When I started this (my last) weight loss journey for the diet portion I focused on the foods that I CAN eat rather than the foods I can’t. And I have written about what I eat that has helped me lose 80 pounds in 8 months. But today I want to talk about the worst foods for weight loss.
Last September when I became my own diet coach and researched extensively on what to eat to lose weight and what not to eat to lose weight.
Worst Foods for Weight Loss
So here are the worst foods for weight loss – backed by science and research. You don’t have to follow this 100%. Consistency is better than perfection. The more days and weeks you make healthy choices and eat fewer calories the more results you will see.
Also read Top 5 Foods for Permanent Weight Loss
One of the worst foods for weight loss is sugar. I am not talking about the type of sugar found naturally in fresh fruit or vegetables. I am referring to refined sugar that is in sweet treats or added to many foods or recipes. Added sugar increases your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases, in addition to weight gain.
I had a sweet tooth, correction. I craved everything sweet. For me, the majority of my extra sugar came from tea with extra sugar, soft drinks, fruit juice, ice cream, chocolate, candy bars, and bubble tea.
There are some obvious places where you will find an abundance of sugar. However, sugar is hiding in places you least expect. Take a look at your pantry. If sugar is one of the first three ingredients on a food label, don’t eat it.
Also, manufacturers use many different names for sugar. In fact, there are 56 different names for sugar on food labels. The most common include, dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, sucrose, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, galactose, and maltose. Check out the other names for sugar on food labels.
Once you start reading labels you will be surprised or shocked to see the many products that you think are not very sweet but has a high sugar content.
If you eat a typical American diet, you are consuming a lot of sugar. The average American eats 152 pounds of sugar a year! This is equivalent to about 6 cups of sugar per week. There are 773 calories in one cup of sugar. So you if significantly reduce your consumption of sugar you could easily lose about one pound a week!
Artificial sweeteners are not a good substitute, In fact, they only leave you craving more sugar. Try replacing refined sugar with maple syrup to help with your weight loss efforts. Also, dark chocolate is a better alternative to milk chocolate. To satisfy your sweet tooth try whole fruit, Greek yogurt, or granola bars.
I don’t know how much weight I gained or lost as a direct result of sugar. But I do know that sugar is one of the worst offenders for weight loss and avoiding it helped me lose 80 pounds.
2. White Bread, White Pasta, and White Rice
Next on the list of the worst foods for weight loss are white bread, white pasta, and white rice. I still can’t believe that I often chose white bread over ‘brown’ bread, it simply tasted better to me. I frequently chose restaurants because they had the best bread. But white bread is highly processed, contains a lot of calories, and has no fiber.
The lack of fiber in white bread is a problem because it does not leave you feeling full and eventually, you will eat more. Also, white bread causes your blood sugar levels to rise and fall. Which then leads you to want more food. Hmm … why do restaurants give us free bread? Could it be that we will eat more food?
Studies have shown that eating white bread and other refined carbohydrates such as white pasta and white rice can cause excessive weight gain because of the reasons above. You are also at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
You don’t have to give up bread completely. Fortunately, there are excellent alternatives to white bread. My favorite is Ezekiel bread. It is made from sprouted whole grains and contains legumes. But most importantly, it actually tastes quite good.
There are also excellent alternatives to white pasta. You can try whole-wheat pasta, brown rice pasta, soba noodles, spelt pasta, or pasta made from beans like soybeans, mung beans, or back beans. If you love rice, as I do, consider buying brown rice. Instead of rice, I sometimes use quinoa, whole-wheat couscous, bulgur, farro, barley, whole wheat orzo, or riced cauliflower. Sweet potatoes are also a healthier alternative. Also, you can load up on extra vegetables instead of having rice.
3. Fried Foods
Want to reduce your calorie intake and lose weight? Try eliminating fried foods from your diet. Frying food typically adds a ton of oil to food. And this means it adds a ton of fat to food. For instance, a piece of fish can go from 105 calories to 230 calories if t is fried. Wow! that’s over double the calories.
It turns out that French fries and potato chips are the top two foods that cause weight gain according to the Harvard School of Public Health. And probably should be number one on your list of worst foods for weight loss.
We live in a culture where almost everything comes with a side of French fries. Sadly, that side of French fries is loaded with calories and much fat. Large French fries have over 500 calories. Imagine if you switch the French fries for leafy green vegetables. So if you stop eating large French fries every day, you could easily lose one pound a week.
Fried foods are one of the worst foods you can eat if you are trying to lose weight. Studies have shown that fried foods can significantly affect fat storage and the hormone that regulates hunger. And consequently increasing your chances of becoming obese.
4. Salty Foods
There is a very strong link between salty foods and weight gain. You may already know that eating too much salt causes you to retain water which shows up on the scale. But most importantly, extra salt is correlated with higher body fat, especially belly fat. Are you worried about belly fat? Then be sure you add salty food to your list of what not to eat to lose weight. Salty foods may also increase your blood pressure,
A lot of the salty food we love is also high in calories. Most restaurants, especially fast-food restaurants, over-salt their food. Sadly our taste buds have gotten used to the taste of too much salt. But it is possible to enjoy real food with little or no salt.
Salt is one of the worst foods for weight loss, but you can slowly decrease the amount of salt you use. The easiest way that I found was limiting restaurant meals and fast food.
I very rarely cooked. I was always too busy or too tired to cook. Plus, I am surrounded by restaurants of all types and it was faster and more convenient to eat out or order in. But I did a complete change last September. Now, I very rarely eat restaurant food and my weight reflects this change.
List of Worst Foods for Weight Loss
Here is a quick list of the worst foods to eat when you are trying to lose weight based on the information above:
- French fries
- Potato chips
- Onion rings
- Processed meat/Deli meat
- Sugary cereals
- Sugary drinks (including energy drinks)
- White bread
- White pasta
- White rice
- Milk chocolate
- Ice cream
- Yogurt (sweetened)
- Cream cheese
- Fried chicken
Replace the Worst Foods with Nutritious Foods
There you have it! You now know what are the worst foods for your weight loss program. They can all be considered junk foods, with empty calories, To meet your weight loss goals and improve your overall health choose lean meats, healthy fats like olive oil and soybean oil, leafy greens, Also remember to increase your physical activity.
Knowledge is power. And now you have the power to change your diet and get rid of excess body fat and lose weight.
I always say if I can do it, anyone can, including you. You got this! Please subscribe to get the Ultimate List of Foods for Weight Loss (with a bonus shopping list) to learn more about what to eat for permanent weight loss.
I always say if I can do it, anyone can, including you. You got this!
Oh the bread is always the one that gets me!
Hi Nicole, I know exactly how you feel. I still love bread! But fortunately, there are healthier options
Thanks for sharing this! Very informative, some hiccups on weight loss are really from the food we eat.
Hi Mae, you are right, if we get healthy, the weight will eventually come off.
The pictures are so enticing but I agree with you. We can always choose healthier alternatives whenever possible. Thanks for sharing this 🙂
Hi Ayushi, Yes, your are right. There are always healthier alternatives. We just have to look for them
Ugh, I have got to kick my sugar habit. Most of the foods on this list I can resist. And even when I’m craving bready stuff, I’ll make my own bread so I know exactly what’s in it (no extra sugar, that’s for sure!). But I have a really really bad sweet tooth. Sugar is my number one vice. Luckily as I get older, my body doesn’t tolerate any of these foods that well. If I eat like sh*t, I feel like sh*t. And I’m glad I kicked my soda habit years ago, but it definitely had long lasting effects. Great post! Straight, and to the point.
Hi Carolyn, thanks for your kind words. If sugar is your only vice, you are way ahead the rest of us. And since your body is so sensitive to unhealthy foods, use it to your advantage. You got this!
This list is going on the front of my fridge. I am so tempted by all these things but having a reminder like this will help me stay focused on healthier choices.
Hi Tami, the fridge door is a perfect place for this list. Good luck!
There are so many posts about the best foods for weight loss, someone had to write about the worst ones too! Well done!
Unfortunately, the majority of tasty foods are bad for weight loss
Thanks, Chris. You’re so right. The simple reason we eat unhealthy is because that stuff taste great! Thanks for your kind words.
Oh man!!!!!! I’ve been on my own weight loss journey and I too love sweets, especially chocolate. It’s definitely a challenge sometime. I’ve done intermittent fasting which has helped curve my desires a bit, but i’ve definitely subjected myself to an intense workout regime to offset the amount of sweets I eat. I know I can make my journey easier but I haven’t found a healthier adjustment yet.
Congrats on your success losing 80lbs thus far!!!
Thank you so much, Thomas. It sounds like you are well on your path to being healthy. If only chocolate didn’t taste so good! Lol. Keep working hard!
Sugar is my worst habit… That is something that is always the hardest for me to get rid of. I know I need to.
Hi Trisha, it seems that sugar is a problem for too many of us. But you can reduce your consumption a little bit at a time.
This is really interesting. I’ve been reading some conflicting things in the intermittent fasting community, however!
Hi Rachel, there are many experts and opinions out there. But I’m the end, it’s best to do what works for you
Great post and I am happy to hear about your weight loss! That’s amazing!
I really need to print the list of the worst foods and put it somewhere on my table as a reminder!
My biggest struggle is with salt and salty foods. I can say NO to chocolate, but almost never to chips… Ahhh