These are the biggest culprits you’re going to want to stay far away from. Here are 12 foods ruining your weight loss goals.
1. Salad dressings
Salads are a no-brainer meal option when you are working toward your weight loss goals. You can combine so many vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins for a nutritional meal, but if you are also loading up on bottled salad dressings, you’ll counteract all of the healthful, delicious items in your salad.
If you actually take a look at the nutrition breakdowns of popular store-bought salad dressings, you’ll see that they not only contain soybean or canola oils, but they’re packed with artificial flavors, colors, and sodium-rich preservatives, along with added sugars (hello, high-fructose corn syrup), and trans fat, according to Harvard research.
A blueberry muffin sounds innocent enough, right? But before you purchase some from the bakery or café for breakfast, be aware that a typical muffin is actually high in calories and sugar with very little fiber.
However, muffins can be a healthy option if done right, though! Try making smaller muffins at home using whole wheat flour and less sugar—swap sugar for honey, real maple syrup, or even extra fruit for natural sweetness.
Burgers from fast food establishments are often high in fat and calories. People who eat a lot of burgers have a higher risk of obesity than those who eat less. Lean ground beef in sandwiches will be included in a healthy weight loss menu if cooked at home without fat or oil (like at a fast food restaurant).
So, when trying to lose weight, each person should avoid eating burgers, fried foods when eating out. There should be healthier alternatives such as chicken dishes, fish, salads,…
4. Low-fat dairy products
Low-fat or fat-free dairy products, particularly yogurt, might seem like the perfect choice for reducing weight, but it turns out that sometimes, the missing flavor from the fat is compensated with added sugars. Rather than an overly sweetened, high-calorie yogurt labeled “low-fat,” “light,” or “fat-free,” opt for the plain full-fat yogurt—in moderation—and add flavor with fresh fruit and nuts.
5. Processed meat
Processed meats such as dried meat, smoked meat, canned meat, sausages, etc. often contain a lot of salt and few nutrients. Besides, they also have more calories than poultry, fish, legumes, etc. Eating a lot of processed meat can lead to weight gain and even increase the risk of cancer. Therefore, this is the food that people who are losing weight should limit.
6. Protein/energy bars
Energy bars claim to give you a boost of protein and energy and are often purchased as a healthy snack or post-workout fuel. But you’re better off enjoying whole foods and lean proteins for energy. Most of the time, these bars end up super high in fat and sugar.
7. White rice
Rice—particularly brown rice—is a healthy option to round out any meal. But white rice has the nutritious layers of bran and embryo removed, which means it is also stripped of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
According to Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, white rice has a higher glycemic index than brown rice, meaning it raises blood sugar levels more than brown rice after consumption.
The school reported, “The average GI for brown rice is low at 55, whereas the GI for white rice is higher at 64. Observational studies have found an association between a high GI diet and greater risk for type 2 diabetes.”
8. Microwave popcorn
Popcorn, at its core, is a healthy snack and contains many vitamins and minerals: Vitamins B1, B3, and B6 as well as iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is also high in fiber.
Typical microwave popcorn, however, includes added fats and salt, neither of which make for a healthy snack that promotes weight loss.
Cakes and sweets are often not healthy because they are high in calories, sugar, refined flour and fat. However, people who are losing weight can still eat chocolate in moderation. It is best to eat 1-2 small pieces of dark chocolate because it contains less sugar than white or milk chocolate. If craving for snacks, users can eat a piece of fruit or nuts.
Like most foods, cheese is fine in moderation. The American Heart Association recommends consuming up to 3 servings of dairy daily, with 1 to 1.5 ounces of cheese counting as one serving.
But if you are adding cheese to your eggs in the morning, then your lunchtime salad, then your baked potato or pasta at night, you might be eating a little too much.
Meanwhile, foods like pizza have far more cheese than you need in a day. One ounce of cheese has about 9 grams of fat, which can add up if you aren’t paying attention to portion sizes.
Smoothies are a poster child for healthy eating and weight loss. But don’t be fooled—they can also derail your progress in just a few sips. Smoothies from the grocery store or cafés are typically loaded with sugars, but even a homemade smoothie can have too much sugar and even fat if you are adding milk and nut butters.
Premade protein smoothies can be especially harmful to your weight loss goals. You might be surprised, but some pre-made high-protein drinks have about the same amount of sugar and artificial sweeteners you can find in diet sodas and milkshakes.
Obviously, chips and fries are likely to lead to weight gain, but keep in mind that potatoes, in general, are a starchy vegetable that can keep you from reaching your goals.
One long-term study found that “foods that contained higher amounts of refined carbohydrates—whether these were added or not—were associated with weight gain in similar ways, and potato products (which are low in sugars and high in starches) showed the strongest associations with weight gain.”
If you do consume potatoes, just be sure your portion is small!