The 8 Most Surprising Foods to Avoid When Losing Weight

8 foods to avoid

You may be surprised to find out that some of those “healthy” foods you’ve always heard about, or the ones that advertise themselves as healthy, are actually sabotaging your efforts. It can be frustrating to make the decision to change your eating habits and lifestyle only to see no budge whatsoever on the scales or in the way your clothes fit. Here are some of the most surprising foods to avoid when losing weight.

8 Foods to Avoid

You don’t have to count calories or fat grams to lose weight, nor do you have to eliminate carbs. Just steer clear of these eight foods:


Plenty of people know to stay away from the half and half and the whole milk when they’re trying to lose weight (they blame it on the calories and the fat grams), and most will probably even steer clear of the sugar-filled yogurt options. The surprising part? Even so-called healthy dairy options—skim milk and Greek yogurt, for example—can hinder your weight loss attempts.

8 foods to avoid 2

Did you know that all dairy is bad for you? People try to keep in in because it “has calcium,” but dairy is actually so acidic, it actually leaches calcium from your bones as part of your body’s way of reaching a slightly alkaline state again. On a weight loss front, an acidic body holds on to excess weight because fat cells store that acidic waste in order to keep it away from the vital organs. In addition, dairy is clogging to the body, creates excess mucus and slows down digestion and removal of toxins, all of which lead to trouble losing weight.

Whole Wheat

One of the most recent health myths has to do with replacing white flour in baking, choosing whole wheat bread over white in restaurants, and then calling it good. It’s as if making this simple change should be the magic bullet to weight loss, and whole wheat is generally touted as being “healthy,” at least for those who don’t suffer from celiac disease.

The reality is far, far different. While trading in white breads for whole wheat ones may lead to an initial weight loss (think of whole wheat as the lesser of two evils, but still no good), the ongoing effects of wheat (gluten, specifically) consumption can make it difficult to lose weight. Weight gain or trouble losing weight could occur because you’re bloating terribly or because you just feel hungry for carbs all the time.

Did you know you can be addicted to wheat? Consuming wheat products leads you to crave more and more of them, which in turn can lead to overeating and weight gain. In addition, wheat encourages your body to store fat on your belly, a trouble zone for a lot of people, and can cause low energy levels, which don’t exactly encourage you to move around much.

Anything That Says “Light” on the Package

The first problem? It’s packaged. A packaged food boasting that it’s “light” or “low-fat” almost always has to get replacement flavor from somewhere, and it’s often sugar and sodium. Refined sugar is extremely acidic and, like dairy, encourages your body to hang on to extra weight. If it’s high-fructose corn syrup lurking in that package (you may be surprised!), it can contribute to even more weight gain than regular sugar.

As for foods loaded with sodium, bloating can make you feel heavy and contribute to extra pounds. Table salt can cause you to look almost 10 lbs heavier than you actually are. Sodium obviously isn’t always the enemy, but the salt added to a lot of packaged, processed foods is often excessive and not the best quality.

Just Any Old Salad

Just like smoothies, salads are often presented as the ultimate healthy meal—and they can be. Croutons, fried chicken, bacon, and cheese are easy enough to avoid, but what about that healthy salad dressing? A look at the ingredients list may surprise you. Even “healthy” options probably contain oils.

The best oils for salad dressings are unrefined olive, coconut, sunflower, flaxseed, and hemp seed, but even those should only be used very sparingly. You may also see dairy- or soy-based ingredients. If you can, try using fresh lemon or lime juice, salsa, or mash an avocado as salad dressing.

Protein Bars

Society seems to have an obsession with getting enough protein even though it’s not that difficult to do while committed to eating healthy, wholesome foods (even for vegans and vegetarians). Protein bars are viewed as healthy, even though they’re glorified candy bars with whey and/or soy protein isolates thrown in. So you get a chalky, unsatisfying taste and texture paired with a lot of the bad things you can find in candy bars, like high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and agave nectar. There’s no winning there!

Dried Fruit

Have you noticed a theme lately? Hidden sugars are everywhere, and with the dried fruit, that’s no exception. Trail mixes with dried fruit and nuts would be okay as an afternoon snack, but there’s often a lot of sugar added. Try making your own with unsweetened dried fruit and raw nuts. Nifty Nuthouse has a selection of unsweetened fruit, or you may also be able to find some in your local health food store. Not all dried fruit is bad for you, but you do have to remember to read the ingredients list!

Remember to only eat even unsweetened fruit on occasion. The best way to enjoy fruit is still raw. Even unsweetened fruit is more concentrated and higher in sugar than its raw counterpart.


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There are a lot of people out there who look at tofu as a healthy replacement to meat, but what they don’t realize is:

  • Soy is genetically modified, greatly contaminated with pesticides, and highly allergenic.
  • Soy makes it more difficult to obtain and use the protein in our food.
  • Soy depresses thyroid function, which controls metabolism and weight.
  • In many cases, the way tofu is cooked (fried, for example) makes it an unhealthy choice with unnecessary calories.

I didn’t mention tempeh or miso because these are fermented and safe to eat as long as they’re organic. They don’t have the same negative effects on your health and your weight as tofu and most other soy products.

Commercial Smoothies

There’s this misconception that all smoothies are healthy. Unfortunately, that’s not the case at all and you have to meticulously read the ingredients lists in smoothie shops, too. Here’s what could be hiding in your smoothie:

  • Whey protein isolate (dairy)
  • Soy protein isolate
  • Turbinado/agave (sugar!)
  • Dairy (yogurt or skim milk)
  • Soy milk
  • Sweetened fruit juice
  • Artificial sweeteners

Take a look at that list! Sweeteners abound (artificial ones are no better for you!), and the likelihood of getting something with dairy or soy in it is pretty high.

Smoothies can be incredibly good for you and assist you in your weight loss goals. They’re one of the easiest ways to fill your body with vitamins and minerals—nothing but the good stuff. However, it’s best to make them at home or do your research and find a smoothie shop near you that serves legitimately healthy drinks. The ones Kimberly has designed at Glow Bio are aligned with Beauty Detox principles and can now be ordered online.

Avoid Certain Ingredients and Claims

As long as you’re diligent about avoiding dairy, wheat, and soy and check the labels for hidden sugar, sodium, and other mystery ingredients, you should be able to avoid most of the foods you’d be surprised to find are making it difficult for you to lose weight.

When you focus on whole foods, you’re unlikely to consume too many diet-sabotaging ingredients. The best foods don’t come with labels and they’re very straightforward about what they are (how many times has the produce section felt confusing?). Stick with those and you’ll be your happiest, most beautiful self in no time.




Last updated: Friday, June 19, 2015
  • Lindsey

    These are all great tips. It is so hard to keep everything straight with so much mixed messages sent to us by the big powerhouse ag firms.

  • Amanda L

    I know this is off topic, I haven’t had a problem with acne for years, and I started this past 7 days taking probiotics, and now my skin is very broken out.

    Do you have you any information on probiotics causing acne?

  • Catherine

    Could you please give me your thoughts on flax milk. I realize it’s made from flax oil, which is a good oil, but still not a whole food. But, is it worth it to get the omega 3’s? I’ve stopped putting flax seeds in my smoothies now that I’m having the GGS in the mornings, and don’t like them on salads. Thank you so much!

    • Catherine

      Also, is it better to drink the flax plus protein (vegan) since it has no carrageenan, or is that too much protein? Thanks again!

  • Charlie

    Thanks for this information. I had a read and I’m not really buying the reasons for avoiding these foods altogether.
    Personally, I don’t like tofu & commercial smoothies. But everything else seems ok.
    Have a strong & positive mindset, realistic & achievable goals, eat a balance of all food groups and end each day with a calorie deficit.
    It’s easy to over-analyse when the science is simple.

    • Anya

      I agree with you. It’s never a good idea to cut out an entire food group from your diet. And that’s exactly what became so popular nowadays. It may work for you for a short while but in the long term nutrient imbalances and deficiencies will set in.

  • Jack

    Hey, I had a weight problem and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 18 pounds in one month without much exercise and it’s been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at jackallbright[at] and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day.

    • Joni

      Jack – I just sent you an email.


    • Irena

      Hi my name is Irene I was just wondering how you lost the weight?

  • Amber


    I would love to know what your thoughts are on Ghee. Is this a healthy alternative for butter? I know many vegans that cook with Ghee and claim that it is in fact vegan due to the way it is processed but this doesnt make much sense to me. Does it have any health benefits and would you accept it as a substitute for coconut oil?

    • Jessica

      Hi- I have heard that is one if the healthiest fats to cool with.. Personally I choose to stick with small amounts if coconut oil because I do not believe it is vegan, however it may be processed. The milk/ butter is still coming from the cow just like any other milk/ butter.. So if you are looking for the ethical side I would say no, but if you are just looking for dairy free, I’ve heard it doesn’t actually contain any if the dairy, just the fat. It is highly used in ayurveda as a raking food, but I’ll stick with my coco oil :)

      • Jessica

        Oh autocorrect… Lol
        Cook with*
        Healing food*

    • April

      Ghee is technically dairy free as it is “clarified butter”, meaning the butter is boiled until it separates into milk protein and a clarified yellow liquid (which is the ghee) and the milk protein “curds” are removed. Because the milk proteins are ladled/strained out, the ghee itself doesn’t contain any of the aggravating casein or lactose that some people are allergic to. I personally still wouldn’t consider ghee to be vegan, as it still originates from an animal, but it isn’t dairy either. Hope this helps!

  • Alexandra

    Hi! So this was a very interesting read, most of which I have read before through your other posts, but something that resonated with me that I haven’t heard before were the dangers of soy products. I like to think that I try to be “healthy” I have taken many good life long tips from you and the beauty detox principals, but I opted for soy milk during and after my pregnancy because dairy was no good. Now I drink 2 glasses of soy a day! I’ve been buying organic, is there a difference or is it carrying the same negative affects?

  • Rocio Lucero

    What if the labe on some tofu product say non-gmo?

    • Kimberly Snyder

      Hi Rocio, Anytime you can get anything that is non-gmo, organic is your best option if you want to eat a product like tofu. :)