Five foods to avoid when losing weight

by | Nov 7, 2019 | Blog, Fitness & Wellness

Five foods to avoid when losing weight

When I’m asked if certain foods need to be cut out permanently, and I often say, “depends”. Not super helpful right? I know. Keep reading to get the full story on each food and if you should kick it to the curb forever. Yo-yo dieting is a real issue, so we try to teach women how to combat it correctly. Columbia University reports that 73% of dieters experience at least one weight cycling episode. So basically, if you are reading this and you have intentionally lost weight and gained it back, you are not alone. On top of that, The Mayo Clinic reports more “Yo-Yo” cycles increase diabetes risk and amounts of belly fat. So if you are going to lose weight, try and lose it forever.

Ultra-processed foods

In a culture of fast and quick, processed foods rule. Think about how many center isles exist in your grocery store. All that food is processed. Some processed foods are acceptable like whole grains and herbs, but ultra-processed foods are one of the five foods to avoid when losing weight. Here is a definition of ultra-processed food according to NOVA (public classification for food processing).

“The fourth NOVA group is of ultra-processed food and drink products. These are industrial formulations typically with five or more and usually many ingredients. Such ingredients often include those also used in processed foods, such as sugar, oils, fats, salt, antioxidants, stabilizers, and preservatives. Ingredients only found in ultra-processed products include substances not commonly used in culinary preparations, and additives whose purpose is to imitate sensory qualities of group 1 foods (naturally occuring foods) or of culinary preparations of these foods, or to disguise undesirable sensory qualities of the final product.”

FAKE FOOD. No thanks. So what does this mean to you? Do you have to start baking bread and churning your butter? No. It just means that you need to flip to the back of the label of the box or bag of food you are considering at the grocery store and read the label. If it has more than four ingredients, it needs to go back on the shelf. Most likely it’s full of food coloring, binding agents and added sugar to make the food taste and feel better in your mouth. None of those chemicals help you lose weight or improve your organ function. This includes diet sodas. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. You knew that anyway, right? I would eat ultra-processed food only on occasion. Try to get out of the habit of buying and feeding it to your family. 

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Fruit juice

Let’s talk about fruit juice. There are two different kinds of juice I want to discuss; naturally squeezed from the fruit and processed with added sugar. One is better than the other without a doubt. According to CancerCenter.com,

“Natural sugars are found in fruit as fructose and in dairy products, such as milk and cheese, as lactose. Foods with natural sugar have an important role in the diet of cancer patients and anyone trying to prevent cancer because they provide essential nutrients that keep the body healthy and help prevent disease. Refined sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beets, which are processed to extract the sugar. It is typically found as sucrose, which is the combination of glucose and fructose. We use white and brown sugars to sweeten cakes and cookies, coffee, cereal and even fruit. Food manufacturers add chemically produced sugar, typically high-fructose corn syrup, to foods and beverages, including crackers, flavored yogurt, tomato sauce and salad dressing. Low-fat foods are the worst offenders, as manufacturers use sugar to add flavor.”

There would never be a day that I would encourage a client to cut out fruit. There are too many important nutritional properties in fruit and aside from that, cutting fruit is not a long-term solution to healthy body composition- or a realistic request. Produce with naturally occurring sugar has vitamins and nutrients that we need for whole-body health. I would suggest that you cut the fruit juice out of your diet until you hit your goal body comp. After that, add it back into your diet on occasion and in the earlier part of the day so you have plenty of time to burn the glucose before your insulin helps your body to store excess sugar in your fat cells.  


Say it ain’t so. I know. If you regularly enjoy alcoholic beverages, it’s impeding your weight loss success. There is a significant amount of added sugars, empty or purposeless calories in your drinks, and once you are feeling tipsy, your willpower leaves the building. Now if it’s your niece’s wedding and she has a toast, by all means tip the glass, but to get to your goal weight, you are going to have to put the drinks away regularly. If you want to know about my “safer” drink options read, Weekends Might Be Ruining Your Diet. Cut alcohol back to one drink per week while you are trying to drop the pounds. Once you are at your goal weight and body comp, add it back in moderation and with control.

Coffee Creamer

Coffee creamer is one of the five foods to avoid when losing weight. According to wikipedia.com, Coffee-Mate Original is mostly made up of three ingredients: corn syrup solids, hydrogenated vegetable oil, and sodium caseinate. Coffee-Mate Original also contains small amounts of dipotassium phosphate, to prevent coagulation; mono- and diglycerides, used as an emulsifier; sodium aluminosilicate, an anticaking agent; artificial flavor; and annatto color.[6]  

When it the last time you added dipotassium phosphate (a compound also used in fertilizer) to your kid’s cereal in the morning? Never? Me either. Let’s not start the day with all that garbage in your system either. Synthetic creamers. Stick to black coffee or find a clean plant-based creamer with less than five ingredients.

Sitting Down

I realize that I am cheating on this one as sitting down is not actually food but this is important. The sitting epidemic cannot be erased with regular exercise. It doesn’t balance out, unfortunately. Studies show that moving every 20 minutes is the key to avoiding chronic disease. Every 20 minutes, friends! Dr. James Levine, a leading researcher on the topic, cited one study that compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV or other types of screens with those who watched more than four hours a day. Those with greater screen time had:

      • -A nearly 50% increased risk of death from any cause
      • -About 125 % increased the risk of events associated with cardiovascular diseases, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack.

On top of that, sitting causes obesity which you probably can assume from the stats above, but let me put the calories burned by standing into perspective. StartStanding.org reports that you burn on average of 50 calories more each hour by standing. If you stand for three hours a day, five days per week, it adds up to 750 calories burned. In a year that adds up to 30,000 calories, which is almost 9 pounds. This is the equivalent of around ten marathons per year. My mind is blown. How do we increase the number of times we stand in a day? WATER! Let’s get to peeing, folks. Divide your body weight in half then drink that much water every day in ounces. Get clearer skin, move more, and avoid the desire to overeat because your stomach will be more full, naturally.