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Popular Foods Ruining Your Weight Loss Efforts, Say Dietitians

Limit these common treats to shed pounds quickly.
FACT CHECKED BY Kiersten Hickman

When it comes to looking your best, finding the right eating plan that keeps cravings at bay always proves incredibly tough. Even if you end up finding a balanced diet that helps manage calories while delivering proper nutrition, grabbing an extra slice of cake or bag of cookies feels tempting beyond belief. Whether you love snacking in between meals or including some less-than-savory foods into your regular meal plan, your decisions might end up setting back your weight loss goals.

Trying to sort through a myriad of food options can feel impossible, especially when so many of the choices can have adverse effects on your diet. A ton of popular foods can do some real damage, even if certain diets allow them. With the help of dietitians, doctors, and more, we got to the bottom of which common foods have some serious potential to set back your weight loss goals.

Make sure to limit these foods if you want to keep to your weight loss goals and replace them with The Best Essential Foods to Eat to Lose Weight for maximum results.


ritz crackers in bowl on cloth napkin

You might never associate crackers as unhealthy, especially when some styles get marketed as multigrain and healthy. Don't get lured into indulging too hard in this snack, especially if you need to shed some pounds.

"While they can be tasty, they are an easy way to greatly increase your calorie intake," says Melissa Morey, RD. "Not only are they loaded with sodium and trans fats, but they are also highly processed and not nutrient-dense."

If you want to snack healthy and keep a few crackers in your daily meal rotation, make sure to pick a few from 11 Healthy Store-Bought Cracker Brands, According to Nutritionists.

Diet Foods

frozen dinner in microwave

While diet foods get specifically marketed towards anyone looking to eat healthily, don't get fooled by marketing strategies. Frozen dinners and low-calorie items hide a slew of caloric dangers for anyone looking to get fit.

"These foods can seem like a great idea, but they often sneak in hidden ingredients and artificial sweeteners," Morey continued. "Another thing to be aware of is the portion size of the foods. Often it's better to just have a single serving of what you want instead of multiple servings of diet food."

Diet Soda

diet soda

Diet sodas seem like a no-brainer if you want to treat yourself to something sweet while keeping to your rigorous weight loss goals. However, this kind of drink isn't as healthy as you think.

"While these [drinks] often contain no calories, they often contain sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners," Morey says. "These sweeteners have been found to increase sugar cravings, which can lead to weight gain."

Nothing feels as insidious as a soda that actually increases the urge to drink even more soda.

Cut the sugar cravings the easy way and indulge in 25 Healthy, Low-Sugar Soda Alternatives instead.

Potato Chips

woman eating potato chips

Next time a wave of hunger hits, avoid making a beeline to that bag of potato chips.

"This classic snack food has the perfect combo of fat and salt, making them irresistible and hard to portion control," says Ashley Larsen, RD. "As a dietitian, I encourage my clients to not eat straight from the bag and don't eat the chips alone. Pairing the chips with high fiber veggie sticks can help with portion control. Consider swapping potato chips with a whole food salty snack like crispy snap peas or roasted chickpeas that are packed with protein and fiber, which are more filling."

Sugary Coffee


Getting a pick-me-up coffee in the morning or afternoon sounds like a great idea, but if you love getting a sweet, specialty creation, you might end up biting off more than you can chew.

"A frappuccino or flavored latte can easily have 300 or more calories per drink," says Larsen. "These coffee drinks are loaded with empty calories from sugar and fat and are missing nutrients our body needs which can increase cravings and hunger throughout the day. The drinks pack enough calories as a full meal, but won't be as filling or satisfying."

"I recommend asking for a low fat or fat-free milk or milk alternative and only one pump of the flavored syrup to reduce the calories, fat, and sugar, but still get the flavors you're craving," says Larsen.

Here is the Best & Worst Frappuccino at Starbucks.

White Bread

white bread

When you want to get your weight down, getting picky with what kinds of carbs you keep in your diet can make all the difference.

"According to a study, eating just two [slices of] white bread per day can increase the risk of obesity and weight gain by up to 40%," says Dr. Robert Berry. "White bread is made of highly refined flour, which is laced with lots of sugar and can easily lead to overeating. Opt for other options like almond flour bread, cornbread, and oopsie bread."

When you want to get some great bread in your eating plan, make sure to choose from The Best Store-Bought Bread Brands, According to Dietitians.

Erich Barganier
Erich Barganier is a health and food writer. Read more about Erich
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