Top 10 Foods to Avoid for Weight Loss

To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. So, is a calorie just a calorie? No! Calories have very different effects once they hit your digestive system depending on what you eat.

Certain foods help with weight loss but other foods, especially processed and refined products, can make you gain weight so it’s best to avoid foods that have little nutritional value and choose nutrient dense foods.

There are endless lists out there of foods to avoid when trying to lose weight so I’ve organized this into the top 10 foods to avoid for weight loss.

Foods with Added Sugar

Sugar is the most important ingredient you should not eat when trying to lose weight. weight loss - pastaThese foods provide a ton of empty calories and don’t keep us feeling full, tempting us to keep eating more. Added sugar is obvious in certain foods but also in certain food items that aren’t considered sweet such as salad dressing, sauces, cereal and yogurt.

What to eat: Make sure to read labels, especially when selecting “low-fat” or “fat-free” foods as manufacturers often add sugar to make up for the flavor that’s lost when the fat is removed.

Refined Grains

Refined grains, such as white bread, white rice, crackers and many baked goods, have been processed in a way that removes fiber and important nutrients. Without the fiber, weight-loss-white-breadyou won’t feel as full which may lead to overeating and the grains are digested quicker which can lead to a spike in your blood sugar. The sugar rush leads to your body producing extra insulin so you end up with lower blood sugar and hunger pangs leading you right back to the carbs you ate in the first place.

What to eat instead: Try healthier alternatives such as whole-grain wheat bread or brown rice. Choose snacks that contain a combination of carbs, healthy fats, and protein since they are not stripped of their fiber and key nutrients. Check labels carefully though because multi-grain does not necessarily mean whole grain.

Artificially Sweetened Drinks

Say goodbye to diet soda and those drinks that mysteriously contain zero calories. Sugary drinks are at the top of the list for what foods to avoid for weight loss. They areweight-loss-soda highly associated with weight gain and other health related issues.

What to drink instead: Water! If you’re not satisfied with plain water, trying sparkling water. It’s calorie-free but the carbonation will make your stomach feel full so you end up eating less overall. You can also drink unsweetened tea or coffee.

Fruit Juice


When you drink juice, you consume all the calories without the natural fruit fibers that fill you up. So even though it claims to be 100 percent fruit juice, you are drinking empty calories that will lead to another blood sugar spike. Don’t worry, the intake of naturally occurring fructose from unprocessed fruit is healthy, but think twice about that bottle of orange juice.

What to do instead: Put down the glass of juice in exchange for water or grab a piece of fresh fruit that contains fiber and nutrients.

Processed Foods

Highly processed foods such as processed meats, packaged snacks and canned foods weight-loss-grocery storein syrup are low in nutrients with added sugar, salt, fat and artificial additives that can promote weight gain. You can usually tell when you read the ingredients on a label because chances are you won’t have a clue what some of them are or how to pronounce them.  That’s because they are artificial chemicals.  Limiting these foods is often a challenge because they appeal to our taste buds and make it hard to eat just one serving.

What to eat instead: Stick to real food instead of processed foods.  Look for single or simple imgredient food items with no added chemicals.  It’s as simple as that!


weight-loss-alcoholModerate alcohol intake doesn’t appear to be linked to weight gain so you can still enjoy that glass of wine or celebratory drink, but alcohol each night will certainly make it harder to lose weight. With the extra calories and possible lower inhibitions after a few drinks, you may lose the drive to choose healthy snacks and end up eating unhealthy choices, and eat more than you intended. Also, it’s important to note that until your body gets rid of the alcohol from your system, you won’t burn any fat!

What to drink instead: There is no replacement for alcohol, so it’s just important to drink in moderation and keep in mind that the type of alcohol matters.

Greasy and Fried Foods

I think we all know by now that greasy and fried foods such as burgers, French fries, weight-loss-hamburgerpizza and fried chicken are unhealthy and fattening.  These foods are not only linked to heart disease and diabetes, but effects your skin, throws your gut bacteria out of whack and strains your digestive system.  Need I say more?

What to eat instead: Try whole, boiled potatoes as a healthy option to help fill you up or eating a lean hamburger without the bun. While it’s highly suggested to avoid greasy food, healthy fat is essential to keeping a balanced diet which is certainly not found in fried foods.

Frozen Meals

weight-loss-frozen mealsManufacturers often load frozen meals with a sodium, a natural preservative, to make fresh ingredients last extra long in your freezer. The sodium makes you retain water and feel bloated and often times the small portions found in frozen box meals are unsatisfying, yet contain more calories than you should be consuming per meal.

What to eat instead: Rather than purchasing frozen meals at the store, try making your own. Next time you cook, double up on the ingredients so you have leftovers, then cool and toss them in a microwave safe container and store it in your freezer for up to 6 months depending on what you cooked. You can also stock up on frozen vegetables and protein that are easy to take out and cook when needed.

High Fiber Snacks

Yes, fiber is healthy and essential for a balanced diet, but the problem with high fiber weight-loss-granolasnacks is that they deliver it in big doses. It’s important that your fiber intake is consistent throughout the day to fight off hunger and improve digestive health.

What to eat: Fruits and veggies are naturally rich in fiber so make produce a part of every snack and meal throughout the day. This will ensure you eat your daily dose of filling fiber.


weight-loss-candybarThis brings us back to sugar. Candy bars, ice cream, pastries, cookies and cakes are extremely unhealthy because they are packed with added sugar, oils and refined flour. They may also contain trans fats which are linked to many diseases and while satisfying for your taste buds, they won’t satisfy your stomach leading you to likely become hungry very quickly after consuming these high-calorie, low-nutrient foods.

What to eat instead: If you are craving something sweet, try eating a piece of fruit instead. If you have chocolate on the brain, reach for the dark chocolate but make sure to limit yourself to a square a day.

Don’t Forbid Yourself from Eating Certain Foods

Remember, even though this post is dedicated to which foods to avoid for weight loss, don’t eliminate entire food groups 100 percent. Completely restricting certain foods can increase temptation and leave you feeling deprived, ultimately leading to binge eating and eventual weight gain. Focus on healthy habits that are realistic and you will likely be more successful with your weight loss in the long haul.


6 Replies to “Top 10 Foods to Avoid for Weight Loss”

  1. Great article! I’m a sucker when it comes to sweets lol, so I knew to be mindful of those. However I’ve never paid much attention to high fiber snacks or frozen meals. This gives me a much better insight into what things to pay attention to when I want to cut back a little. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Debby,

    Well, I guess I am one of those guys that has decided enough is enough and time for a health kick! So your top ten food to avoid for weight loss is pretty much my favorite things haha. I know those zero calorie drinks are bogus claims for health benefits as I saw a documentary on them one night and they replace it with artificial sweeteners that make you gain weight – total scam marketing.

    Water is officially my favorite drink and do you know why so people don’t like the taste of water? I find this weird as it would be genetically ingrained in our DNA to like the taste of it given everyone’s genealogy alive today stems back to the dawn of man – maybe I am just over think it haha.

    The burger and chips though, that is my real weakness, but I am assuming I can have at least have two of them per week to keep me alive? LOL.

    Thanks again Debby and this article really made me quite hungry – time for an apple I think.

    All the best.

    Oh, wish me luck on my (another) new attempt to eat better and lose some weight 🙂 .

    • Hi Philip. Good choice on choosing an apple after I made you hungry. When you go out to eat, just make one of your friends order a burger so you can steal one bite to satisfy that craving, then continue to enjoy your healthy meal knowing you will be that much healthier! haha. I wish you the best on your new journey of health and weight loss. Let me know if you have any questions along the way.

  3. Great read! It’s crazy how much sodium is in those packaged goods. In our home, we have some of “Amy’s Organics Soups” in our cupboards. Now they’re one of the best options when it comes to canned premade soups, but even they are loaded with sodium! It’s everywhere! Thanks for the tips, especially on just having things in moderation. I would go bonkers if I didn’t cheat here and there. I just try to not eat anything heavy after 5pm.

    Love the site! Will be back!

    • I’m a fan of Amy’s Organic Soups as well but yes, sodium is everywhere! That’s great to eat your heavier meals before 5pm and moderation is always the key 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *