Losing weight or dropping body fat can be a difficult task, especially when you are eating the wrong foods!
Unfortunately, there are many foods that have a fairly small volume or size (meaning they don’t fill you up) yet they contain a ton of calories that make it very easy to over consume or wreck your fat loss efforts.
Even worse, some of these foods are labeled or seen as healthy, preying on clever marketing or the lack of nutritional knowledge of the general public.
In this article, I’ll breakdown 5 foods to eliminate when trying to lose weight or drop body fat, some of which may just surprise you!
1. Avoid Drinking Full Calorie Soda
Full calorie soda is one of the worst possible things you can consume while attempting to lose bodyweight.
While carbohydrates alone won’t directly lead to weight gain, over consuming them on a daily basis will and soda has a TON of them.
Depending on the amount, full calorie soda can have upwards of 70 grams of sugar for a 20 oz per serving, an adult’s total daily sugar intake in one drink. That also equates to 280 empty calories, which, if consumed multiple times per day, can lead to significant weight gain (1).
Further, due to the nature of beverages, their volume and impact on satiety are very low. This means that in addition to easily consuming a lot of calories without realizing it, these calories won’t have much of an effect on hunger.
As a result, you may end up consuming these drinks in addition to other foods containing calories, thus thwarting your weight loss attempts or even leading to weight gain.
Rather than consuming full-calorie soda drinks, consider consuming diet versions. While diet beverages contain artificial sweeteners (which incidentally are not that bad for you), they won’t contain any calories and thus cannot directly result in weight gain.
Additionally, a recent study followed up on 300 subjects over the course of 40 weeks to determine what effect using artificial sweeteners had on body composition change.
The researchers observed that participants who used artificial sweeteners regularly rather than just water, experienced greater weight loss, had fewer feelings of hunger and were able to keep the weight off after they lost it (2).
With the accessibility of diet soda, there’s really no reason to ever consume a regular high sugar soda. Of course, if you did really love it, then you could have it on rare occasions when you hit your weight loss goal, but it really is best avoided. Regular liquid intake should consist of water, tea, coffee, milk and other calorie free beverages.
2. Nut Butter – Low Volume, High fat
Peanut butter and other nut butters is considered to be a health food (which is true), but it may actually be thwarting your attempts at weight loss, or at least making them harder.
Peanut butter is often a popular choice within the fitness world with companies promoting it as a good protein source. However, the value of this protein is reduced by the fact that it’s an incomplete protein source and, moreover, by the fact that you would need to eat half a jar to get the benefits of just one chicken breast.
By being an incomplete source, it does not include all of the necessary amino acids that the body requires to build new proteins and increase lean muscle mass. Furthermore, you would need 500+ calories to actually get a decent protein dose, which is very unrealistic, especially when dieting.
Additionally, peanut butter is a very small volume food, meaning that it has a very high-calorie count for a small amount of food. All of this, in addition to the fact that many people have a hard time eating only 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, means it should generally be avoided.
Finally, other research has indicated you actually consume fewer calories when eating the identical amount of a whole nut. This is because your body burns calories during the digestion of a whole nut version over nut butter, which is already ground down.
If weight loss is one of your primary goals, then consider avoiding peanut butter unless you are on a low-carb, high-fat diet, which may allow for a small and controlled amount each day. If you do love nut butter, try other higher protein, lower fat versions such as PB2, Nuts n More or Buff Bake.
3. Pre-Bagged Popcorn – Junk Food in Disguise
Pre-bagged caramel or sugary popcorn is a calorie-filled snack disguised as a health food.
Popcorn on its own can be a healthy carb source, providing a large volume and a high fiber content to increase satiety. However, many companies have taken advantage of this fact and produced high-calorie popcorn, tricking consumers with buzz words such as “organic” and “low fat snack”.
The problem is that many pre-bagged popcorn alternatives have a fairly high amount of sugar, fat or both. This means that they are also calorie dense so the serving size must be small; however, few people can eat just one handful of popcorn, right?
For example, in one popular pre-bagged popcorn product, 1 serving of 150 calories equates to roughly 3.75 cups. This is in contrast to manually air-popped popcorn, which equates to 7.5 cups per serving for 150 calories.
That isn’t a typo. For the same amount of calories in air popped popcorn, compared to the pre-bagged kind, you literally can eat double the volume of popcorn for the same calories.
In doing so, you can increase volume and fiber content significantly. Both of which can increase satiety and even weight loss. Remember, you can still flavor this with sweetener, salt, spices and other low calorie / low sugar flavorings (3).
4. Super High Fat Red Meats Can Ruin Your Physique
Studies have shown that increasing protein intake can directly increase your metabolism since digesting it takes so much energy. In the same light, the slow digestion speed can increase satiety, potentially leading to weight loss over time (4, 5, 6).
However, there are many different types of meats that, despite their high protein content, actually have a very high amount of fat, which can contribute to consuming too many calories.
For example, foods such as rib eye steak, for example, can have upwards of 60 grams of fat in one 10 ounce serving. Considering a steak meal often consists of other foods such potato and vegetable as well, a meal including this type of steak can cost you upwards of 1000 calories.
While red meat can still be good for weight loss, you should stick with leaner sources and lower fat red meat sources. For example, consider swapping rib eye for round steak which has only 29 grams of fat per 10 ounce serving. This is half, a simple change that can have drastic results if it’s a regular part of your diet.
Of course, leaner meats and fish are probably the best source for daily consumption when dieting, especially if you aren’t on a higher fat, low carb diet. For 80% of your meals, stick with fish, leaner red meats and poultry such as chicken.
5. Avoid Fruit Juice – Eat Whole Fruit Only
Fruit juice is often considered to be a staple for weight loss but unfortunately, in my opinion, is actually one of the worst ‘fake health foods’ on the planet.
While fruits are healthy and nutrient dense, consuming them via juice form is simply an easy way to increase your sugar and calorie intake or gain body fat. Unlike fruit juice that loses all the fiber, whole fruits provide a good intake of your daily fiber requirements.
Fiber increases satiety and aids in weight loss, general health and even reduces disease risk.
Additionally, whole fruits can have a large volume-to-calorie ratio meaning you can eat a large amount without a high dose of calories. Of course, fruit juice on the other hand provides very little volume but a crazy amount of sugar (7).
For example, an 8-ounce glass of orange juice can yield roughly 26 grams of carbohydrate and 111 calories as opposed to a small orange which provides around 45 calories and only 11 grams of carbs, in addition to 2.5 grams of fiber.
In general, there is no need to ever consume fruit juice. In fact, 90% of fruit juice actually loses most of its nutrients. Even freshly squeezed juice has a crazy amount of sugar and should just be replaced with eating whole fruits.
5 Foods to Avoid When Trying to Lose Weight or Drop Body Fat
While weight loss can be a difficult venture, there are little tips and tricks that will make it a whole lot easier.
Unfortunately, there are numerous foods that are often described as being healthy just in order to take your hard earned cash, but they provide little benefit in terms of nutritional content, satiety or weight loss benefits.
When concerning yourself with losing weight, consider total calorie, protein, volume (size of the plate/meal) and fiber content of foods, rather than simply believing what it says on the label or what your local ‘health guru’ may try to tell you.
If you want a proven and highly advanced 7-day meal plan tailored to your own body and calorie needs, you can download it here as part of the 90 Day Bikini plan.
1. Wurtman, R. J., & Wurtman, J. J. (1995). Brain serotonin, carbohydrate‐craving, obesity and depression. Obesity, 3(S4).
2. Peters, J. C., Beck, J., Cardel, M., Wyatt, H. R., Foster, G. D., Pan, Z., … Hill, J. O. (2016). The effects of water and non-nutritive sweetened beverages on weight loss and weight maintenance: A randomized clinical trial. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 24(2), 297–304. http://doi.org/10.1002/oby.21327
3. Lefranc-Millot, C., Macioce, V., Guérin-Deremaux, L., Lee, A. W., & Cho, S. S. (2012). Fiber and Satiety. Dietary Fiber and Health, 83.
4. Westerterp, K. R. (2004). Diet induced thermogenesis. Nutrition & metabolism, 1(1), 5.
5. Luscombe, N. D., Clifton, P. M., Noakes, M., Farnsworth, E., & Wittert, G. (2003). Effect of a high-protein, energy-restricted diet on weight loss and energy expenditure after weight stabilization in hyperinsulinemic subjects. International journal of obesity, 27(5), 582-590.
6. Veldhorst, M., Smeets, A. J. P. G., Soenen, S., Hochstenbach-Waelen, A., Hursel, R., Diepvens, K., … & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. (2008). Protein-induced satiety: effects and mechanisms of different proteins. Physiology & behavior, 94(2), 300-307.
7. Bolton, R. P., Heaton, K. W., & Burroughs, L. F. (1981). The role of dietary fiber in satiety, glucose, and insulin: studies with fruit and fruit juice. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 34(2), 211-217.