Certain foods are high in sugar, refined carbs, and fat, yet low in important nutrients like protein and fiber. This can make weight loss more difficult and may have other negative effects on health.
Most people focus solely on cutting calories to lose weight.
However, it’s also crucial to consider the types of foods that you’re eating.
Foods high in protein and fiber can keep you feeling fuller for longer, which may support weight loss (
On the other hand, eating too many foods high in sugar, refined carbs, or fat can add extra calories to your diet, making weight loss more challenging.
Here are 11 foods to limit when you’re trying to lose weight.
French fries and potato chips are often very high in calories and fat.
In observational studies, consuming French fries and potato chips has been linked to weight gain and obesity (
One 2011 study even found that potato chips may contribute to more weight gain per serving than any other food (
What’s more, baked, roasted, or fried potatoes may contain substances called acrylamides, which have been linked to cancer (
Therefore, it’s best to enjoy these foods in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
French fries and potato chips are high in calories and fat, which could contribute to weight gain if consumed in excess. Therefore, it’s best to enjoy these foods in moderation.
Sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, are high in calories and added sugar.
They are strongly associated with weight gain and can have negative effects on health when consumed in excess (
Even though sugary drinks contain a lot of calories, your brain doesn’t register them like solid food (
Liquid sugar calories don’t make you feel as full, meaning you won’t eat less food to compensate. Instead, you may end up adding these calories on top of your normal intake.
If you are serious about losing weight, consider limiting your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and opting for drinks like flavored water, kombucha, tea, or coffee instead.
Sugary drinks can negatively affect your weight and general health. If weight loss is your goal, then limiting your intake of soda and similar drinks may have a big impact.
White bread is highly refined and often contains a lot of added sugar.
It is high on the glycemic index, meaning that it can lead to a rapid increase in blood sugar levels (9,
One 2014 study in 9,267 people found that eating two slices (120 grams) of white bread per day was linked to a 40% greater risk of weight gain and obesity (
Fortunately, there are many nutritious alternatives to conventional wheat bread, including Ezekiel bread, which is made from sprouted grains and legumes.
However, keep in mind that all wheat breads do contain gluten, which should be avoided by people with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity.
Some other options for those following a gluten-free diet include oopsie bread, cornbread, and almond flour bread.
White bread has a high glycemic index and has been linked to weight gain and obesity. It also contains gluten, which may not be suitable for people with celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten.
Candy bars pack high amounts of added sugar, added oils, and refined flour into a small package.
Candy bars are also high in calories and low in nutrients. Many varieties of candy bars covered in chocolate contain around 200–300 calories, and extra-large bars may contain even more (
If you are craving something sweet, consider opting for a snack-sized candy bar or a few squares of dark chocolate and enjoy alongside other nutritious snacks, like fresh fruit, nuts, or a yogurt parfait.
Candy bars are high in sugar, refined flour, and added oils. They are also high in calories, but not very filling.
Some fruit juices you find at the supermarket have very little in common with whole fruit.
In fact, some types can contain just as much sugar and calories as soda, if not more (
Also, fruit juice usually contains no fiber and doesn’t require chewing.
This means that a glass of orange juice won’t have the same effects on fullness as an orange, making it easy to consume large quantities in a short amount of time (
Opt for whole fruit instead, or try limiting your intake of fruit juice to around 4 ounces (118 milliliters) at a time.
Fruit juice is high in calories and added sugar, but usually contains no fiber. It is best to stick to stick to smaller portions or choose whole fruit.
Pastries, cookies, and cakes are packed with calories and added sugar.
These foods are also not very satisfying, meaning that you may become hungry very quickly after eating these high calorie foods.
If you’re trying to lose weight, try limiting your portion sizes of these foods and enjoy them from time to time as part of a well-rounded diet.
Foods like dark chocolate, fruit, trail mix, or chia pudding can also help satisfy your sweet tooth instead.
Pastries, cookies, and cakes are high in calories and added sugar but are not very filling. Limiting your portion sizes or opting for other sweet snacks may help with weight management.
Alcohol provides more calories than carbs and protein, or about 7 calories per gram.
However, the evidence for alcohol and weight gain is not clear (
Drinking alcohol in moderation seems to be fine and is actually linked to reduced weight gain. Heavy drinking, on the other hand, is associated with increased weight gain (
The type of alcohol also matters. Beer can cause weight gain, but drinking wine in moderation may actually be beneficial (
If you are trying to lose weight, you may want to consider cutting back on alcohol or enjoying drinks like wine in small amounts.
In addition to being high in calories, most types of ice cream are also loaded with sugar.
A small portion of ice cream is fine every now and then, but the problem is that it’s very easy to consume massive amounts in one sitting.
Be sure to serve yourself a small portion of ice cream instead of eating straight from the container so that you won’t end up eating too much.
Alternatively, consider making your own frozen desserts using less sugar and more nutritious ingredients like full-fat yogurt and fruit.
Store-bought ice cream is high in sugar and calories. Making your own frozen desserts at home using less sugar or sticking to smaller portion sizes of ice cream can be beneficial if you’re trying to lose weight.
Pizza is a very popular fast food. However, commercially made pizzas are often high in calories and made with ingredients like highly refined flour and processed meat.
If you want to enjoy a slice of pizza, try making your own at home using nutritious ingredients and toppings.
If you order from a restaurant, stick to lower calorie toppings like grilled chicken, peppers, onions, spinach, mushrooms, or garlic.
You can also choose thin crust pizza to reduce the calorie content or enjoy a slice or two alongside a salad or a side of steamed broccoli to round out your meal.
Commercial pizzas are often made from highly refined and processed ingredients. Making your own pizza at home or selecting lower calorie toppings can support weight management.
Coffee contains several biologically active substances, including caffeine.
These chemicals can boost your metabolism and increase fat burning, at least in the short term (
However, many coffee drinks contain excessive amounts of cream and sugar, which can significantly increase the total calorie content in each serving.
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s best to limit your consumption of these beverages or choose plain, black coffee sweetened with a bit of cream or milk.
Plain, black coffee may help increase fat burning and boost your metabolism. However, many coffee drinks contain excessive amounts of cream and sugar, which can increase the total calorie content.
Consuming high amounts of added sugar is thought to contribute to several chronic conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and liver disease (
Foods high in added sugar usually provide high amounts of calories, but are lacking in other important nutrients and are not very filling.
Examples of foods that may contain massive amounts of added sugar include sugary breakfast cereals, granola bars, and low fat, flavored yogurt.
You should be especially careful when selecting “low fat” or “fat-free” foods, as manufacturers often add extra sugar to make up for the flavor that’s lost when the fat is removed.
Added sugar is high in calories and may be linked to several chronic health problems. Many products, such as low fat and fat-free foods, are high in sugar and should be consumed in moderation.
If you’re trying to lose weight, the types of foods that you’re eating can make a big impact.
In addition to being higher in calories, certain foods might also be less filling or lacking in important nutrients that can support weight loss, such as fiber or protein.
Be sure to check the label carefully and limit your intake of foods that are highly processed or high in added sugar.
Also, remember to consider the serving sizes. Some nutrient-dense foods, like nuts, dried fruit, and cheese, are high in calories, and it can be very easy to eat too much.
You can also practice mindful eating, in which you pay close attention to each bite, chew your foods slowly, and monitor your fullness. This technique can help moderate your food intake.