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11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

Published : April 11, 2024 8 mins read Updated On : Apr 12, 2024

Food is one of the greatest joys of life, however, gluttony is amongst the seven deadly sins for a reason.

The phrase “you are what you eat” stems from the direct correlation of food and its impact on one's health. Eating healthy doesn’t necessarily have to be about shoving down big bowls of unseasoned salads, if you can cut out some of the foods and replace them with equally healthy alternatives it can make all the difference.

If you are confused by all the self-proclaimed food gurus telling you what not to eat, we have compiled a guide for you that is curated with scientific evidence and research.

● Why do you need to eat healthy?
● 11 foods to avoid when trying to lose weight
● Conclusion

Before we get into what not to eat, let’s understand—

Why do you need to eat healthy?

Research conducted in the USA showed that death in nearly half of its population was caused by cardiometabolic diseases that were associated with their eating habits (1).

And foodborne diseases kill around 600 million people worldwide.

As per WHO dietary guidance, it is suggested that you should include a combination of foods such as:

● Cereals like barley, wheat, rye, rice or maize and starchy tubers or roots like yam, potato, cassava or taro
● Legumes
● Fruit and vegetables
● Animal-based foods such as fish, meat, eggs and milk

Now let's look into—

11 foods you should avoid when trying to lose weight

1. Sweet baked goods

As much as it hurts to hear, it pains us to say that you need to cut out the bakery products. They are highly processed and contain excessive sugars and unhealthy fats.

Pastries, cookies, cakes and muffins are calorie-dense and daily consumption can lead to weight gain that can potentially lead to a risk of obesity.

The sugars can also spike blood sugar levels and can cause insulin resistance, metabolic disorders and type 2 diabetes.

Research has shown that a substance called Acrylamide found in bakery goods is considered a chemical hazard in the food chain that causes degeneration of the peripheral and central nervous system characterised by motor and cognitive abnormalities. Bakery products such as bread, cakes, biscuits and pies contain acrylamide. (2)

Healthier alternative: You could switch to homemade baked goods with no sugar and replace all-purpose flour with almond flour and a lot of ingredients to their healthier version to still enjoy a sweet treat but in a healthy way.

11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

2. Potato Chips

Potato chips are among the popular snacks that are easily available and are fun to munch on as snacks.

However, it is very greasy and an energy-dense food that has little to no nutritional value.

Eating a pack of chips is equivalent to eating fried and fatty foods that can lead to weight gain and several other negative effects on your body.

A study conducted on evaluating the link between specific foods and weight gain showed that eating potato chips in a 4-year interval period added about 1 kg factoring all the multiple variables. (3)

Healthier alternative: you can switch your regular old bag of chips for kale chips, baked zucchini chips, spicy roasted chickpeas, baked banana and bean chips.

11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

3. Sweetened beverages

Also categorised as ‘soft drinks’ these beverages have tons of added sugars or sweeteners that are high fructose sucrose, corn syrup, fruit juice concentration and more.

They are high in calories and have no nutrient value. You may have a big bottle of a certain beverage and still not feel full while having consumed the same amount of calories as having eaten solid food.

An average can of sugar-sweetened soda or punch may contain about 150 calories. You can gain up to 2 kgs in a year just by consuming them.

Some studies have shown that there is a direct link between the reduction in the prevalence of obesity when sugar-sweetened beverages are consumed less/not at all. (4)

Healthier alternatives: you can replace your sugary drinks with lemon or lime water, full fruit juice or vegetable juice.

11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

4. Maida (white flour)

If you are wondering if bread is good for weight loss? Then the answer is no, it is primarily made of maida.

Maida or all-purpose flour has been shown to have adverse effects on health when consumed daily or in large quantities.

It has a high glycaemic index which means it releases a lot of sugar in the body when consumed which gets released directly into your bloodstream leading to an increase in blood sugar levels.

All your favourite and popular junk foods like pizza and cakes are made from maida or refined flour that can lead to weight gain.

It slows down the metabolic rate of the body which makes the body burn the fats slower and instead starts storing them which leads to increased weight gain. It can also weaken bones and is extremely bad for cholesterol.

Healthier alternatives: You can replace maida with almond flour, coconut flour, buckwheat flour, tapioca flour, quinoa flour, and ragi flour.

11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

5. Alcohol

Alcohol is one the biggest contributors of weight gain as it has empty calories which means that your body is being filled with calories with zero nutrient value.

It has about 155 calories for every 355 ml of beer and 125 calories for 147 ml of wine.

And people can easily consume several cans of beer and glasses of wine in a night.

Alcohol is also notorious for its contribution to beer belly. The added sugars in the beer can lead the body to store fat that can quickly make you gain weight.

Healthier alternatives: kombucha, alcohol-free sparkling wine, sparkling juices, alcohol-free beer, mocktails and alcohol-free gin.

11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

6. French fries

Long-term studies consisting of about 120,000 health professionals followed for up to 20 years showed that french fries are the most effective in increasing weight gain. (5)

One medium serving of french fries from any fast food chain has about 427 calories. An average requires around 2,000 calories per day which makes one serving make for almost ¼ of the day's total requirement.

It also makes the blood sugar levels unstable, increases blood pressure, increases cholesterol levels and leads to digestive problems.

Healthier alternatives: baked spud fries, carrot fries, zucchini fries and avocado fries.

11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

7. Red meats

A study was conducted to evaluate the consumption of meat and its effects on weight gain. It was found that red meat, poultry and meat led to weight gain in both men and women, as well as normal and overweight subjects. (6)

Red meat is a rich source of protein that helps you build muscles and increases your weight. Steak and other red meats contain protein and fats that can promote weight gain.

Healthier alternatives: poultry, fish, beans and nuts.

11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

8. Chocolates

Chocolate is high in calories, fat and sugar which are major contributors to weight gain.

Consuming a lot of sugar leads to a rise in insulin levels, insulin is the hormone that signals our brain that we are hungry.

If you consume a lot of chocolates the sugar will overproduce insulin and make you hungry quickly which will lead to you snacking more often and gaining significantly more weight.

Some chocolate bars contain about 600 calories and eating it in one go can cause an increased calorie intake that is associated with weight gain.

Healthier alternatives: nuts or trail mix, dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate.

11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

9. Ice cream

Ice cream is high in calories. Every ½ cup of vanilla ice cream contains about 7.2 grams of fat and chocolate ice cream contains about 143 calories. These calories come from added sugars that can lead to weight gain.

Regularly consuming ice cream will have significant effects on your weight. It should be reserved for eating on special occasions or as a treat once in a while.

Healthier alternatives: frozen yoghurt, banana ice cream, sorbet, greek yoghurt, coconut milk ice cream, keto ice cream, chia ice cream, and avocado ice cream.

11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

10. Salad dressing

While marketed as “low calorie” condiments, salad dressing available in supermarkets may have hidden sources of added sugars that can contribute to weight gain.

If you check the nutritional value information you will notice that they are high in sugar content. So adding them to your seemingly healthy meal can only lead to weight gain.

Healthier alternatives: avocado, hummus, olive oil & vinegar, and salsa.

11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

11. Processed foods

A study has found that people who consume a diet of highly processed foods tend to take in more calories and gain more weight.

Research was conducted to compare the effects of highly processed along with minimally processed diets within 10 men and women each. This diet lasted for two weeks. The people who consumed highly processed diets had to weight gain of about 0.907 kgs. (7)

Healthier alternatives: fresh vegetables and fruits, fresh poultry and meat.

11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight


If you are on a weight loss journey avoid all the foods we have mentioned above and if you are just starting you can start by cutting them out little by little from your diet and replacing them with the healthier alternatives we have suggested.

It’s impossible to give up years of food habits in one night so take it easy and don’t get frustrated if it seems hard at first, eventually it will become a part of your routine diet.

For a proper meal plan consult your healthcare professional.


1. What should I eat to lose weight?

Weight loss can be achieved through a balanced and nutritious meal plan. You need to include more fresh fruits, lean proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats in your meals.

2. Is bread good for weight loss?

Breads like whole grain or multigrain tend to be more nutritious and higher in fibre compared to refined white bread.

3. What contains carbs?

As we all know, rice is one of the carbs in our common diets other sources can be bread, pasta and starchy
vegetables like potatoes and corn.

4. Is wheat good for weight loss?

A good source of fibre, whole wheat can be great for weight loss as it keeps you fuller for a longer time. It also provides nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.


Sakshi Phagna
Bachelors and Masters in nutrition and health

11 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight

Soumil Vartak
Health and Fitness enthusiast

Soumil is really passionate about health and fitness. He provides great insight on various trends about health and fitness. By writing about these topics he try to provide key insight on diet and e... Read More


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