15 Ingredients You Didn’t Know Were Causing You to Gain Weight

Stuck in a weight loss rut and can’t figure out why? We know diet and physical activity are essential for becoming fit, but finding a combo that works may boil down to what you’re eating.

Put simply, there are some ingredients that are counterproductive to your plan for getting rid of that belly fat. Transitioning these items out of your rotation and replacing them with healthier options can help you meet your goals and improve your overall health.

  1. Ground Turkey

    Although a better option than red meat, ground turkey is usually higher in calories than ground beef. That’s because it’s composed of dark meat, white meat, and the skin, which makes it higher in fat. Read the package to check the amount of saturated fat and calories in your “lean” or “fat-free” variety of ground turkey before buying.

  2. Flavored Yogurt

    That small cup of flavored yogurt you love to snack on or dump into your morning smoothie is probably high in calories and sugar. If you’re trying to shed pounds, reach for a plain, organic version rather than the strawberry cheesecake one.

  3. Margarine

    Often touted as a less fatty, healthier alternative to butter, margarine has enjoyed butter’s decline. But margarine is usually way higher in trans-fats – hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils – which have been linked to health issues such as cancer. As a healthier option, go for olive oil or a trans-fat-free spread.

  4. Juice

    Scan the cartons and bottles of juice in the supermarket and you’ll see that most are loaded with sugar and calories. With so much sweetness packed into a glass, you’re killing your diet goals. Instead, eat fruit so that you’re also getting fiber, and drink water with lemon or sliced fruit added for flavor.

  5. Dried Fruit

    Like fruit juice, dried fruit is high in sugar, and can be similar to eating candy. Additionally, some dried fruit is coated in sweeteners or preservatives. Either eat versions that have been freeze-dried with no additives, or skip altogether.

  6. Skim Milk

    Research points to skim milk actually being worse for long-term weight loss than full-fat milk. Skim milk makes it harder to lose weight and easier to gain weight over time. Whole milk is higher in protein and easier to burn off in terms of calories.

  7. White Rice

    We love our carbs, but white rice has only that to offer. Its refined form doesn’t have any fiber, is linked to weight gain, and is high on the glycemic index. You’ll be hungry again in no time. Go for brown rice or something like quinoa, barley, or millet.

  8. Cold Cuts

    Any processed meat that you find at the deli counter is likely to be high in sodium, fat, and calories. When stacked with white bread, mayo, cheese, and other toppings, you’re undoing your hard weight loss work. Opt for leaner selections or leave the cold cuts alone.

  9. Fat-Free Dairy

    When manufacturers make fat-free items, they remove the offending fat but typically add in sugars, oils, and other fillers that don’t help with weight loss, but only help with taste. That includes stuff like cheese, yogurt, and mayonnaise.

  10. Nuts and Nut Butters

    It’s true that a serving of nuts is good for you, but overindulging in nuts and nut butters can send your levels of saturated fats shooting way up. They contain naturally high amounts of calories, carbs, and fat, but some are produced with oils, salts, or sweeteners that make them worse. Eat raw versions at about 1/4 cup per day or reach for a low-cal nut like pistachios.

  11. Bacon

    We know bacon makes everything taste better, but like most processed meats, it’s bad for your waistline. Don’t be fooled into thinking the saturated fat in turkey bacon is better – two slices contain 60 calories and 260 grams of sodium. When trying to lose weight, put the bacon down.

  12. Half-and-Half

    Take half-and-half in your daily cup of coffee? Those extra calories add up when you drink it daily with sugar or other add-ins. Swap it out for a healthier alternative like soy or almond milk.

  13. Oils

    Learning which oils are the best for your body can be difficult. The ones you want to avoid if you’re going for a healthy heart and weight loss are corn oil, cottonseed, soybean oil, peanut oil, and any that are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. You need healthy fats, so oils like olive, avocado, sesame, coconut, or canola are better choices.

  14. Cheese

    All we have to say is calories, calories, and more calories.

  15. Syrup

    Corn syrup, pancake syrup, and simple syrup are high in sugars and therefore a threat to any weight loss goals you’re trying to reach. If you want to drop the pounds, it’s best to skip all syrups, especially the refined versions. Pure maple syrup has some nutritive benefits but can still contain large amounts of sugar.

When changing your diet, it’s important to make sure you’re still receiving plenty of nutrients and healthy sources of calories. Be careful not to overindulge in too many of the foods listed above when cutting things out and adding things in. Research and/or check with your doctor about the best foods for your body.

Did you know some of these items might be sabotaging your weight loss efforts? Which of these foods would be hard for you to give up? Which is the most shocking ingredient on this list?

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