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The 5 Worst Foods For Weight Loss

Sep 19 2016 - 7:20am

Even if you're working out hard at the gym, a healthy diet is the key to sustainable weight loss [1]. While you should enjoy everything in moderation, if you're chowing down on any of these foods regularly, it's time to rethink your eating habits. Get ready to kiss these problem foods goodbye and embrace our recommended (delicious) substitutes.

Fatty Meats

While a vegetarian lifestyle isn't for everyone, there are real benefits to cutting down on fatty red meat intake. It's no news that red meat has its risks: it's been linked to different types of cancer and an overall shorter life span [3]. Research has found that replacing just one red meat dish [4] a day with a healthier protein choice reduces your risk of dying early by seven to 19 percent. In terms of weight loss, you can still enjoy red meat, but limit fatty cuts to the occasional indulgence.

Better Choice: The next time you're jonesing for a steak, try a lean cut of red meat like flank steak, tenderloin, or sirloin. You may be surprised to learn that a lean cut of beef has barely more saturated fat than a similar-sized skinless chicken breast [5].


It might hurt to hear, but to lose weight, you may have to revamp your drinking habits. Besides the empty calories found in alcohol, many cocktails are filled with sugar, which hinders the ability to lose weight — even if you're closely watching the other things you're eating.

Better Choice: You don't have to say goodbye to alcohol forever — just make smarter choices and choose the healthiest cocktail options [7] when out! For example, instead of a blended daiquiri, go for the fresher flavors of a low-cal mojito [8]. And lucky for us, Bloody Marys [9] and mimosas are some of the most guilt-free options out there. Also, cutting back on the number of drinks you have can do wonders.

Fried Food

According to research, french fries are the number one food keeping you fat [11], and chips were the second worst offender. Enjoying a few in moderation is fine as a treat, but they should not have a regular place on your plate if you're trying to lose weight. In general, fried foods tend to be saturated in fat and heavy on refined carbs.

Better Choice: Opt for a protein- and fiber-rich baked potato, but go light on all the fixings; this alternative will fill you up for far longer than its fried counterpart. If you can't live without a crispy snack, try one of these recipes for healthy baked chips [12].


Soda offers literally no nutritional benefits. Even diet soda has health risks [14], including an increased risk of heart attack, weight gain, and stroke. If that's not enough to inspire you to quit, know that continuing to down this beverage is sabotaging your weight-loss goals [15]. Studies have shown that individuals who drink two diet sodas a day or more had waistlines that were 500 percent larger than the nondrinkers [16].

Better Choice: If you just love the effervescence of carbonated soda, choose sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh citrus.


In the HBO documentary The Weight of the Nation [18], Robert Lustig, a pediatrician at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, explained that "juice is just like soda . . . there is no difference." Squeezing all that tasty juice out of the fruit may be delicious, but you're losing the all the fiber of the fruit when you do this.

Better Choice: Chef Cheryl Forberg, RD and nutritionist for The Biggest Loser and Omni Hotels & Resorts, suggests eating a whole piece of fruit [19] with all the fiber intact. Your body will release blood sugar slowly, avoiding any sort of insulin spike, and you'll stay more satisfied for a longer period of time.

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