25 Foods You Should Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

If you are trying to lose some weight it pays to eat right not just in small amounts. For healthy, permanent weight loss, it is not only important to eat foods in the right amount but it is essential you regulate the kind of foods that you eat as well.

bad foods for dietsMost of us have experienced the effects of denying ourselves our favorite foods when dieting. Denial of those types of foods that you really want to eat is not a great long-term strategy for weight loss because it ultimately leads to binge eating and keeps you on the dieting merry-go-round.

Eating most foods in moderation, or slowly reducing your food intake, and allowing yourself the occasional treat is the best way to guarantee you reach and maintain a healthy weight.

However, when you are dieting and trying to lose weight there really are some food types that you positively must banish from diet – at least until you reach your weight loss goal. Only then should you consume them, in small quantities and very infrequently.

25 Foods to Avoid When Dieting

Although I have already covered 10 high calorie foods to avoid when dieting I thought I would expand on the concept to include foods that can hinder your diet for reasons other than just calories.

So, let’s take a look at 20 foods you should absolutely cut from your diet while you are trying to lose weight.

Alcohol

Alcohol provides, what are known as, empty calories – and it supplies a lot of them!

Most alcoholic drinks contain more calories than protein and carb foods providing a whopping 7 calories per gram. But the increase in calories you get from drinking alcohol isn’t the only problem.

no alcohol allowedCalories from alcohol are the first thing your body burns before it turns to calories from food or fat stores. As these are empty calories they do not give you any real energy benefit so you must consume additional calories to get the energy you need.

As the body burns the calories from alcohol before any others the remaining calories from the food you eat are stored as fat. So when you drink alcohol not only do you not burn off excess fat reserves but you actually add to them.

It seems that beer is the worst culprit for weight gain – though all alcohol should be avoided when you are on a weight loss program.

If you positively, absolutely must celebrate a special occasion with a glass or two then avoid beer and opt for wine.

Artificially sweetened drinks

Artificial sweeteners offer the same sweetness as sugar but without the carbs and calories. What could be wrong with that?

Well, there is a suggestion that artificial sweeteners may actually encourage weight gain.

Scientific research that was presented at ENDO 2018, the 100th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago, shows that artificial sweeteners may actually increase the production of fat cells.

The researchers in the study, Consuming low-calorie sweeteners may predispose overweight individuals to diabetes, found that artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, commonly found in diet foods and drinks, increases GLUT4 in these cells which promotes the accumulation of fat in the body.

There is also a lot of discussion about the health risks associated with using artificial sweeteners.

Bacon

Bacon is full of animal fat and cholesterol, just look at the marbling fat when you fry it.

Bacon has a lot of fat considering the size. It is the fat that gives it its taste and also what makes it so addictive.

Due to the high fat content bacon is very high in calories as well.

Not only that, but bacon has a lot of sodium that can cause problems to hypertensive people and can lead to high blood pressure due to excess water retention.

There are bacon favored plant-based foods that are just as tasty and that are much better for your waist.

Bread

Bread is a diet-killer.

Bread is a high-carb food that leads to weight gain.

In addition to its fattening qualities most bread has been stripped of its natural nutrients and fiber. What’s more bread is often packed with unnecessary fattening ingredients like cow’s milk, fructose, hydrogenated oils and other trans fats.

breadBread, especially white bread, is a highly processed carb food. When you eat processed carbs, your blood sugar spikes and your insulin levels surge. Then as the energy from the carbs is depleted your blood sugar crashes leaving you feeling lethargic and tired which leads you to eat more high-processed carbs to bolster your energy levels.

This carb yo-yo/up-and-down repeat eating creates a negative cycle of energy boost and energy depletion which leaves you feeling tired for large parts of the day.

While brown or wholegrain bread is better than white it is still not a good choice when you are dieting.

Just ditch the bread completely!

Candy

Candy bars at the break room will do you no good. Candy bars and sweets are packed full of sugar. Sugar makes you fat because the excess calories, from it that you do not burn, get stored by the body as fat.

Some candy bars actually offer more fat, including saturated fat, than your daily recommend value.

If that was bad enough they also have added oils and high-carb refined flour.

Candy bars are usually the first choice when you are felling energy-depleted because the sugar in them gives you an instant energy boost and, let’s face it, they taste good.

However, like the yo-yo cycle created by high-carb foods such as bread, the sugar hits given by candy produce the same negative effects. Eating a candy may give you an instant energy boost but when the sugar hit wears off you’ll feel worse than before. This type of crash can lead to headaches as well as feelings of extreme tiredness.

Candy is not even nutritious despite its high calorie count. Excess candy abuse can also lead to the development of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance due to the high sugar content.

Cookies & biscuits

Cookies and biscuits are filled with some very unhealthy and fattening ingredients like added sugar and refined flour.

cookies and biscuitsLike pastries and cakes they can also contain trans fats and are extremely high in calories. Some are filled with saturated fats from butter and milk.

Just a four biscuits with a beverage can add up to 200 extra calories onto your daily intake.

Dairy

Dairy is a nightmare for dieters.

Most dairy products are extremely fattening.

Being high in both calories and saturated fat, even small amounts of dairy products, from milk to cheese and cream, will quickly undo all your dieting efforts.

Many experts argue that dairy has profoundly bad health ramifications that outweigh any good benefits it offers. The Huffington Post article about a Harvard study on milk consumption summed it up perfectly by saying “Milk: It Doesn’t Do a Body Good”.

As all dairy products are produced from milk it stands to reason to avoid them. I have covered the dangers of cow’s milk consumption and the health risks associated it with it in this post.

In addition most dairy products are packed with extra sugar and a myriad of other ingredients that will pile on extra calories.

Fast food

Fastfood is chock-full of saturated fats especially if you are eating hamburgers and French fries or breaded fat-fried chicken wings.

Additionally, the trans-fat that is often found in fast food fare can increase the bad cholesterol load in your system while at the same time keeping the good cholesterol at bay.

Trans fat and saturated fat offer no nutritional value at all and are loaded with calories and health risks.

In short fast food has a very bad impact on health as it leads to weight gain very quickly and may even cause chronic diseases down the line.

When you are on a diet and trying to lose weight just stay away from fast food completely.

French fries

French fries are made form high carb potatoes.

Of course potatoes on their own are not bad for your diet (when they are prepared correctly). In large quantities though they will increase your carb intake substantially. However, when you deep fry them in oil them become downright dangerous to your diet.

Apart from the high calories and high carb content you will be unlikely to remove all the oil from those fries so you will have to deal those extra calories too.

French fries are high in calories and should be substituted with baked potato wedges if you really need to eat something similar.

Fried food

Fried food offers all the same dietary dangers as french fries and for all the same reasons.

Fried food leads to an increase in cholesterol.

According to Leah Cahill, PhD, assistant professor at Dalhousie University in Canada, fried foods can increase the risk of a person developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease as well as obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

The process of frying food negatively alters the quality of that food and greatly increases its caloric content.

Bake the foods you usually fry or grill them where appropriate.

Frozen meals

Frozen meals are initially made with fresh ingredients. However to prolong the shelf life of these meals food manufacturers often load them with sodium and other preservatives.

frozen mealsSingle portion frozen meals are often not enough in quantity to leave you filling full even though they are high in calories.

Most of these meals will substitute healthy ingredients with fat for taste. This creates a small meal that is not satisfying but that is high in fat and calories.

Because the meal is small many people will add “sides” such as french fries or bread making the meal even higher in calories and carbs.

If you live a lifestyle that doesn’t allow you to cook everyday then consider cooking dinners in advance and freezing them rather than buying them frozen.

Fruit juices (store bought)

Although many people lose large amounts of weight very quickly on liquid diets, fruit choices in general are not good when you are trying to lose weight. This applies mostly to store bought juices but even some home made varieties are very high in natural sugars.

Store bought fruit juices are packed with added sugar and/or sweeteners. They are very high in calories.

If you love to drink fruit juice then make your own but avoid very high fructose fruits.

High-carb foods

There is a misconception many people have about carbs. Many people believe that carbs are bad or in some way the enemy. This is simply not true.

We need carbs to function properly and carbs are needed to help break down protein. Carbs are good. They only become a problem when consumed in very large quantities.

high carb foodsThere are many high carb foods that are very good for you. Just be aware that eating any type of carb in large quantities they will lead to weight gain.

Many of the  high carb foods that are regulars in people’s diet are listed in this article but a simple quick look at the labels on products as you shop will help start to develop a sense of which foods are higher in carbs than others. That will way you will know what to avoid.

High-fructose fruit

Fruit is often touted as a great diet food but many fruits contain large amounts of the natural sugar fructose.

Just the same way the sugar in candy has negative effects on your energy levels and weight loss efforts so too can high-fructose fruits cause the same effects.

Of course taking a piece of fruit instead of a candy, cookie or cake is definitely the better option but that does not mean you can overindulge. You should be careful not to overload on fruit. This includes your daily smoothies.

Just as with juicing, you should make your own smoothies to ensure they are helping your weight loss instead of hindering it. Store bought smoothies are a “no-no”.

Pasta

Although there are experts who argue about the weight gaining properties of pasta be aware that it packed with carbs. The simple fact is, too many carbs leads to weight gain.

Pasta is also made from refined wheat (see section on Refined grains).

So not only do the cabs mean high calories but the refined wheat means reduced nutritional value and no real fiber.

Pasta is OK in small quantities, but in order to fill full after eating your meal you will usually need a larger amount of pasta than what is normally consider a standard serving.

In my opinion it is best to just avoid pasta and pasta-based meals while you are trying to lose weight and then only eat it in small quantities once you have reached your goal weight.

Pastries & cakes

Pastries and cakes, like cookies and biscuits are packed with unhealthy ingredients like added sugar and refined flour. They are extremely high in calories.

pastries and cakesMany also contain artificial trans fats which are harmful to your health and have been linked to a myriad of diseases. They also have very little nutritional value.

As well as the harmful ingredients you are ingesting, you are also not going to fill full or satiated after eating pastries and cakes.

If you’re craving something sweet, reach for a piece of fruit instead remembering to avoid high fructose varieties.

Pizza

Stay away from pizza when dieting.

Pizza is a very popular fast food especially in the USA and Britain.

Most people are aware that ordering a fast-food pizza is not a good idea when on a diet. But, what they are unaware of is that commercially made store-bought pizzas, including frozen ones, are just as bad and sometimes worse.

All pizzas are extremely high in calories and almost all store-bought and frozen pizzas contain unhealthy ingredients such as as highly processed cheese, highly refined flour and processed meat. Most commercially made pizzas also contain added sugar and sodium.

Another problem with pizzas is that we rarely eat just one slice.

If you want to enjoy a pizza you should make your own at home using organic ingredients and using smaller quantities.

Potatoes

Potatoes are healthy and filling and they are filled with fiber and nutrients. However, they are high in carbs and have a high glycemic index.

It is perfectly fine to eat potatoes while you are on a diet as long as you eat them in reasonable quantities and only boil or bake them.

Stay away from potato salad that is loaded with fattening mayo and never fry potato wedges, eat french-fries and don’t eat a roasted potato (as it is cooked in fat or fried in deep pan oil).

Potato chips

Think of a potato chip as a mini version of a french fry. Potato chips contain a lot of fats.

We all know how delicious potato chips are but as good as they taste they are bad for your diet and can be bad to your health.

potato chipsAn ounce of potato chips already contains a sixth of your daily recommended fat value.

Potato chips are also loaded with calories. From 153 calories, 92 calories are sourced from fat.

Potato chips are also loaded with salt.

If you must indulge in potato chips while dieting then opt for the baked variety with reduced salt.

Ready meals

Ready meals carry all the same diet-dangers as frozen meals.

Avoid them for the same reasons.

They are packed with salt and a lot of fat, especially saturated fat.

Ready meals are a very convenient option for very busy people but they are just not worth it. The negative effects on your health and your body fat percentage well out-strip the benefit of the fast, convenient meal preparation.

As I advised in the frozen meal section above, if you are too busy or tired to make a meal at the end of the working day then prepare several on your day off and freeze them for the rest of the week.

Refined Grains

Refined grains are grains that have been heavily processed. They include the popular white rice, white flour, and of course white bread (which is so bad for dieters I covered it separately above).

Unfortunately refined grains are in a multitude of food products from cereals to bagels and tortillas.

Basically, refined grains are wholegrains that have been so processed that the fiber and most of the nutrients have been stripped away.

refined grainsObviously the role of nutrients in diet is important so eating foods with those stripped away is not only detrimental to your health but is also detrimental to your dietary efforts.

Fiber not only helps to create a healthy digestive system but it also keeps you feeling full longer and thus when it is missing you may be tempted to overeat.

Because the fiber has been removed from refined grains they are also digested much more quickly than wholegrains. Not only does this mean you will get hungry sooner due to this quick digestion but it can also result in a spike in your blood sugar.

Blood sugar spikes cause the body to over-secrete the hormone insulin. Insulin helps regulate your blood sugar levels. It stops you from developing hyperglycemia, where the blood sugar levels are too high, and stops you from developing hypoglycemia where the blood sugar levels are too low.

However, this release of excess insulin can result in you feeling hungry again sooner than you should as your blood sugar levels fall. Thus you are back on the yo-yo bandwagon of eating just to regain a sense of energy when you are feeling tired and then getting tired from what you are eating.

But there is an additional negative side-effect of experiencing a surge in insulin.

Because insulin is a storage hormone when a lot of it is released into the body you end up storing most of your excess consumed calories as fat.

Salad Dressings

Salads are a healthy addition to add to any diet but be careful of those dressings and toppings.

Most salad dressings are very high in calories and packed with oil. In fact some famous named sandwich, bagel and sub sauces contain as much as 50% oil.

Of course there are some very healthier salad dressings but in almost every case these will be vinaigrette based but these dressings still contain large quantities of oil.

be careful of high calorie saucesIf you really most have some form of topping on your salad then consider making your own healthy ones.

If you are eating out be careful of the salad option you choose.

In his excellent book, Eat This, Not That!, David Zinczenko a former Editor of the magazine Men’s Health, outlines two salads available from well-known restaurants that look identical, but one has over 3,000 calories while the other has less than 200 calories. It’s all about the dressings.

Here are some dressings to avoid and some low calorie alternatives.

Sauces

Sauces carry the same dangers as salad dressings and toppings.

They are often much higher in calories than you would initially imagine and are packed with high-carb, fattening ingredients and sugars.

Always read the label on a sauce jar before purchasing and comparing a few to see which offers the lowest calories, lowest carbs and that has the least amount of added sugar.

Snack foods

Snacking is the enemy of weight loss. However, when on a very low calorie diet it is often necessary to have a snack now and then just to maintain your focus and energy levels. But not all snacks are created equal.

The sugars from the converted carbs, like the refined grains mentioned above, will cause a surge of insulin in the bloodstream. As the insulin works to absorb the sugar you experience low sugar levels and the same feelings of hunger that lead you back to the same carb sources.

Instead of eating the usual unhealthy snack foods that are packed with either large amounts of sugar or large amounts of carbs (or both) go for snacks that contain a combination of carbs, healthy fats, and that are high in protein and fiber.

Snacks with a healthy combination of both protein and fiber will take longer to digest, and will therefore, keep you felling satiated longer.

Soda

Sugary drinks like soda can cause chronic diseases and inflammation in the body.

Soda is absolutely jam packed with sugar and if you think diet sodas are a healthier option, think again (see the Artificially sweetened drinks section above).

Sugar-sweetened drinks such as soda are one of the unhealthiest things you can put into your body. What’s more they lead to massive weight gain when consumed in large quantities regularly

soda sugar contentEven though sugary drinks contain a lot of calories, let alcohol, your body does not react to those calories in the same positive ways that it does with solid food.

As well as the insulin surges you will experience those extra calories are not considered as sufficient fuel by the body and so you will still crave food. These extra calories are therefore stored as fat.

If you are serious about losing weight, consider giving up sugary drinks completely.

Substitute your sugary soda drinks (including diet sodas) with water. If you don’t like the taste of plain water then use a low calories form of dilute juice concentrate to add flavor.

A Final Word

Although it is true that depriving yourself of the food that you really love can lead to binge eating, which can utterly destroy the goals that you have set yourself, some foods are just better completely avoided.

As best you can ditch the unhealthy foods mentioned in this article and your body will definitely thank you for doing that!

Of course you must still eat in moderation no mater what you eat, unless it is better to completely give up some of your favorites when moderation does not work.

You may want to review the 25 protein rich plant-based foods that are low in calories, have no saturated fats and can greatly increase your weight loss results when eaten as part of a calorie controlled diet.

Losing weight can be a difficult task and one that could possibly make you prone to experiencing feelings of anxiety. If you are experiencing stress it can be difficult to lose weight so read our article on how to combat this here.

Liquid Diet Weight Loss

liquid diet weight lossRapid weight loss has long been the desire of most dieters and a liquid diet certainly promises that.

However there are many misconceptions about this form of dieting. Misconceptions that can lead to health risks if proper measures are not taken at the outset and strict guidelines not followed.

Before outlining the major benefits, and also pitfalls, of following a liquid diet it is best to fully explain what a liquid diet actually is.

What is a Liquid Diet

A liquid diet plan can range from a full liquid based diet such as juicing for health and weight loss to a mixed one with both liquid and simple solid or semi-solid foods (such as ice cream).

The following Wikipedia quote gives an ample and concise explanation of the basic concept.

“A liquid diet is a diet that mostly consists of liquids, or soft foods that melt at room temperature (such as gelatin and ice cream). A liquid diet usually helps provide sufficient hydration, helps maintain electrolyte balance, and is often prescribed for people when solid food diets are not recommended, such as for people who suffer with gastrointestinal illness or damage, or before or after certain types of medical tests or surgeries involving the mouth or the digestive tract.” [Source: Wikipedia]

As you can see it is fairly straight forward. Simpy substitute food with a low calorie beverage.

May people use a juicer to create there own liquid diet while others use blenders. Read our article Pros and Cons of Juicing vs Blending to see how this works.

Weight Loss & Other Benefits of a Liquid Diet

Obviously abstaining from solid foods and only drinking low calorie beverages will lead to weight loss. As long as you don’t drink fizzy pop or high calorie sugary smoothie type drinks you will dramatically reduce your calorie intake while following this diet.

The huge reduction of calories that comes with following this type of diet can lead to very rapid and visible weight loss without the need to exercise.

Of course if a liquid diet is used in conjunction with exercise the results can be dramatic.

liquid diet benefits

One of the best, and mostly unreported, benefits of following a liquid based dietary plan is that, for the duration of your diet, you almost entirely eliminate carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates can be much more damaging to your weight loss efforts than the consumption of fat. When dieters reduce their calorie intake and eliminate most of the fat from their diet yet still do not lose weight, nine times out of ten the culprit is the hidden carbohydrates in their meals.

So reducing your carbohydrate intake will have a very marked effect on your weight loss efforts also.

Another benefit of using a beverage based approach to weight loss is that liquids fill up the stomach quickly and seriously reduce hunger pangs almost instantaneously. Water has been used as part of almost every diet in existence due to that very fact.

Clean liquids (i.e. not fizzy pop or smoothies) also purge the system of impurities and act as a natural detox.

Although the weight loss benefits of following a full liquid diet are terrific there are some annoyances and even possible health risks that you should be aware of before deciding to embark on this form of weight loss.

Liquid Diet Recipes

Following this type of diet is just plain boring!

The basic premise is to avoid solid foods a much as possible and to consume all your calories, vitamins and minerals through some form of drink.

The Hollywood diet drink is a perfect example of this approach to weight loss.

This all sounds good in theory but everyone reading this post knows that eating food is often about much more than just giving the body sustenance. Food is fun and the pleasure of eating is usually the reason why we gain weight in the first place.

Therefore for any food lover staying on track with this kind of diet can be difficult. Eating, or in this case drinking, the same meals everyday can become tedious and a real challenge to even the most strong-willed of dieters.

Although there are quite a few different liquid diet weight loss plans available most of them vary from each other only slightly. After all there is only so many liquid diet recipes you can create when you have such limited food resources to choose from.

One of the best ways to avoid the boredom of a liquid diet, while also experiencing amazing health benefits and a full detox, is to create your own drinks by juicing raw vegetables and fruits.

liquid diet recipesAnother popular approach is a liquid protein diet. Basically this is just using a protein shake as a meal or mixing your own from a body building protein supplement. Many bodybuilders use a liquid protein diet during the “cutting” phase of their training just before a competition or coming into the summer months when they desire a leaner look.

If decide not to use pre-made beverages and/or do not want to follow the guidelines for juicing but instead wish to follow your own recipes it is important to fully research the methods you plan to adopt to ensure your body is getting at least the bare minimum of its nutritional needs met on a daily basis.

There are real health risks involved with crash diets and the liquid diet is no exception.

The Disadvantages & Dangers of Following a Liquid Diet Plan

The obvious disadvantage of following a liquid diet is the lack of variety in your meal plans.

It may sound easy to do but just sustaining yourself on beverages is often more difficult for people than they initially believed it would be.

It goes without saying that a huge percentage (if not all) people who need to lose weight are people who like food. So, eliminating food entirely from their diet often proves to be a huge struggle for liquid dieters. This is the reason for the huge success of diets based on foods that burn fat such as the cabbage soup diet – although these diets can be just as boring over time!

By far the biggest danger of following any type of crash diet is the risk it poses to your health if done incorrectly.

Your body, and brain, require a certain amount of specific nutrients every day in order to function properly, repair damage and maintain good health. When you deprive your body of these much needed nutrients ill health can rapidly follow.

dangers of a liquid dietIt is all too easy for an inexperienced (or even experienced) dieter to cut down on their food intake so dramatically that they cut out their basic nutritional needs.

You must be especially careful not to do this if you decide to structure your own liquid diet weight loss plan as most beverages already have reduced nutrients.

Although with a little research you can certainly find foods from which you can create your own customized liquid diet recipes that cover your daily nutritional needs it is strongly recommended that you follow a healthy clinically proven liquid diet plan to ensure you are doing it right.

You will need either a blender or a juicer.

Alternatively many people opt for the pre-made alternatives as they are packed with the correct nutritional needs of the average person.

These can be expensive however and some of them even feel like you’ve launched an attack on your taste buds. Not at all pleasant.

Although a protein liquid diet is a good alternative to store bought weight loss shakes I have personally found juicing to be the best form of liquid diet as the recipes are varied (as varied as they can be of course), tasty and each one can be altered to suit an individual’s taste and preference.