Taking on a healthier diet is one of the ways to lose weight. However, not all foods are good for you, as some may defeat the purpose of reaching your weight loss goal. Knowing which ones to avoid and which ones to eat will play a crucial role in ensuring that you achieve and maintain that ideal weight.
When trying to lose some weight, it is generally advisable that you avoid or reduce the intake of foods rich in calories.
However, the amount of calories in different foods isn’t the only factor to be considered. For instance, a low-calorie diet that lacks nutrients like proteins and fiber can leave you feeling unsatisfied and hungry, consequently making it harder for you to resist wanting a snack.
In this article, we will be looking at different foods that you may want to consider avoiding when trying to lose weight.
These are foods I’ve tried to avoid when losing weight, ultimately, you’ll have to decide what your goals are and what your dietary needs are, before deciding which foods you’ll want to keep away from.
15 Foods You May Want to Avoid When Dieting
1. Snacks That Contain Nothing but Carbs
When you eat dry cereals, rice cakes, crackers, or bread only, your body converts the carbohydrates in them to simple sugars that are sent directly to your bloodstream.
In response to this sugar rush, your body starts to produce extra insulin to help it absorb the extra sugar. The problem with this is that your body’s blood sugar levels dip and the same hunger pangs that made you binge eat creep back up.
You end up reaching for sugary foods that have no nutritional value to gratify your need for instant energy.
Instead of eating high-carb snacks, go for snacks made up of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats. Since these foods take much longer to digest, you are left feeling fuller for longer. Snacks, when treated as balanced mini-meals, can become part of your diet instead of foods you bite on to sustain you between meals.
For instance, you could eat a whole-grain cracker with some low-fat cheese or a slice of bread with nut butter.
2. High-Fiber Snack Bars
We all need fiber – fiber will help ensure your digestive system continues to churn and will keep you feeling for longer. It is still essential even though you are trying to cut back on calories.
However, that does not mean eating a single snack bar containing a whole day’s worth of fiber – about 25g when on a diet that is practically devoid of it.
It is essential that you maintain a consistent fiber intake throughout the day if you want to improve your digestive health, avoid stomach upsets, and stave off hunger.
Instead of going for high-fiber snack bars, consider consuming more produce naturally-rich in fiber – veggies and fruits will do. Also, do your best to ensure produce is part of every meal and snack you eat throughout the day.
That way, you will get the right amount of fiber in your system without too much of a struggle.
3. Frozen Foods
For fresh ingredients to last long in a freezer, a majority of food manufacturers will often pack frozen foods/meals with sodium, which is a natural preservative. However, sodium is not that good for you when trying to lose weight as it makes your body retain water, causing you to bloat up.
When that happens, you will end up not feeling and looking your best irrespective of how much weight you are looking to lose.
At the same time, most frozen food manufacturers will often squeeze an entire meal’s worth of calories in a tiny box. As a result, every bite you take ends up containing a rather considerable amount of calories. While in large portions you will feel full, eating frozen foods, which are often in small portions, can be quite unsatisfying.
As a result, you’ll want to eat more, even though they packed with calories.
Instead of buying frozen foods, why not work with pre-frozen leftovers. When preparing dinner, double up on your ingredients and store the leftovers in a freezer. Depending on what you are cooking, these meals can stay in a freezer for anywhere between one to six months.
Alternatively, you could stock your freezer with your preferred protein like chicken breast tenders and frozen veggies, things that you can whip a meal up with within the same time it will take you to prepare a pre-made microwave dinner.
It takes several oranges to fill up a 6-ounce glass with orange juice. However, when you drink the juice, you only consume the oranges’ calories without the natural fruit fibers that fill your stomach up.
This is why even 100%-natural orange juice is still empty calories and spike in blood sugar waiting to happen. Furthermore, fructose, which is the natural sugar that gives fruit’s that sweet taste, tricks the body into gaining more weight by blunting its ability to tell when it is full.
As a result, you end up eating more, increasing your chances of developing diabetes and becoming insulin resistant.
Instead, drink water! Lots of water – or unsweetened coffee or tea when drinking water just does not cut it.
5. Processed Low-Fat Foods
Research shows that people will tend to eat over 30% more when they know they are eating low-fat food.
The problem with this, (except overeating, which will quickly impede weight loss objectives if not careful) is that when fat is removed from food, some of the flavors are inevitably lost.
To compensate this, most food makers will often add sugar, making the product even worse.
Avoid low fats and eat more healthy fats, but with some restraint. Try dipping baby carrots in some hummus (made with olive oil, a good source of fats) or guacamole (rich in monounsaturated fats.)
6. Artificially Sweetened Drinks
Want to lose weight?
Say bye-bye to soda and any other sweet drink that mysteriously contains “0” calories. For most of us, our brains are conditioned in a way that artificial sweeteners enhance or induce cravings. What does that mean?
A tasty diet soda that seemingly appears to soothe your sweet tooth could be a slippery slope that leads to you falling into a dessert pit. Instead of artificially sweetened drinks, try some sparkling water.
Though free of calories, it is carbonated, which is good as it will make your stomach feel packed, causing you to eat less.
7. Candy Bars
Candy bars are very unhealthy. Most bars, as small as they are, are loaded with sugar, refined flour, and added oils.
Furthermore, they are low in nutrients and high in calories. An average-sized bar covered with chocolate can contain up to 300 calories, while extra-large bars contain way more than that.
Unfortunately, candy bars are everywhere – some are even strategically positioned in stores to tempt consumers – and it will take a level of commitment to try and not indulge.
If you are really craving a snack, consider eating a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit instead.
8. Cookies, Cakes, and Pastries
Cookies, cakes, and pastries are often packed with unhealthy ingredients like refined flour, added sugar and trans fats, which can be harmful to health and are linked to various diseases.
Furthermore, they aren’t that satisfying, which means you’ll likely feel hungry a short period after eating these low-nutrient, high-calorie foods.
If you are craving something sweet, eat a piece of dark chocolate.
9. Ice Cream
While ice cream is delicious, it is very unhealthy and is high in calories. Furthermore, most ice cream brands come loaded with harmful levels of sugar. Eating ice cream in small portions now and then is okay.
However, you need to be very disciplined since it can be easy to find yourself consuming considerable amounts in a single sitting. If you cannot do without ice cream, consider making your own using healthier ingredients like fruit and full-fat yogurt.
The great thing about making your own yogurt is that you can determine the amount of sugar it contains.
While home-made yogurt is healthier, it is still advisable that you eat small portions and put it away once you are done to avoid bingeing.
Pizza is a favorite for many people. However, commercial-made pizzas can be quite healthy as they contain loads of calories and are often made using unhealthy ingredients like processed meats and highly-refined flour.
If you crave eating some pizza, consider making one for yourself using healthier ingredients. Instead of buying pizza sauce at a supermarket consider making your own since commercial sauces contain unhealthy levels of sugar.
Alternatively, you could take the time to shop for a local pizzeria that makes healthy pizzas.
11. White Bread
White bread often contains lots of added sugar and is highly refined. Furthermore, its glycemic index is quite high, which isn’t good considering that it could lead to a spike in your blood sugar levels.
According to a recent study, eating two slices of white bread every day increases your risk of gaining weight and becoming obese by 40%.
Fortunately, there are tons of healthier alternatives that you can use to substitute white bread. Some popular options include Ezekiel bread, almond flour bread, oopsie bread, and cornbread.
While considering your options, it is worth noting that all types of wheat bread contain gluten.
12. Potato Chips and French Fries
While whole potatoes are filling and healthy, potato chips and French fries aren’t. These two foods, though delicious, are quite high in calories and can be quite addictive.
If you find it hard to drop French fries and potato chips off your diet, then try and exercise restraint as it can be easy to binge on them.
Various observational studies have linked chips and fries to weight gain. One of the studies even suggests that potato chips are probably the number one contributor (per serving) to weight gain than any other food.
Furthermore, there is a likelihood that roasted, fried, or baked potatoes contain acrylamides, which are known to cause cancer. For that reason, it is best that you consume plain, boiled potatoes.
13. Some Types of Alcohol
Alcohol has more calories than proteins and carbs (about seven calories/gram.) However, there isn’t much evidence linking alcohol to weight gain.
Drinking in moderation doesn’t seem to present any issues and can reduce your chances of gaining weight. Heavy drinking, however, is thought to increase your chances of gaining weight — the type of alcohol you consume matters too!
Beer, in particular, can lead to weight gain (unless you stick with a low carb beer option), but consuming wine in moderation can be beneficial.
14. Processed Meat
You should try and avoid meat that has been dried, canned fermented, smoked, or preserved/processed in any way. Good examples of processed meats include ham, salami, hot dogs, jerky, and bacon.
Meat that has been processed is often low in nutrients and high in salt and also tends to be loaded with calories compared to lean protein sources like fish, beans, and poultry. I
t is also worth noting that the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) classifies processed meats as carcinogens, which means they could cause cancer.
15. White Rice
White rice is low in fat and contains very little protein and fiber.
Its glycemic index is also quite high, which means that it can lead to a spike in blood sugar levels when consumed.
Instead of eating white rice, consider going for healthier alternatives like cauliflower rice, brown rice, and quinoa, which are packed with dietary fibers which leave you feeling fuller for longer.
If you are trying to lose weight or are looking to maintain a healthy weight, choosing the right diet and foods is essential.
It is vital that you avoid calorie-dense foods low in protein, fiber, and other essential nutrients. The worst foods, and those that you should avoid at all costs are highly-processed junk foods. These are often loaded with refined wheat, added sugar, and added fats.
It is also advisable that you consider your serving sizes. Though some foods like dried fruit, cheese, and nuts are healthy, they are still loaded with calories and can be very easy to splurge on.
If you are having a hard time achieving a healthy weight through exercise and diet, then consider speaking to a dietician or doctor for advice.
Ben Corbin brings nearly 20 years of experience as a health and wellness author and writer. He holds a master’s degree, has a passion for health and fitness, and is driven to provide readers with accurate and honest diet reviews. Learn more about Ben and the DadQuarters mission at our About page.