11 Foods that Pack on the Pounds

Want to lose weight? Feel better about your health? Be able to chase a runaway toddler without huffing and puffing? Along with committing to a regular exercise routine, booting unhealthy foods from your diet is the best way to reach your goal. Here are 12 Foods that Pack on the Pounds:

1. Processed Meats: Bacon and sausage and hot dogs, oh my! Processed meats are high in fat, sodium, and calories. They also slow down digestion and have been linked to higher rates of cancer and heart disease [1].

2. Chips: Studies have proven that potato chips are one of the top reasons Americans gain weight [2]. Instead of high fat, high salt chips, choose these yummy and surprisingly easy to make Sweet Potato Chips.

3. Refined Grains: White bread, white pasta, white rice, and all-purpose flour offer little fiber or nutrients and plenty of fat-feeding carbohydrates, so they’re more likely to nudge the scale up. Stick to whole grains, like quinoa. Learn the 6 Steps to the Perfect Quinoa—you’ll be surprised at how simple it is!

4. Red Meat: Infamous for its saturated, unhealthy fats, red meat is a healthy diet no-no, raising the risk of colorectal cancer and heart disease. If you must indulge, do so in moderation.

5. Fried foods: Whether your weak spot is fried chicken or French fries, the body cannot process the trans fats in fried foods, so that fat ends up on your belly, hips, rear, and thighs. Have a craving for french fries? Try our list of Skinny Recipes to Satisfy Every Craving.

6. Packaged Snacks & Treats: Packaged foods are notorious for their use of trans fats, which are also linked to higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Look for this partially hydrogenated fat in everything from store-bought cupcakes and desserts to frozen pizza and buttered popcorn. Looking for convenient snacks that are good for you, too? Check out our list of Top 10 On-the-Go Snacks.

7. Whole Dairy: From cheese to yogurt to milk, whole dairy products add fat and calories, so stick to plain, low-fat and skim options. Indulge in Skinny Peanut Butter-Yogurt Dip, which uses healthy fat-free Greek yogurt.

8. Fruit Juice: While fruit juice can offer some of the nutrients found in whole fruit, many brands also offer a generous dose of added sugar and calories.

9. Soda: Whether it’s diet or regular, soda is a fast way to sink your quest for a better body. Regular soda is loaded with sugar, but diet soda is no angel either. It’s filled with artificial sweeteners, and some research suggests it may actually trigger weight gain and raise the risk of type 2 diabetes [4]. Kick the habit now—grab a friend and start our No Soda Challenge.

10. Fancy coffee drinks: We all love to indulge in our favorite coffee house treats, but nutritionally those lattes and mochas are no better than drinkable desserts, loaded with fat and calories. Get your café fix with this Chai Orange Latte—it’s just 59 calories a serving!

11. Alcohol: Your favorite wine, beer, or cocktail is packed with calories, plus it interferes with healthy glucose levels and offers no nutritional value. Cut out alcohol entirely, or save it for special occasions.


[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/07/processed-meat-cancer-heart-disease-death-risk_n_2829092.html

[2] http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/gaining-weight-beware-potatoes%E2%80%94baked-fried-or-in-chips-201106242943

[3] http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/gaining-weight-beware-potatoes%E2%80%94baked-fried-or-in-chips-201106242943

[4] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/11/diet-soda-diabetes-risk-type-2-artificially-sweetened-sugar_n_2663247.html

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The SkinnyMs. team believes that all people, regardless of age, size, and fitness level, have the power to transform their lives — they just need the resources to do so. The SkinnyMs. method promotes healthy living through a combination of clean eating and regular exercise. We offer everything you need to be successful.

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  1. Mitch, We welcome differing opinions. Enjoy your bacon and sodium, we’ll have a green smoothie instead. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Cerise, Yes, however, you can find lunch meats that are minimally processed without nitrates or preservations. Check to see if your grocery’s deli sells “Boars Head” brand, an excellent choice.

  2. What is the healthiest brand of bacon to buy? Or what should I look at on the label to stay away from?Thanks!

    1. Abbie, If you must eat bacon, look for one that doesn’t have nitrates. They do exists, just need to read the labels. Actually Oscar Mayer offers one: Selects Smoked Uncured Bacon.

  3. I am at the end of my rope as far as loosing weight is concerned. I need guidance and will power, neither of which I have. Any suggestions?

    1. Always have suggestions! I can tell you what worked for me. 4 very important keys to success are:
      1) Keep a food Journal. This takes about 2 minutes total per day. Write the date and number each page from 1-5. Be sure to eat 3 mini meals and 2 clean snacks during the day. Each meal and snack should consists of a complex carb and lean protein. Be sure that portions are about the size of your palm. You can eyeball the portion sizes.
      2) Have a plan! Write down your plan of how you will achieve your weight loss goals. Remember, diets don’t work. A plan that lasts a lifetime does work. 🙂
      3) Drink Lots of Water. Drink a 12 ounce glass of plain water when you wake up and several more times throughout the day.
      4) Move. Exercise 6 days a week. I highly recommend beginning a weight training program (lots to choice from on our site) and do cardio 3-4 days each week.
      Be sure to read these posts which will be a big help going forward:

  4. What are your thoughts on grass fed meats and raw dairy (full fat of course)? Aside from the obvious benefits (being better quality, less processed, etc) I found my hubby and I both lost weight and maintained (for me)/built (for him) muscle mass without changing much else in or diets – me continuing to run after 3 small kiddos, he working out at lunch….

    1. Maggie, Full fat dairy works great for some people and if that’s the case…go for it! I definitely think Grass Fed Beef is the only way to go for meat eaters.

  5. Yes I'm interested in your evidence behind the red meat in this list as you don't seem to list your source.

    I have to strongly disagree with you on this point. There are no controlled trials linking red meat to disease in humans. There are only observational studies, which often don’t properly separate red meat and processed meat.

    Observational studies are made for generating hypotheses, NOT testing then. They can't prove that red meat actually causes anything, and most of these observational studies lump red meat in with processed meat so the observational outcome is totally skewed.

    How the meat is 'grown' is also very important. Free range, organic, grass-fed red meat is obviously better for you than grain-fed, hormone laden meat.

    Red meat is highly nutritious and loaded with healthy proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, along with various nutrients known to positively affect the function of both body and brain.


    1. Monique, We agree that when eating meat, we should eat free range, organic grass-fed beef. There are many healthier alternatives to eating red meat on a regular basis, however. There will always be disagreement about certain foods. 🙂

  6. 7 and 9 ….. It's ok the eat the artificial sweeteners in low fat yogurt BUT not in sodas? You should never eat low fat or sugar free anything.

    1. There is no mention of eating yogurt with artificial sweeteners. To clarify, I added the word, “plain”.

  7. How do you eat healthy on a fixed budget? Eating healthy is expensive and one of the reasons I've never really shopped healthy.

  8. I am a heart patient and my heart doctor says that women actually need whole fat milk and yogurt for heart health, cheese, not so much. So I limit my cheese intake. The meat, I agree with grass fed, and everything else on your list…yes, yes, yes!

  9. I raise and dress out my own meats (beef, lamb, rabbit, chicken, duck, turkey, pheasant & pork) would these be ok since they are all grass fed and get organic heirlom grains only and are all hormone, anitbiotics & chemical free.

    I grow, process & can my own veggies and have a large fruit & berry orchard maturing and a wide variety of herbs and spices growing (and planning to add a small/medium greenhouse in the next year…I put enough away for a family of 4, although I live alone…I like to share.

    I also have a set of 3 honey bee hives (2 tier, 10 supers each) coming for my own honey to use as well as for sharing.

    I am disabled due to seizures and do most of my work in the middle of the night as heat tends to set them off. I am very overweight although as active as possible along with being a full time RN-BSN nursing student, 42 years old and have a 25 year old daughter with spinal cancer.I also take care of several elderly people with advancing health issues.

    What suggestions would you make for me to be able to loose more weight (I have leveled off after loosing 200# with walking) I am now at 265#. I need top loose another 130# to be at my ideal healthy weight. I have had several spinal surgeries and exercises must be low impact. I am at a loss for what to do.

    ANY suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Congratulations on keeping up with such an impressive and difficult lifestyle! It can be frustrating when you feel like you are doing all that you can, but are not seeing the progress you would like. If you are currently maintaining a 100% clean diet, and you are walking regularly, then the next thing to look at is portion control. You may need to adjust your portions to reflect your daily energy output. Here are some tips you might find helpful: https://skinnyms.com/7-portion-control-tips/. Continue to exercise as often and as intense as you can. We offer many beginner and low-impact workout options. Our https://skinnyms.com/low-impact-total-body-workout… is a good place to start.

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