Weight loss doesn’t just happen overnight, and any diet promising to help you drop 10 pounds in a week is definitely too good to be true. Weight loss takes time and changes in not just your lifestyle but also your diet too. There are many foods which can help, or slow down your weight loss.

If you’ve spent any time on Google, I’m sure you have heard of the dirty dozen — a dozen foods that you should “never” eat. But eliminating these foods from your diet doesn’t guarantee weight loss. In fact, the only thing it guarantees, is a cravings for these foods

So, instead of following some crazy-restrictive diet that eliminates your favourite meals and makes you feel as if it’s your fault that you needed a “cheat day”, here are some of my top recommendations for those of you wanting to lose some weight.

5 Foods to Avoid for Weight Loss

1. Caffeine

Although many of us love our morning coffee or tea, it can have an impact on our weight. The relationship between caffeine and weight is not a straight line from point A to B, but rather twisty. In short, caffeine does not have a direct impact on our weight. But it does have a direct influence on our sleep, which influences our appetite.

Studies have found a lack of sleep to cause an increase in the levels of hormones associated with hunger — ghrelin and leptin. Studies have shown sleep deprivation to cause an increase in ghrelin levels and a decline in leptin levels, contributing to an increased appetite. Additionally, one study found lack of sleep to result in increased cravings for high-calorie foods.

This doesn’t mean you need to cut out coffee (or tea) altogether. But you do need to be aware of the sources of caffeine in your diet and whether caffeine affects your sleep.

2. High-Fat Foods

Did you know that, out of all the macronutrients, fat provide us with the most calories per gram? Carbohydrates and proteins provide us with approximately 4 calories per gram. Meanwhile, fats provide 9 calories per gram. 

Reducing the amount of high-fat foods in your diet can help you reduce the number of calories you consume each day. Some popular high fat foods to watch our for include,

    • Bacon
    • Avocados
    • Nut butters
    • Muffins
    • Cured meats
Avocado cut in half. Avocados are a great source of healthy fats but can be high in calories. Image from Pexels.

3. Added Fats and Calories

In addition to limiting high fat foods, we can reduce our caloric intake by limiting the amount of fats (and calories) we add to foods.

Some ways to do this?

    • Use low-fat mayonnaise rather than regular mayonnaise
    • Use low-fat milk or creamer in coffee or teas
    • Look for juices with “no sugar added” (this doesn’t mean there is no sugar in the juice!)

Whether knowingly or not, we often add additional fat and calories to our meals and drinks.

4. Limit Your Salt Intake

Another ingredient to limit in your diet is salt. Research is currently conflicted on salt’s direct role on weight gain. However, studies suggests that high-salt meals are associated with increased appetite, as well as increased water retention. Both of which can contribute to weight gain.

5. Excess Intakes of Low-Calorie Foods 

Although low-calorie foods can be very appealing when trying to lose weight, excess or long-term consumption can negatively impact our metabolism. Research shows long-term consumption of low-calorie foods can trick our body into thinking it’s receiving calories and can interfere with our insulin signalling and contribute to increased fat storage.

Additionally, consumption of low-calorie foods has been associated with a decline in metabolism, which may persist even after increasing your caloric intake

Foods To Add To Your Diet for Weight Loss

Although we often associate weight loss with eliminating food from our diet, there are some foods that you can actually add to our diet for weight loss.

1. High Fibre Foods

One group of foods I highly recommend you include in your diet are high-fibre foods. Fibre is a carbohydrate that is resistant to digestion and plays an important role in digestive health. Fibre helps regulate the digestion and absorption of foods, as well as keeps our digestive tract moving. Including fibre in our meals helps us reach satiety (the feeling of fullness) sooner and feel full for longer. This means less mindless snacking and empty calories throughout the day! High fibre foods include,

    • Edamame
    • Baked beans
    • Whole wheat toast
    • Quinoa
    • Broccoli
    • Pears
    • Green Peas
    • Black beans
    • Apples
    • Oats
Bowl of oats with chopped strawberries. Oats are a great source of fibre, and support our health. Image from Unsplash.

2. Water

Although water contributes to our weight, it is still is essential to drink enough water and stay hydrated throughout the weight loss journey.

Bottle of water. Water is an important part of a healthy diet. Image from Unsplash.

3. Healthy Fats

I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before – but not all fats are equal. Some fats are better for us than others. Although we want to reduce the amount of fat in our diet during the weight loss journey, we don’t want to eliminate them all together. 

In addition to reducing our fat consumption, we should also prioritize healthy fats. Particularly omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids can be found in, 

    • Fatty fish (such as salmon, trout, and mackerel)
    • Soy beans
    • Walnuts
    • Tofu
    • Eggs

You can read more about types of fat and their role in our health from my post, “Everything Your Need to Know About Fats”. 

Breaded tofu. Tofu is a source of healthy fats. Image from Pexels.

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Still feeling overwhelmed by your weight loss journey? Speak with a Reigstered Dietitian to learn more about the role of nutrition and supports available.