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Worst Foods List
Beth M. Ley, Ph.D.

Many of my articles focus on which foods to eat more of to obtain weight loss, so I wanted to be sure to also tell you which foods you should avoid at all costs.

There are certain types of foods that are filled with sugar and fat which have zero nutritional value. These are often called empty calorie foods... or even junk food. Here are the foods you should always avoid if your goal is weight loss.

White Bread - and anything else made with white flour. White flour has been stripped of its nutritional value (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other important phytochemicals, protein, fiber, etc.). This highly processed chemical actually has the glycemic index equivalent to table sugar.

Instead, choose whole grains (like wild rice or barley) but enjoy in moderation as they are high in calories.

Table Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup and other processed sweeteners and anything else containing them. This means you need to start reading your labels to find out what you are really eating. It's a no brainer that candy, chocolate, soda, pastries, and other deserts need to be avoided, but you may be surprised at how much sugar is hiding in breakfast cereals and bars, ketsup, fruit juice, even baked beans. Sugar travels incognito under many different aliases: table sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, cane sugar, corn syrup and sorghum. These are all common forms of sucrose. If it ends in "ose" or "ol", it's most likely a sugar. These sweeteners have zero nutritional and dramatically increase your blood glucose levels and force the body to release large amounts of insulin.... And you know what that does, right?

Choose stevia, a natural herbal sweetener with no calories or effect on blood sugar. Raw honey and maple syrup are also OK, but only in moderation.

Fried Foods - all fried foods are horrible for weight loss. Chips, fries, chicken nuggets, cheese balls, donuts, whatever, it's all bad. These are VERY high in fat and calories. The breading on fried food soaks up the grease making those with breading even worse. And, because of the extreme heat when frying, any healthy fats are destroyed, and dangerous trans fats and other carcinogens such as acrylamides are created.

* Wendy's large French fries (420 calories, 20 grams fat) vs. large baked potato (278 calories, 0.4 grams fat)

* PF Chang's Kung Pao Chicken (1,228 calories, 79 grams fat) vs. Ginger Chicken with Broccoli (656 calories, 26 grams fat)

* KFC Original thigh and drumstick (460 calories, 32 grams fat) vs. Boston Market thigh and drumstick (300 calories, 17 grams fat)

Margarine, Crisco and Hydrogenated Oils, in particular. Again, you need to read your labels because so many foods today contain them (cookies, crackers, baked goods, tortillas, non-dairy creamers, even peanut butter, etc...). Look for brands that do not contain hydrogenated oils, they are out there. Go to a natural foods store if you need to. Partially hydrogenated is just as bad, so avoid those too. These processed fats are high in dangerous trans fats and actually raise your LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) levels more than if you were to eat butter, a natural fat. Trans-fats greatly increase the risk of coronary heart disease because they interfere with the metabolic process that occurs in life. Trans-fat is not good for us in any way, they are unnatural and were never meant to be consumed. Partially hydrogenated oils WILL make you fat.

A common oil that is hydrogenated is soybean oil. Soybean oil has been proven to depress your thyroid and slow down your metabolism (lower your energy) which will make you burn less fat throughout the day. Avoid soybean oil! And because it's so cheap... you will find it in everything!

Ice Cream - This double Extremely calorie dense - high in fat, sugar. One cup of regular vanilla ice, which is a small serving for most people, has over 360 calories and half of those calories come from fat that are mostly saturated. The more tasty ice cream flavors contain a lot more calories, so you won't realize it but the time you finish your "little" snack, you'd have consumed close to 1000 calories. Choose low or non-fat Greek yogurt instead!

Bacon, Sausage - and other processed meats containing nitrates, which has an adverse affect on insulin. In addition, most of the calories in these types of foods come from fat and they contain no fiber. Choose natural lean fresh meats like salmon, bison or chicken breast.

Full Fat Cheese - these are too high in saturated fat containing about 10 grams of fat per ounce, which is only about the size of a couple of dice. I suggest choosing lower fat versions and paring it with a high fiber fruit or vegetable to help balance out (remove) the fat you don't need.

For everyone who wants optimal results, it is always best not to include these types of foods.