13 Worst Foods For Weight Loss
Diet—more than exercise—is the cornerstone of weight loss.
And while it’s important to know which foods will be most effective in helping you lose and the foods with high protein content, it may be more important to know what NOT to eat.
Avoiding certain foods—fast food, sodas, and other sugary beverages—may already seem like common sense (to most people).
But not all foods are made equal. There are lots of common foods that we may think are ok but are actually high in sugar or fat, and will slow our journey to a slimmer waistline and better physique.
So, let’s familiarize ourselves with some of these less obvious food items that we should aim to limit or avoid altogether.
1. WHITE RICE
White rice is processed, high in carbohydrates, and stripped of fiber.
This means it will leave you less satiated and, eventually, more hungry.
It also has a high glycemic index: Your blood sugar levels rise and decline rapidly after eating it, which will trigger feelings of hunger, and possibly lead to overeating.
If you can, opt for brown rice or avoid rice altogether.
Yogurt can actually aid in weight loss because of its high protein content, which generally leaves you feeling more full than low-protein foods.
The caveat with yogurt is that there are different kinds.
Many yogurts are packed full of sugar to make them tastier, and so not paying attention to the labels can work against your weight loss efforts. Limit or avoid your intake of flavored yogurts as they’re usually infused with sugar or honey.
Also, check the protein content and not just the calories.
You may opt for one that only has 150 calories but also only has 3 g of protein. If you can choose one that has a higher protein content, say 15 grams, that would be better.
3. POTATO CHIPS
While potato chips may seem like a harmless snack, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine actually shows them to be associated with the most weight gain.
Potatoes also have a high glycemic index, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar and insulin, with similar implications for weight gain as white rice.
4. FRUIT JUICE
Fruit juices may disguise themselves as healthy, but these are packed with calories.
Further, they don’t have the fruit fiber needed to make you feel satiated, especially the ones that have had the pulp removed (this is where all the good macro and micronutrients are).
A glass of sweetened orange juice doesn’t have anywhere near the same effect as eating the fruit.
Choose to eat whole fruits instead, and where possible, opt for low-carb fruits like blackberries and strawberries.
5. HIGH-CALORIE COFFEE DRINKS
In recent years, there has been a demand for caffeinated beverages.
Unfortunately, if you’re on a weight loss journey, Starbucks is not your friend. Especially not their flavored drinks.
Did you know that their Cookie Crumble Frappuccino Blended Beverage, with a serving size of 24 oz, comes in at 590 calories!? It has 26 grams of fat, and 76 grams of sugar!
To burn that off with exercise you would have to (depending on your body weight) run for about 40 minutes at a speed of approximately 7 miles per hour, or ride an air bike at high intensity for roughly 1 hour!
Save your money and save yourself a heap of excess calories.
Granola seems like a healthy snack alternative, but most commercial granolas are actually packed with a lot of sugar.
Make sure to read the product labels and choose granola bars with whole ingredients.
7. PEANUT BUTTER
I used to eat peanut butter with bread all the time as a quick on-the-go breakfast.
That was usually 2 pieces of white bread with 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter per bread.
That’s around 190 calories and 16 g of fat in just those 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter.
If you’re a fan of peanut butter, you should aim to halve your servings to control your intake and savor the smooth flavor.
Also, make sure you get the 100% peanuts variety, as most other types have added sugar and oil.
8. DRIED FRUIT
You would think that eating any kind of fruit is healthy, and for the most part you’d be right. But dried fruit is not a good option when trying to lose weight.
When fruit goes through the dehydration process, the Vitamin C concentration is reduced while sugar concentration massively increases.
Munching on these regularly under the pretext of healthy eating may actually backfire.
They’re easy to overeat (I know because I love dried apricots), which will blow out your calorie count.
9. WHITE BREAD
Like white rice, white bread has a high glycemic index.
It’s also linked to a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese.
Plus, most white bread contains preservatives that keep it fresher for longer, which isn’t great for you for other reasons.
Pretzels seem like a snackable food that would not make you gain weight.
Surprisingly, they’re laden with fat!
A 100g serving of standard pretzels contain 80 grams of carbohydrates, 2.6 g of fat, and 1,266 mg of sodium.
That’s a whole lot of calories and salt!
Unfortunately, they are a high-calorie food.
They’re made with a heap of butter and cooked at high temperatures, and so may contain trans fats; the type of fat that not only makes you fatter but clogs up your arteries and significantly increases your risk of heart disease.
We love our bread, we love our butter, but unfortunately just one tablespoon of the latter packs around 102 calories!
It’s fine in small quantities, but coating your goods in very generous amounts is a recipe for getting fatter.
Butter on the lips, forever in the hips.
13. DRIVE-THRU FAST FOOD
These include Chinese takeaways, burritos, burgers, pizzas, and even your favorite sub.
Most of these foods have been prepared beforehand and contain an unhealthy level of fat, carbohydrates, and additives.
It is easy to fall into the trap of just buying fast food because of its convenience and taste, but this comes at great expense to our weight management.
It’s OK to have a small amount of junk food once in a while, but if the order is part of your daily routine, you will be hard-pressed to reach your long-term weight goals.
COMBINE DIET & HIIT EXERCISE FOR BEST RESULTS
As mentioned, weight loss is mostly about dietary intake. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t also incorporate good-quality physical activity.
Current guidelines recommend that we do, on average, 150 minutes of moderate- or vigorous-intensity exercise per week (roughly 30 minutes per day, five days per week).
That can be a tall order for people with full-time jobs and families to care for.
For those who lead a busy lifestyle, High-Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT for short) could be a feasible option.
Multiple studies (such as this meta–analysis) conclude that HIIT leads to more fat loss.
This likely stems from increased exercise intensity, higher levels of post-exercise fat burning, and decreased post-exercise appetite as compared to more traditional forms of exercise like steady-state cardio (e.g., running on a treadmill for 45 minutes).
There are multiple resources online that can guide you on how to do HIIT effectively. The easiest and most cost-effective way would be to follow some Youtube videos.
My Take on the Worst Foods for Weight Loss
Weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint. Everyday food choices become habits, which then determine whether our efforts will help us attain that healthy lifestyle, or gradually stack on the lbs.
Although we can consume some high-calorie foods in small amounts, in the end not taking stock of what we regularly consume will derail our weight loss efforts.
The way a food look is a poor gauge of calorie content. The only way to know which foods to avoid is to read about them and familiarize ourselves with their nutritional content.
Choosing wisely what we eat, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are the basic tenets of weight loss that cannot be overemphasized.
Ultimately, by knowing which foods to limit or eliminate from our diets altogether, we avoid undoing our hard work, and we’ll be able to keep ourselves on the right track in our own health journeys.
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