5 Foods You Must Avoid To Lose Weight in 2023

The obesity epidemic shows no signs of slowing down. The recent State of Obesity 2022 report found that 19 states now have obesity rates above 35 percent and 4 in 10 US adults are obese. If your weight has been struggling, it’s not your fault. Our food supply plays a huge role. The report details how easy access to affordable, low-quality “junk” food and soda makes it difficult to control your weight.

Although no single food or drink is responsible for your weight gain, obesity researchers have identified foods and drinks that are consistently associated with weight gain. In general, these foods tend to be very tasty (aka, delicious), ultra-processed, and quickly digested because they are often lacking in fiber and protein. And, most importantly, they’re all high in calories, making it difficult to stick to your overall daily calorie goal.

Some common examples of ultra-processed culprits that experts cite are sugar-sweetened beverages, deli meats and stable meat snacks, fried potatoes and other salty snacks, French fries, ice cream and doughnuts.

Not only do these nutrient-poor calories increase your risk for weight gain, recently published research shows JAMA Neurology reported that in a study of more than 10,000 adults, those who ate 20% or more of their daily calories coming from ultra-processed foods had an increased risk of cognitive decline. What’s more, the average American gets more than half of their daily calories from low-quality processed foods.

With all this information in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the foods and drinks you’ll want to avoid to lose weight in 2023.

Processed meat and poultry products

different deli meats and sausages

If you love deli meats, bacon and sausage, shelf-stable cuts of meat and processed animal-based products, you may want to reconsider how much you’re eating. A study published in BMC Research Notes found that consumption of processed meat was directly associated with increased abdominal fat and central obesity. Central obesity is defined as having a BMI over 30 kg/m2, as well as a waist measurement of at least 40 inches for men and 34.5 inches for women.

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Subjects who reported eating the most processed meat had a 22% increased risk for central obesity compared to subjects who ate the least processed meat. If weight is a concern for you this year, you may want to limit your consumption of processed meat and poultry and choose fresher, leaner cuts of meat and poultry to help you meet the recommended daily limits for calories, saturated fat and sodium.

Food based on fried potatoes

A meta-analysis published in New England Journal of Medicine reported that a study of more than 120,000 middle-aged women found that potato chips (and other processed potato products) were strongly correlated with weight gain.

Another study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that individuals who reported eating fried potato foods (i.e. French fries and potato chips) were at an increased risk of diabetes, other comorbidities, and even premature death, compared to those who reported eating less potato-based foods and potato products. .

French fries and potato chips contain more calories per serving than most other foods. Consider that a medium order of McDonald’s fries has 320 calories and about 20% of the fat you need in a day. The researchers also identified that other more natural, nutrient-rich foods were associated with less weight gain over time. These foods include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and yogurt.

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You might think having one donut won’t affect your diet, but this office meeting treat is more dangerous to your waistline than you’d believe. Donuts are rich in refined flour, low in fiber and added sugar, and they’re fried, making them very high in calories.

The worst part of the morning donut may be that the food you eat for breakfast helps set your appetite and hunger hormones for the rest of the day. Donuts and coffee can trigger cravings for other refined carbohydrates and high-calorie foods by midday. On the other hand, a protein-based breakfast can control hunger and appetite, boost metabolism, curb cravings, and help build and maintain muscle mass that helps blast belly fat.

Eggs, low-fat yogurt, and cottage cheese are great high-protein morning options to enjoy. In fact, a study from American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when women doubled their daily protein intake from 15 to 30% of their daily calories, it led to more sustainable weight loss.

RELATED: 10 Simple and Easy Dinner Ideas to Lose Weight Faster

Ice cream

Ice cream is often on the list of the most “addictive” foods. Studies show that creamy frozen treats light up areas of your brain, making them the ultimate comfort food. What’s more, eating ice cream often makes you crave for the same level of satisfaction. The combination of sugar and fat in ice cream is what makes it so delicious and so desirable.

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RELATED: 12 Foods Every Over-50 Should Be Eating for Serious Weight Loss

Sugary drinks

friends clinking soda glasses

Although sugary drinks are drinks and not food, a lot of research reveals that drinking sugary drinks like soda or energy drinks can increase your chances of gaining weight. Recent studies at Nature Studies Endocrinology citing strong evidence showing sugary drinks are linked to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. In the United States, sugary drinks are the number one source of added sugar in the typical diet.

They are nothing more than flavored sugar water and do not provide any satiety. Calories are absorbed quickly and can cause blood sugar and insulin spikes. In a comprehensive review, researchers report in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that for every increase in daily servings of sugary drinks that adults enjoy, it equates to about a half-pound increase in weight over the course of one year.

A study in Journal of the American Medical Association found that women who increased their soft drink intake from less than one a week to more than one a day added 358 calories to their daily diet and gained about 10 pounds over the course of the four-year study. In contrast, women who cut down on soft drink intake reduced their daily calories by about 319 per day and gained less weight than soft drink drinkers.

Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD

Julie Upton is an award-winning registered dietitian and communications expert who has written thousands of articles for national media outlets, including The New York Times, US News & World Report and USA Today. Read more about Julie


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