Foods to avoid when you’re trying to lose weight

Taryn Davies
Published: April 9, 2018

We typically stick by the term everything in moderation when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, but if you’re actively trying to lose weight then these are the foods that you’ll want to avoid at all costs.

With the help of experts, these are the foods that you’ll want to banish from the house as you try to trim your waistline.

Fruit yoghurts

For years we’ve been led to believe that choose low-fat options in the supermarket is good for our health, but whilst they might be low in fat they’re usually packed with sugar to make up for the taste. This is the case when it comes to fruit yoghurts. The packaging will claim it’s a low-fat fruit yoghurt, so it can be easy to think that they’re going to help control your weight, but these yoghurts can often contain around eight teaspoons of refined sugar. When you look at the ingredient list on these yoghurts you’ll often find that sugar is listed after milk as the highest amounts in the yoghurt.

These aren’t particularly great for you because your body will release high amounts of insulin to deal with the rise in your body’s blood sugar, and insulin is a hormone which causes your body to store fat. These yoghurts are a high GI food that you’ll want to avoid as much as you can.

Instead, choose natural or Greek yoghurt and sweeten it with your choice of berries or other fruit on top.

Pre-packaged snacks

It’s quite easy to reach for pre-packaged snacks when we’re feeling really hungry and are in a rush, but as Dr Wendy Denning explains they’re usually low in nutrition and have high levels of easily digested carbohydrates which will cause your blood sugar to spike. Instead choose healthier options when it comes to snacks like fruit, raw carrots or cucumber or a handful of nuts.

Fat-Free Milk

Francesca Cappozzo, a nutritionist at Maître of Thyme explains that fat-free milk isn’t often the best choice because of the sugar that’s added to ensure it doesn’t taste bad or bland. Instead, full-fat milk is the better option even though it’s higher in calories. This could be the best option because the fat is slowly digested and keeps you fuller for longer too.

Muesli and Granola

Muesli and Granola are often touted as the healthier options when it comes to breakfast cereals, but not all of these products are created equally and you might be surprised to learn just how much sugar is in your ‘healthy’ morning cereal. It’s important that you get into the habit of reading the label when you’re shopping for packaged foods, just so you know exactly what you’re eating. It’s important that you don’t just keep track of the sugar amounts either, tacking how much salt is in these foods is also important for your health too.

Is your 'healthy' cereal packed with sugar?


When buying processed foods it’s likely that you’re going to be consuming some form of chemicals, they’re often disguised by names like sodium benzoate or monosodium glutamate. They’re added to foods to help improve things like flavour, the look of the food and how long it can be stored for.

Whilst the amounts that are used in foods are regulated by the law, it doesn’t mean that we should be consuming them regularly. Eating these chemicals, which are often classified as additives and preservatives, can have an effect on our metabolism and create an imbalance.

Where you can it’s vital that you avoid processed foods and instead opt for whole and natural ingredients when you can.

Tomato pasta sauce

As much as they’re convenient and often delicious, using pre-packaged tomato sauces isn’t the best option for your health. They’re usually quite high in added sugar, as well as preservatives and additives added to help ensure shelf life and taste too.

When you use it with white pasta, you’ve got two ingredients which are a high glycaemic index food that is going to boost the insulin in your body and inevitably encourage it to store more fat.

Whilst it can seem like a faff, using passata, tinned tomatoes, a few herbs and tomato paste can be the much better option when it comes pasta tomato sauces. Create double the amount that you need and freeze it to be used at a later date.

White bread and white flour

Nutritionist Cassandra Barns explains that avoiding white bread and other baked goods that are made with white flour, like pastries, crumpets and pizza should be avoided as much as possible.

The refined flour is broken down into sugar by the body and quickly absorbed. What’s surprising is that these types of foods can sometimes have a higher glycaemic index than pure table sugar.

If you want to keep track of your weight the best option is not to avoid these types of foods altogether, but choose whole grain alternatives or whole grain foods like rye bread, porridge, oatcakes, brown rice or quinoa.


When eating more natural foods it can be easy to add in flavour through condiments, but they’re typically quite high in calories, and using too much dressing or oils can have a detrimental effect on your weight loss. Instead, choose herbs and spices to add flavour to your food, or use condiments sparingly where you want them.