11 Foods that Pack on the Pounds

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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.