The artificial ingredients found in many of these fancy drinks are damaging to our health and waistline.