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Every day, we make decisions about what to eat and when to eat, yet most of us are completely in the dark about what influences how much we choose to eat. To some degree, everyone is guilty of unhealthy mindless eating, which is triggered by hidden cues that persuade us to overeat. By increasing your awareness of certain seemingly innocent triggers, you can become a healthy mindful eater and stop consuming unnecessary calories that add up to unwanted pounds. Here, in descending order, are the top 5 habits that are making you gain weight and how to break them.

The #5 Habit Making You Fat: You’re a Low-fat Label Lover

Here’s an incredible fact: Since the "cut down on fat” food craze began roughly 30 years ago, the obesity rate in America has more than doubled. Of course, many other factors are at play in fueling this health crisis, but what many people don’t realize is that “fat-free” does not mean low in calories. In fact, to make up for lack of flavor, manufacturers tend to add more sugar, flour and thickeners to fat-free products, which boosts calorie content. The fats in these foods are replaced with low-performing white carbs that digest quickly and are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. This causes the classic sugar high and crash followed by a hunger rebound.

Lastly, studies show that people often view a low-fat label as a green light to eat much more than they normally would, unaware that low-fat versions of foods are usually not much lower in calories than the regular versions.

Break the Habit

Stay away from deceptively low-fat packaged foods like cookies and chips. Only choose low-fat food items that are not highly processed, such as low-fat dairy products including milk, cheese and yogurt.

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