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10 Foods That Don’t Want You to Lose Weight – Yes, Fruit Juice Too!

Ana Reisdorf
10 Foods That Don’t Want You to Lose Weight – Yes, Smoothies Too!
When I worked as an outpatient weight loss dietitian, almost all of my clients wanted me to provide a food list for them. Basically, foods to eat and foods to avoid. Although these types of lists may exist for managing certain medical conditions with a specific diet, this does not exist for weight loss.

If you want to lose weight, you don’t need to avoid specific foods — you need to eat fewer calories. It shouldn’t really matter where these calories come from. In fact, a few years ago a nutrition professor decided to prove this point by losing weight eating a low-calorie diet of just Twinkies. He lost 27 pounds eating Twinkies and one protein shake per day. In theory, this is possible with any food, as long as you keep the calories low. 

But if you try to follow a Twinkie diet, you are going to struggle to stick with your plan and probably not reach your goal. Eating just refined carbohydrates, like Twinkies, is going to spike and crash your blood sugar. This will leave you exhausted and make you ravenously hungry. It will be incredibly hard to maintain a calorie deficit if you rely upon these types of foods in a weight loss diet.

Additionally, you will find yourself missing a lot of critical nutrients that are essential for long-term health. This nutrient depletion will also increase cravings because your body wants vitamins and minerals. 

So, if you want to lose weight, what should you do? The key is to focus on nutrient-dense foods that make you satisfied, while avoiding those foods that have little nutrition and increase hunger. 

Here is a list of those foods that will make sticking to your diet more challenging:

1. Soda

Soda, pop, or any sugar-sweetened beverage adds calories and very little nutrition. Soda provides almost no vitamins, minerals, or protein. It is just 100% sugar. The fact that the calories are liquid means they are rapidly absorbed and quickly increase your blood sugar only to make it crash. This leaves you tired and hungry. For this reason, multiple studies have found that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages regularly is associated with obesity

Additionally, when you drink your calories, the liquid doesn’t fill you up. You don’t usually adjust your calorie intake to account for what is coming from the drinks. So, you end up eating the same amount you normally would. I have had multiple clients simply cut out sweetened beverages and lose weight.

Try this instead:

Instead of soda, consider drinking plain or flavored calorie-free waters. Don’t just switch to diet sodas, either. Although they are calorie-free, the impact that artificial sweeteners have on weight management is unclear.

2. Alcohol

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but alcohol should be eliminated for weight loss. Alcohol, like soda, is essentially empty calories. Mixed drinks in particular are a significant source of added calories and sugar. Did you know a 4 ounce pina colada can have 250 calories? These can add up fast!

Alcohol doesn’t only contain calories, it also increases your hunger and lowers your inhibitions. Ever wonder why bars normally serve comfort food like nachos or burgers? They know their patrons are going to be looking for indulgent foods to enjoy with their cocktails. Lower inhibitions make it harder to stick with your diet.

Try this instead:

Although red wine has been touted as “healthy” due to the antioxidant content, this isn’t enough to make it a friend of your waistline. If you must drink, either stick to one glass or consider a low-calorie cocktail like a vodka soda.

3. Refined Carbohydrates 

Refined carbohydrates — like white bread, rice, and pasta — have little fiber and nutrition to keep you full. This means you can eat a large volume of these foods (and consume a ton of calories) before you are satisfied. Carbs are cheap, so you might notice that many restaurants serve large portions, prompting you to overeat.

Try this instead:

Consider swapping out your refined carbs for whole grain varieties. The fiber in these will reduce your total intake and keep you full longer.

4. Candy

Candy is another food that has very little nutrition and tons of sugar. It is also extremely easy to overeat, meaning the calories can add up quickly. 

You may have heard that chocolate is healthy for you. Yes, but only the extra dark kind. Milk chocolate has almost all the antioxidants removed and is high in saturated fat.

Try this instead:

If you need a sweet treat after a meal, consider a cup of berries drizzled with a bit of honey or a small piece of dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao.

5. Coffee ‘Drinks’

Plain coffee is almost calorie free. But, few of us choose to drink it black. Instead we order the triple mocha blended coffee with extra whip. These beverages, depending on the size, can easily pack 500 calories or more. Pair them with a muffin and you are looking at a breakfast that can easily contain over 1,000 calories. 

Try this instead:

If you must stop by your favorite coffee shop, consider ordering the “skinny” version of your favorite drink or an iced coffee with skim milk.

6. Fruit Juice

Although fruit juices do contain some vitamins, they belong in the same category as soda. To make juice, the fiber is removed from the fruit. The fiber is what helps prevent blood sugar spikes when you eat fruit. When the fiber is gone, there is no protection and the juice spikes your blood sugar. 

Additionally, like soda, you likely won’t adjust your calories to account for the calories in the juice, so you will just end up eating more. 

Try this instead:

Instead of fruit juice, consider fruit-infused water. Just add slices of orange, lemon, or strawberries for a refreshing, slightly sweet beverage.

7. Smoothies

Smoothies are an attempt to make milkshakes “healthy” by adding fruit to them. Most smoothies you find at a juice bar have 500 calories or more due to the amount of fruit and sorbet in each one. Don’t fool yourself, these are not health beverages. If you consume them regularly, you will find it very difficult to lose weight.

Try this instead:

Consider making smoothies at home, but adding only 1 serving of fruit. One banana or a cup of berries is fine, but focus instead on adding veggies and low-calorie plant milks.

8. Potato Chips

You can’t eat just one! Potato chips are an amazing creation of the modern food system. They are incredibly tasty to ensure you can’t eat just one. Ultra-processed foods, like chips, are just too hard to resist. Having them around makes it difficult to stop eating them.

Try this instead:

If you want something crunchy to munch on, consider one of the many whole veggie chip alternatives that are out there, like beet or kale chips. Although these are not quite the same, they will help you cut back on calories. 

9. Granola

Granola has a “health halo” in that many people think it is a health food. Well, it’s not! Did you know that most granola is deep fried and loaded with sugar and calories?  One cup of granola can pack 400-600 calories! That can be even higher if the granola has chocolate, nuts, or dried fruit mixed in.

Try this instead:

If you want something crunchy to eat on top of your yogurt, either limit your portion of granola or consider alternatives like coconut flakes, nuts, or chia seeds.

10. Restaurant Food

When you eat at a restaurant you have little control over what goes into your food. Most restaurants cook with large amounts of fat and salt, which can make it challenging to lose weight. Also, portions at restaurants are quite large, making it difficult to control your calorie intake.

Try this instead:

If you must eat out, plan ahead and choose a restaurant that provides calorie information. Decide what you are going to eat ahead of time so you are not tempted by “naughty”  items on the menu.

Bonus Weight Loss Tip

In the end, although some foods make weight loss harder, a successful weight loss diet is a sustainable diet. A good rule of thumb for weight loss is to practice an 80/20 approach. Eighty percent of the foods you choose should be healthy and low in calories, while 20% can be foods you truly enjoy.

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Ana Reisdorf
Ana Reisdorf contributes to Top10.com as aa Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with 13 years of experience in nutrition and dietetics. She has published three cookbooks, including her most recent release, "The 21-day Arthritis Diet Plan", and has written for many major health and nutrition brands like Viome, Abbott, Naturemade, and Walgreens.

The information on this site is based on research, but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new diet plan, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Results may vary based on various health factors, individual weight loss plans and adherence to the meal plan.