If you're trying to lose weight, some foods are obviously more helpful to your efforts than others. The following are among the worst foods to eat if you're trying to lose weight, Atlanta dietitians said via e-mail:
Any type of sugar
"There are roughly 250 different names for sugar, and ALL of them are lousy for us," said certified eating psychology counselor Margaret Schwenke, owner of Authentic Nourishment. "Sugar causes the body to store fat, wreaking havoc on metabolism and weight-loss efforts."
Processed meats are usually red meats that have been preserved by smoking, curing or salting. They include bacon, salami, sausage and bologna, and they're often high in fat and sodium.
"The World Health Organization recently categorized processed meats as carcinogenic," Schwenke said.
Desserts don't have to be abandoned completely, but if you're eating them often (and after a full meal) you could be adding a significant number of calories to your diet.
Be selective with the quality and quantity when you do want a once-in-a-while treat, Schwenke said.
Juice and sugar-sweetened beverages
Just one 16-ounce bottle of Coke has 52 grams of sugar – the equivalent of 10 teaspoons, according to Rahaf Al Bochi, registered dietitian and owner of Olive Tree Nutrition LLC.
Juice and sugar-sweetened beverages "are basically like mainlining sugar to your bloodstream. Avoid at all costs," Schwenke said.
Foods with unrecognizable ingredients
Any food where you don't recognize items on the ingredient list won't be good for weight loss, said Jenny Askew, registered dietitian and owner of Balance Fitness and Nutrition, LLC.
In fact, a study found that more than half of the average American diet is made up of ultra-processed foods, according to WebMD. These foods often have salt, sugar, oils, fats and chemicals such as emulsifiers and additives. They make up more than 90 percent of excess sugar calories consumed by Americans, researchers found.
These foods can include packaged snacks or baked goods, chicken or fish nuggets and instant soups.
Foods with refined flour
"Refined flour acts like sugar in the body, has been linked to inflammation and weight gain and crowds out more nutrient-dense food," Schwenke said.
Foods with refined flour include breads such as white, sourdough and ciabatta. Better choices include breads made with whole grains.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.