13 Foods You Must Avoid to Lose Weight

by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Published on May 15, 2019
a picture of 6 teal cupcakes

Losing weight is a journey that proves too difficult for a large number of people, quickly causing them to lose hope and give up. This is unfortunate since there are also many people who have lost weight successfully and even kept that weight off for many years. The key to weight loss lies within a person’s diet in many cases – even though exercise and a restriction of calories are needed, what a person eats can play a significant role in whether or not they would be able to lose weight in the end.

Unfortunately, following diet after diet, people often find themselves with what is often referred to as “information overload.” This means they have been told so many details on what foods to eat and what particular foods they should not eat, that they are eventually unsure how to set up a meal plan for success.

An effective weight loss diet should essentially be filled with balanced meals – vegetables, fruits, meat, seeds, nuts, and many other food items should form part of a healthy diet that would eventually lead to weight loss. On the other hand, we have a range of foods that should not be consumed. Through adequate education on the actual foods that should be avoided instead of following the advice of yet another fad diet, a person would be able to achieve success without causing harm to their bodies due to the restriction of healthy foods, which is sometimes requested by fad diets due to the calorie and carbohydrate content of the food.

In this guide, we are going to take a look at some of the most essential food items that should not be included in a person’s diet if they are looking to lose weight in a real, safe, and effective manner.

1. Pasta

Pasta is considered a very convenient food type, allowing for a meal to be prepared in merely a couple of minutes. Many pasta-related meals simply include the preparation of a sauce, which is poured over the pasta. There are also many pasta dishes that include meat, cheese, and other products. While pasta surely allows for a quick and easy meal, it is important for those trying to lose weight to understand that pasta may not be the best food for them. One study (1) also noted that pasta intake seems to be higher among the obese population compared to those at a normal weight.

2. Crackers

Crackers are often considered a good alternative to bread when it comes to a weight loss diet, but many people do not realize that crackers are actually filled with simple carbohydrates. This means that they are not really as appropriate for weight loss as many people tend to think they are. Many studies have found that the intake of foods that are high in simple carbohydrates have a negative interaction with body weight – in countries where the intake of these simple carbohydrates are on the higher side, an increase in the prevalence of obesity and overweight is also observed (2).

3. Beef Jerky

While a piece of grass-fed beef can be good for a person trying to lose weight and provide them with proteins, among other nutrients, beef jerky is a highly processed type of meat product. Processed foods are generally considered bad for health. Since beef jerky is a type of processed meat, it causes a significant increase in a person’s risk of cancer, heart disease, and other harmful conditions. At the same time, processed meats are known to contribute to inflammation. Studies have observed that inflammation could potentially make it more difficult for a person to successfully reduce their body weight (3).

4. Sweetened Yogurt

Yogurt is good for everyone – it is an excellent probiotic food option that is known to help improve the well-being of the gut microbiome, leading to a larger diversity of friendly gut flora. Unfortunately, many people opt for flavored and sweetened yogurt options when they go out to shop, instead of a Greek yogurt variety. These yogurts contain artificial ingredients, including sugars, that can contribute to weight gain, as well as cause inflammation and other potentially negative effects in the body.

5. Low-Fat Foods

Low-fat food varieties are found everywhere – yogurt, milk, and many other food items now come in low-fat options. This might seem like a good idea to get for a person who is trying to lose weight, but it is important to consider the specific type of food and the processes behind the manufacturing of the food. Many low-fat foods contain added sugar and other ingredients to help make them taste better – the added sugar means a higher carbohydrate intake, sugar spikes, binge eating, and other problems that may ultimately lead to weight gain, instead of weight loss.

6. Potato Chips

Americans alone spend more than $1 billion each year on potato chips. They offer a very convenient to fill up on-the-go, but the problem is, these snacks are not healthy – not for a person’s weight and certainly not for their body in general. In fact, potato chips contain around 150 calories for each one-ounce bag consumed – this means a person would have to walk at least 5,000 steps to just burn off the number of calories they consumed with that single small bag of potato chips (4).

7. Cookies

Cookies might be delicious, but most of the cookies that can be purchased at local supermarkets will simply add to a person’s already distressing weight. The problem here is that most cookies are made from refined flour and sugars, along with shortenings that contain high amounts of trans fats. These are all ingredients considered unhealthy – they lead to heart disease and many other conditions within the human body. Plus, these ingredients further contribute to weight gain – something that we are trying to avoid here.

8. Pizza

Pizza is a favored junk food among millions of people all around the world and is consumed on a daily basis. Unfortunately, pizza is, at the same time, also one of the worst foods that a person can put into their bodies. A pizza is certainly not nutritious, yet many people expect this fast food to fill them up and keep their bodies going.

Pizza is also packed with refined ingredients, along with trans fats, the perfect combination for gaining more weight. Thus, pizza should definitely be on the no-no list of anyone who is looking to shed their excess weight and live a healthier life in general. One study (5) also advised that kids are eating way too much pizza – the study concluded that by reducing the intake of pizza among children, their nutrition and health could be greatly enhanced.

9. Margarine

Many people tend to opt for margarine instead of butter, often citing that margarine either tastes better or costs less. The problem, however, is that margarine is definitely not the good kind of spread – butter should really be the preferred option here. According to one publication (6), margarine is filled with trans-fats and may raise a person’s risk of premature death due to heart disease, diabetes, and a stroke by as much as 34%. Margarine may also make losing weight more difficult.

10. High-Fructose Corn Syrup

High-fructose corn syrup is often compared to standard table sugar that almost everyone tends to use, since the two share similar calorie content. The problem, however, is that this particular type of sweetener or sugar is known to be converted into fats within the body at a faster rate than most other types of sugar. Plus, high-fructose corn syrup still contains a relatively significant number of calories and can certainly contribute to weight gain. There are many foods on the market that contain high contents of fracture corn syrup, such as candy bars, certain bread, canned fruit, and even some kinds of salad dressings.

11. Soft Drinks

Soft drinks would be another category where many people fall victim to. These drinks are incredibly popular – but they are also definitely not a good choice for any person who would like to shed extra pounds. The problem with soft drinks is the fact that they are loaded with sugar and incredibly high on calories. Sipping on a soft drink can make it really hard to follow a calorie deficit and still provide the body with adequate nutrients to keep healthy (7). A soft drink will also not cause a person to feel satisfied in terms of hunger – this means the person is likely to continue eating more and loading up on additional calories.

12. Cake

Cake is another food option that should be avoided by any person who needs to lose excess weight that they have gained over the years. The most obvious reason would be the fact that cake is loaded in sugar – refined sugars, to be more specific. Plus, a cake holds many calories – these are considered worthless calories as they do not provide any useful nutrients that a person would need if they wish to stay healthy.

Thus, when eating cake, a person is quickly loading up on their calorie intake for the day, but they are not pushing healthy nutrients into their bodies – this would include healthy fats, minerals, protein, and vitamins. A cake is also not very filling – after having cake, a person is very likely to feel hungry shortly after. This might cause them to reach for another snack later on, which could likely be another food option that is low in nutrients, yet high in calories.

13. Sandwich Ham

Sandwich ham is quite similar to beef jerky when it comes to looking at whether or not this is a good food to have on a meal plan when trying to reduce body weight. Sandwich and deli hams are processed meat products. They are filled with refined and processed ingredients that can contribute to negative effects on health. These foods are often filled with trans fats as well. This can all contribute to a higher weight, and they are usually not very pleasing for a person’s appetite. Thus, when eating sandwich ham, weight loss will become more difficult, since they will actually contribute to a person’s calorie intake for the day at the same time.


While a healthy diet that can yield successful results can consist of many delicious foods, there are also certain foods that should be eliminated to avoid further weight gain. We shared some vital foods that need to be taken into account and considered bad for a weight loss diet in this list. Not only do these foods contribute to weight gain and possibly make the journey of losing weight harder, but many of these contribute to inflammation and other adverse effects in the body as well.


(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4973136/
(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664675/
(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5507106/
(4) https://thedocskitchen.com/you-need-to-stop-chippin-5-reasons-you-should-consider-eating-less-potato-chips/
(5) https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/135/2/322
(6) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2016/03/15/butter-unlikely-to-harm-health-but-margarine-could-be-deadly/
(7) http://www.eatingwell.com/article/290448/is-drinking-soda-bad-for-weight-loss/

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