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10 Foods You Shouldn't Avoid if You Want To Lose Weight

If you want to lose unwanted pounds, don't keep these items off your shopping list.

When your goal is weight loss, it's a natural first step to head to the kitchen and reevaluate your grocery list, fridge, and pantry. Knowing the foods you should eat is key, but when it comes to the items you should avoid, that's where things can get a bit tricky. We spoke with The Nutrition Twins®, Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, CDN, CFT, and Lyssie Lakatos, RD, CDN, CFT, members of our Medical Expert Board, who reveal 10 foods you shouldn't avoid for weight loss—and some of them may surprise you!

"The following foods all have some way of providing satisfaction, which is important for preventing hunger and promoting weight-loss success," The Nutrition Twins explain. "So, whether the satisfaction is coming from fiber, protein, creaminess, or activation of certain satiety pathways in the body, all of these foods provide satiety, while being fairly low in calories."

Keep reading to find out the 10 foods you shouldn't avoid for weight loss. And when you're finished, don't miss out on The #1 Best Snack To Buy at Trader Joe's for Weight Loss.

Healthy, Creamy Comfort Foods

spinach dip with chips and lime slices

There's something incredibly soothing about whipping up your favorite comfort foods. In fact, The Nutrition Twins note that creamy comfort foods are some of the most-craved foods out there. However, when you're trying to slim down, they're likely one of the first to be ditched.

"After all, mashed potatoes, sour cream, whipped potatoes, and creamy pesto pastas are calorie bombs," The Nutrition Twins share. "But this backfires since most people still crave them and end up falling off their healthy eating plan since they feel deprived. By including healthy versions of creamy comfort food, you won't feel deprived, so you can stick with your weight-loss plan."

They encourage you to get creative and see "what hits the spot." Consider trying oatmeal, avocado, creamy soups with cannellini beans rather than cream, hummus, and light spinach dip.

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Decadent, Lightened-up Desserts

chia blueberry pudding

Sweet, decadent desserts are another popular craving, yet people usually cut them out when dieting.

"This almost always backfires since most people can't stay away from their favorite foods for long, so eventually they end up throwing in the towel, diving into the desserts they've been depriving themselves of," The Nutrition Twins explain. "The secret to long-lasting weight loss is to include decadent feeling, healthy desserts so your tastebuds can stay tantalized, but won't feel deprived, without sacrificing your waistline."

Peanut Butter

jar of peanut butter, concept of what eating peanut butter does to your waistline

Don't get things twisted; peanuts and peanut butter can support your weight-loss efforts when consumed in moderation! Peanut butter is filling and helps you avoid unhealthy cravings or overeating because of its fiber and plant-based protein content.

"Plus, starting your meal with peanuts may help you to lose weight," The Nutrition Twins add. "Research published in 2022 in Nutrients found that starting two meals a day with lightly salted peanuts [can lead] to weight loss, lower blood pressure, and improved fasting blood sugar levels. So go ahead and toss a few peanuts or a tablespoon of peanut butter into your oatmeal, smoothie, or yogurt, or spread some peanut butter on a slice of whole-grain toast or an apple."

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Boiled potatoes

Sure, greasy French fries and tater tots won't help your weight-loss progress, but don't give all potatoes a bad rap!

"Boiled potatoes are ranked number one on the Satiety Index, meaning that they fill you up the most of all the foods tested, and this means they play a large role in staving off hunger and the subsequent overeating," The Nutrition Twins point out. "Plus, potatoes contain proteinase inhibitor 2 (PI2), a protein that some research has shown may suppress appetite. Not to mention cooked, unpeeled potatoes are a good source of vitamin C and potassium—and fiber, among other nutrients, that most Americans don't reach the daily recommendations for."

When incorporating potatoes into your diet, keep it to a three-ounce potato per meal. You'll get your fill of carbs without straying from your weight-loss game plan.

Bitter Leafy Greens

fresh arugula in bowl

Kicking off a meal with bitter leafy greens such as dandelion greens, arugula, or watercress fills you up on fiber without costing many calories. This, in turn, will help you eat less during meals and give your digestive system a nice little boost.

"When their bitter taste touches your taste buds, digestion is stimulated, so you're better able to absorb important nutrients that are needed for all aspects of health, including a speedy metabolism," The Nutrition Twins reveal. "Trader Joe's has pre-washed bags of arugula and herb salads with parsley and other bitter herbs that make it easy to start your meal by simply opening a bag and making a salad with them."

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Green Tea

green tea

Even though green tea is a drink, it's a noteworthy inclusion on this list for speeding up your weight-loss efforts.

"Green tea is a warm and soothing drink, that's pacifying and helps to take the edge off hunger," The Nutrition Twins say. "Plus, it has been shown to assist the body in burning more calories and more fat, thanks to its' potent catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Green tea's caffeine is partially to credit for its fat-burning properties, and in some research, it appears that EGCG and caffeine work synergistically to trigger fat burning."

Fatty Fish

healthy piece of salmon on parchment paper, concept of can salmon help you lose weight

Fatty fish like salmon and sardines are among the top protein sources you can feed your body. Plus, their omega-3 fat content helps keep you feeling full and avoid hunger cravings.

"Omega-3 fats are also heart-healthy and help to fight inflammation, which makes weight loss more challenging," The Nutrition Twins add. "And they've been shown to lower visceral fat. Fatty fish are also a great way to boost protein intake—especially for people who are looking to avoid meat."

Hot Pepper (Capsaicin)

chili peppers

Spice up your weight-loss efforts with hot pepper, also known as capsaicin. You can seamlessly work it into egg, pasta, rice, and seafood dishes. Plus, research shows that capsaicin boosts the production of GLP-1, "the same hormone that Ozempic mimics to curb hunger," The Nutrition Twins tell us.

"Research has also shown that capsaicin, the active compound in hot peppers, increases fat burning and energy expenditure and can even help to burn belly fat," The Nutrition Twins add. "Capsaicin appears to help stimulate brown fat, which is a metabolically active type of fat that actually stimulates fat burning."

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Pea Protein Powder

pea protein powder

Pea protein powder offers a "magical" combo when it comes to weight loss. It provides fiber and protein, a powerful duo that helps keep you satisfied, your energy levels strong, and your blood sugar levels stable.

"Goodbye, energy crashes and blood sugar dips that result in sugar and salt cravings and unwanted calories from vending machines and unplanned snacks," The Nutrition Twins say. "Plus, pea protein can aid in weight loss even when calories aren't restricted and it also has been found to be more effective than whey protein at fighting against hunger."

Red/Purple Cabbage

purple cabbage

Last but not least, our roundup of the foods you shouldn't avoid for weight loss wraps up with red/purple cabbage.

"Not only can you fill up on this sweet crunchy veggie for only 28 calories in an entire cup, chopped, and get 2 grams of filling fiber to boot, but red/purple cabbage is in the cruciferous family, which means it's a potent source of sulfur-containing antioxidants called glucosinolates, which research has found lower inflammation," The Nutrition Twins explain. "Lowering inflammation is critical when it comes to weight loss, because inflammation makes it harder to lose weight and easier to gain weight."

Cabbage is also an excellent source of fiber and phytosterols, two crucial aspects of keeping you "regular" and supporting good bacteria in your microbiome. "A healthy microbiome is associated with having a lower body weight, so this is critical," The Nutrition Twins add.

Editor's Disclosure: The Nutrition Twins are paid partners of the National Peanut Board. All information contained herein is vetted by our editorial team, and Eat This, Not That! received no compensation from the National Peanut Board for this content.

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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