Losing weight is not easy, but growing awareness of the health impacts of excess body weight is leading more people to make the effort to lose the extra pounds.
People who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop health problems like heart disease, strokes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, depression, and cancer. Fortunately, losing weight can reduce your risk of developing some of these problems.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet can go a long way toward reaching your weight loss target. However, people often make mistakes in planning their diet.
Just like there are certain foods that help you lose weight, there are certain foods that have the opposite effect.
When you consume these foods more often than you should, you end up messing with your weight-loss target.
Here are the top 10 foods you should never eat if you want to lose weight.
1. Sugary Cereals
Regularly eating a healthy breakfast may help in your weight loss efforts by reducing your hunger later in the day. When you skip breakfast, you are tempted to reach for unhealthy snacks.
However, if you start your day with a bowl of sugary cereal, it will not help.
These cereals are loaded with sugar that the body converts to fat. Moreover, the refined carbohydrates are among the most fattening ingredients in existence.
To make things worse, starting your day with sugary cereals will cause your blood sugar and insulin levels to spike. This will increase your appetite and cravings for unhealthy sweet and fatty foods.
When buying breakfast cereals, check the label carefully and avoid those that include sugar or highly refined grains.
Choosing a cereal higher in dietary fiber can be helpful for weight management.
Potato chips and french fries are markers for junk food diets and if you love munching on them, you can forget about weight loss.
These fried forms of potatoes are high in calories and fat, making them the worst choice for your weight loss diet. Plus, fried potatoes cause a rapid increase in blood sugar and insulin levels, causing a negative impact on appetite and weight.
Plus, when carbohydrate-rich foods like potatoes are fried at high temperatures, they produce acrylamide. This substance is a known risk factor for cancer.
A 2011 Harvard study on of 120,000 healthy, non-obese participants found that when it comes to unhealthy weight gain, potato chips as well as regular potatoes are the biggest offenders.
The study found that each 1 ounce daily serving of potato chips consisting of about 15 chips contributed to almost 1.69 pounds of weight gain over a period of 4 years.
If you like potatoes, plain boiled potatoes are very satiating and a healthy option for you to try.
Other deep-fried foods like onion rings, fried chicken and breaded cutlets are also unhealthy and work against your effort to lose weight.
3. Diet Soda
If you think switching to diet soda from regular soda is helping you lose weight, you need to think again.
The artificial sweeteners in diet sodas can stimulate your appetite, leading you to eat more junk foods.
In fact, a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reports that people who drank diet soda gained about triple the abdominal fat over nine years than those who did not.
Though counterintuitive, like sugar, sugar substitutes such as aspartame, sucralose, and saccharin also increase the risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, according to a study conducted by researchers at Purdue University.
To quench your thirst, nothing is better than plain water or water with lemon. You can even try sparkling water, a calorie-free but carbonated drink. Just avoid those that are flavored with sweeteners, even artificial sweeteners.
Processed meat, such as bacon, is something you should avoid completely or eat strictlyin moderation if you wish to lose weight.
Bacon is rich in saturated fat as well as sodium, nitrate and nitrite content. Excess saturated fat is not good for your weight. Plus, the excess salt in it can lead to water retention and bloating.
A 2011 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that weight gain is most strongly associated with the intake of processed meats, along with potato chips, potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages and unprocessed red meats.
Eat bacon in moderation, and grill or roast it rather than frying, to keep control of your weight.
5. Commercial Salad Dressings
Salads are part of nearly everyone’s weight loss diet.
Vegetables and fruits are very healthy, being loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, soluble fiber, low calories and various other nutrients that are good for health and weight loss.
But this healthy food turns out to be one of the worst for weight loss when you use commercial salad dressings to improve the bland taste.
Salad dressings are often loaded with a lot of fat and calories, due to ingredients like high-fat mayonnaise, soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup.
To improve the taste of your salad, put a little extra-virgin olive oil or vinegar over it. You can also use herbs to turn a salad into a great meal.
Also, don’t order a salad at a restaurant. Many of them are loaded with salad dressings as well as candied nuts and raisins, which can be a major cause of weight gain. Make your own salad at home with organic fruits and vegetables.
6. Oil Popped Popcorn
Popcorn is a tasty and healthy snack. Its complex carbohydrates give you energy and stamina and its high fiber content fills you up. Plus, it has a rich antioxidant content.
But, the commercial oil-popped popcorn you enjoy at the movie theater is not at all a healthy choice, especially when you are striving to lose weight. It is laden with calories, fat and sodium.
Enjoy homemade air-popped popcorn and flavored with a variety of herbs.
Marketed as a healthier alternative to butter, margarine is another calorie dense and fatty food that you need to avoid.
It contains hydrogenated fats that are more harmful than the saturated fats present in butter. In fact, it contains almost 3 grams of trans fats per tablespoon. Plus, it lacks nutrition.
In addition to causing weight gain, it increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. A diet high in hydrogenated fats is also linked to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
8. White Bread
If you’re watching your weight, it’s important to watch your white bread consumption, too.
While white bread is a staple food item for many, the truth is that it doesn’t have any nutritional value but only empty calories.
The carbohydrates in white bread are fattening, as they are a high glycemic index food. This means white breads do not keep you satisfied for very long. After eating a few slices of white bread, you will get hungry sooner and end up eating more.
Plus, the starch in it increases the blood sugar level in your body, raising the risk of diabetes as well as excess weight gain.
If you like bread, switch to whole-wheat bread, which is higher in nutritional value as it is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Just like white bread, you need to avoid paste and other items make with white flour. Also, avoid white rice as it is rich in carbohydrates and low in nutrition. Instead, switch to brown rice.
9. Alcoholic Drinks
You need to stop drinking if you are serious about losing the extra pounds.
Alcoholic drinks contain empty calories that don’t fill you up or provide any nutrients. When these empty calories get mixed with carbohydrates, fats and proteins, they postpone the fat-burning process and contribute to increased fat storage.
Plus, alcohol leads to increased production of the hormone cortisol that breaks down muscle and retains fat. The loss of muscle has a direct impact on your metabolism, making it easier to gain weight.
A 2005 study published in Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences reports that moderate alcohol intake may represent a risk factor for the development of a positive energy balance and thus weight gain.
Try to totally abstain from alcoholic drinks until you reach your weight loss goal. Then, you can add them back in moderation, watching the impact on your weight to help you determine how much you can enjoy without weight gain.
10. Packaged Fruit Juice
Fruit juices are popular in weight loss diets. That’s because fruit juices are full of nutrients that keep us energized and fresh.
However, drinking fruit juice in excess does not benefit your health much. The nutritious fiber in fruits gets lost in the juicing process and you end up consuming pure sugar in the form of fructose.
A 2010 study published in Physiological Reviews highlights the link between high fructose intake and weight gain.
The worst thing is when you drink prepackaged juices. You may actually be drinking a mixture of water, sugar and some chemicals that taste like fruit.
For weight management, whole fruits are a better choice. Whole fruits do contain some sugar, but because the sugar is within the fibrous cell walls, the release of the sugar into the bloodstream is slow and less harmful to your body.