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You Would Never Think Overeating Healthy Foods Could Make You Gain Weight, But An RD Says Yes

It's definitely possible to have too much of a good thing.

Think of some of the weight loss habits that work best for your daily life. You may be someone who counts macros, focuses on getting a lot of sleep, or follows a regular exercise routine. Whatever it is that you do, it's about finding what works best for you and your own personal goals.

While there are plenty of helpful habits out there, there are also some sneaky ones as well that may actually cause you to gain weight instead. These habits sometimes go completely unnoticed and can be extremely frustrating for those focusing on their health goals.

According to Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and member of our medical expert board, you would never think that overeating healthy food can make you gain weight, but it actually can!

"There is a common and understandable misconception that just because something is good for you, you can eat as much of it as you want, but this isn't necessarily true for some foods," says Goodson.


Although certain foods might be low in sugar or fat and be full of helpful nutrients, they can still cause you to consume too many calories if you're not careful with how much you're eating.

The CDC says that it's not about eating less food to lose weight, but about finding healthy foods that are lower in calories and still nutrient-dense.

"Veggies are always great, and I'd say eat as much as you want because you will likely be sick of them before you could ever eat too many calories from them," says Goodson. "However, foods like healthy fats, whole grains, and other high-caloric health foods may lead to weight gain and too many calories at the end of the day."

For example, Goodson says healthy fats like nuts, nut butter, avocados, and trail mix are great additions to a balanced diet, but it's easy to over-snack on these and forget about portion sizes.

The Back to Nature Harvest Blend is one of the healthiest trail mixes you can find at the grocery store, but it still comes packed with 11 grams of fat per 1/4 cup serving. When you consider the recommended daily intake of fat calories being about 44 to 77 grams, you can see how it would be easy to rack up too many calories from fat if you're not tracking your portion size.

Goodson also mentions that although "nutrient-dense" snacks like granola, dried fruit, or energy bars can sometimes help you meet your health goals, they can also lead to too many calories or added sugar if consumed in large quantities.

Even something as healthy as Purely Elizabeth's Ancient Grain Granola, which comes with natural sweeteners and is considered one of the healthiest granolas to buy, still has 5 grams of sugar and 130 calories per 1/3 cup serving.

Now before you go throwing away all your favorite granolas, energy bars, trail mixes, and healthy snacks, remember that these foods can still do a lot for your health goals if you monitor how much you're consuming.

"Many nutrient-rich foods that are considered high-quality also have a good amount of calories, but this doesn't mean you shouldn't eat them," says Goodson. "It just means that you may need to watch your serving size to make sure these foods are helping you meet your overall calorie needs."

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha