Although weight loss is a hot topic, there is no shortage of conflicting information. But, what is considered healthy and what is not? To shed a few pounds, its important to know the foods to avoid to lose weight.

When you’re trying to lose weight, it can be difficult to figure out which foods to avoid. There’s no one size fits all answer. And with so many business-obsessed, health and wellness-focused diets on the market, it’s becoming harder and harder to know what is safe to put into your body. There are some foods out there that are so full of empty calories that you can’t help but wonder why anyone would ever eat them. But there are also some foods that you need to avoid at all costs if you ever hope to lose weight.

Foods to Avoid to Lose Weight | Losing weight can be really difficult and it is very important to do it in the right way. It is even more important to avoid the foods in which you are not sure if they are good for your health.. Read more about foods to eat to lose weight in stomach and let us know what you think.

We don’t tell our clients what to eat—or what they shouldn’t eat—at.

We even go so far as to claim, “There are no bad foods.”

Our position tends to elicit a lot of questions, which is why we decided to delve more into the “good foods vs. harmful foods” issue.

We’ll cover the following topics in this article:

  • investigate how good vs. bad thoughts can lead to people eating more of the “bad” items.
  • provide a new perspective on sweets, chips, and other low-nutrient meals
  • present ways for assisting customers in escaping the good vs. bad perspective.

We’ll tell it like it is. The concept of “no bad foods” can be frightening, especially for those who have spent years categorizing foods into good and bad categories.

It can, however, be as transformative.

We’ve discovered that when our clients reintroduce the foods they love into their lives without fear or guilt, they struggle less, enjoy eating more, and are ultimately able to overcome the hurdles that stand in their way of achieving their healthy eating objectives.

(Check out the video below to observe PN Supercoach Robin Beier address this article in greater depth.) If not, please scroll above the video player or go to the next section by clicking here.)


Robin Beier, a PN coach, explains why there are no bad foods.

Why the good vs. bad approach fails miserably.

Many individuals categorize food into only two groups.

Vegetables, legumes, healthy grains, seafood, lean meat, and other nutrient-dense, less processed foods are all good choices.

Sweets, chips, crackers, white bread, fries, and other highly processed foods with little to no nutritious value are examples of bad foods.

And, before we get into detail about why we don’t sort food into “good” and “bad” buckets, let’s be clear. The dietary differences between these two groups are easily discernible.

In large doses, many of the so-called “bad” foods can increase the risk of a variety of ailments.

They’re also really difficult to resist. (The food business has truly created low-cost, easily accessible items that appeal to both our taste buds and our minds.)

Are they, however, harmful?

For six primary reasons, we don’t utilize that word.

Reason #1: Your diet isn’t defined by a single meal.

Perhaps you’ve heard of an adolescent who spent his entire life eating only four foods: fries, chips, white bread, and processed pork. 1

Then he became blind.

It’s a warning tale, to be sure, but it’s also vital to remember that that adolescent is an aberration. The majority of people do not eat only four items.

They eat a wide range of foods.

And the teen’s blindness was not caused by the fries, chips, bread, or pork.

They indirectly caused it by crowding out meals that are essential for healthy eye health.

What is the most important factor in maintaining good health? Balance.

In other words, you don’t want your nutrient-dense whole foods like toaster pastries, spray cheese, and crescent rolls to drown out vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, fresh meats, seafood, and other nutrient-dense whole foods.

If they do, like the aforementioned teen did, you risk inadequacy.

So, how can you know if you’re in the right place?

When we improve our nutrition from poor to average or above average, we see significant results (fat loss, improved health).

However, we will soon observe declining returns.

Not only are gains much harder to detect after 80 to 90% of your diet is made up of natural, minimally processed foods, but you also run the danger of eating disorders like orthorexia, as seen in this figure (an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating).

illustrated graph with health benefits on y-axis and percentage of nutrient dense foods on x-axis. Health benefits improve in a straight line and then starts to decline.

Is the majority of what you consume (80–90%) nutrient-dense and minimally processed? (Think fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, nuts and seeds, beans, lentils, and whole grains.) Then there’s probably room for less healthy foods.

Is the majority of what you consume highly processed and nutrient-deficient? (Think candy and potato chips.) Consider taking simple steps to improve your diet just a little bit. Gradually increase the amount of nutrient-dense meals in each meal (vegetables, fruit, fish, chicken, and so on). Use our infographic “What Should I Eat?” as a guide.

Reason #2: No single food is terrible for everyone in every circumstance.

Master Coach Kate Solovieva frequently uses the example of cola to explain this notion.

Many people consider it to be a harmful food. Because it’s sugary and deficient in vitamins and minerals.

Is cola, on the other hand, always a terrible idea?

“Imagine you’re visiting a nation where there’s no safe drinking water,” Solovieva explains. “In that instance, cola is a lot better option than water because of its airtight seal.”

Perhaps you’re sixty sweating miles into a 100-mile cycle ride and your blood sugar is so low that you’re seeing flying pink elephants in your head. In that instance, the cola’s sugar and caffeine content could be the difference between finishing the race and failing to finish.

What happens when we eat certain meals is also influenced by our particular physiology and psyche.

Added sugar, for example, has a different effect on those with type 2 diabetes than it does on people whose cells are insulin sensitive. And it can have different effects on the same person depending on whether or not they are sleep deprived.

We talk a lot about profound health at PN, which encompasses a lot more than our weight, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels.

Where we live, how we feel, and who we spend time with all contribute to our deep health. It touches on every facet of our personalities.

When you think about health in this way, the specific meals become less significant, and the whole eating pattern and context of a person’s life become far more important.

Illustration showing factors to consider when choosing foods such as who's eating, why they're eating and what's their goal.

Reason #3: Demonizing particular foods may increase their appeal.

Many people tell us that the only way they can keep any semblance of control over their eating is to completely avoid “bad foods.”

They worry that if they say “yes” to one “bad” food, it will lead to a diet laden with cookies, brownies, chips, and fries, as well as a diet devoid of vegetables and other whole meals.

Here’s the deal:

There’s a fine line between hating a dish and simply avoiding it because you know you’ll eat too much of it. 

When we vilify things, we “moralize” them, Solovieva explains, “thinking of ourselves as awful people for eating them.”

This has the unintended consequence of increasing our appetite for the meals we’re attempting to avoid. When Arizona State University researchers presented dieters negative messages about unhealthy meals, the dieters’ desires for such foods increased, and they ate more of them. 2

It’s true that some people may restrict themselves from eating certain “bad” foods for a period of time.

However, for many people, their ability to restrict is finally overwhelmed by their appetites. And kids feel horrible when they eat something “bad.” As a result, they consume even more—and may even abandon their efforts to achieve their objectives. As shown in the diagram below, this can lead to a vicious circle.


Let’s be clear: certain foods may not be worth the effort for some people—at least not right now. They may conclude that if they are in the presence of certain foods, they will overeat them. As a result, they are able to get them out of the house.

And it’s a plan that could work. In fact, we urge our clients to remodel their kitchens and eliminate things that they tend to eat too much of.

However, this is not the same as declaring a dish to be “bad.”

When we refer to meals as “something I tend to overeat” rather than “bad,” we may relax, remain flexible, and possibly grow into someone who can enjoy the same item in moderation.

Reason #4: Labeling foods as “good” or “bad” can help—but only for a short time.

With over 100,000 clients under our belts, we can confidently claim that “all or nothing” rarely gets us “all.” 

Instead, it frequently yields nothing.

When someone decides to stop eating “bad” foods, for example, they usually make a concerted effort to achieve their aim. They’re dedicated, and they might even keep to a big list of forbidden items… for a while.

However, something goes awry after that.

Perhaps they arrive at work to find handmade brownies on their desk from a coworker.

Or their entire day goes awry, and they find themselves head down in a gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough in the evening, thinking, “This is horrible.”

Or they’re driving for hours to see relatives, and when they pull over to a rest stop, all they can find to eat is what’s on their forbidden foods list.

Rigidity is the adversary of consistency, whether it is good or bad, all or nothing. 

On the other hand, flexibility allows you to be more consistent. This is due to the fact that it allows you to tap into all of the options available to you.

Flexibility also allows people to make decisions based on internal direction rather than external rules about what meals to eat, when to eat them, and why.

Rather of eliminating sugar solely because a health website advised them to do so, someone should consider:

  • Is it true that I’m hungry?
  • Is it true that I am stressed?
  • Is this cuisine really worth it?
  • Is there anything else I’ve eaten today?
  • What would allow me to genuinely appreciate this dish without overindulging?

“You know, I really like brownies,” that person with the brownie may say, “but I’m going to keep this until after lunch, when I’m not as hungry, so I can eat it slowly and actually savor it.”

“Okay, so this was probably more ice cream than my body really needed,” says the person buried in a gallon of ice cream. True. There’s no way around it. How can I avoid being triggered like this in the future? Is there any other way for me to feel better that doesn’t involve raiding the freezer?”

And flexibility allows that person at the rest stop to assess their options and choose the greatest food for them at the time.

Reason #5: It’s perfectly acceptable—and even normal—to eat for pleasure.

Food performs a variety of functions in addition to providing nutrients and calories to the body.

Some foods aren’t necessarily high in nutrients, yet they do contain:

  • It tastes fantastic.
  • Make contact with our friends and families.
  • Make people feel like they’re a part of something.
  • Make celebrations more enjoyable.

To put it another way, food isn’t only fuel. It’s also about love, culture, and pleasure, among other things.

Everything, including your grandmother’s famous black forest cake, may have a purpose and a place when you think about food in this way.

You have options rather than a list of stuff you can or cannot eat. You eat certain meals for a variety of reasons, including energy, enjoyment, health, and a variety of other factors.

Reason #6: By obsessing over “bad meals,” we deny ourselves the opportunity to progress.

We can learn to grow incredibly effective at… refraining by rigidly abstaining.

And there’s nothing wrong with refraining from a broad list of meals for the rest of your life if that’s your preference.

However, if you don’t want to live a life without cookies, brownies, cake, bread, or pasta, you’ll be relieved to find that there is an option. It entails becoming curious about why you find it difficult to limit your intake of particular meals.


What causes you to feel out of control?

What makes you think “I need this” or “I can’t stop eating this”?

When (if ever) will it be possible to eat this dish in moderation? Isn’t it always?

The aim is to look for the underlying reasons (called triggers) that cause you to struggle rather than focusing on “bad foods.”

A trigger can be any of the following:

  • Feeling. When we’re stressed, lonely, or bored, we may eat more. The emptiness is filled with food.
  • The hour of the day. At 11 a.m., we always have a cookie, and at 3 p.m., we always have a soda. It’s simply a part of our daily routine.
  • In a social situation. Hey, everyone else is drinking beer and eating chicken wings, so why not join in the fun?
  • Place. A gloomy movie theater or our parents’ kitchen could make us hungry for some reason.
  • Pattern of thought Thinking to ourselves, “I deserve this” or “Life is too hard to chew kale,” may lead us to the drive-thru.

To identify triggers, we typically encourage our clients to keep a food journal for a week or two, recording everything they eat and drink. We ask kids to scribble down the responses to questions like these when they’re needing something or feeling out of control.

  • What am I experiencing?
  • What time is it, exactly?
  • What am I doing here?
  • What am I doing here?
  • What am I thinking about?

They approach it with the mindset of “feedback, not failure.”

The goal isn’t to capture them in the act of wrongdoing. It’s to assist them in determining what’s really going on.

We’ll be more positioned to advise steps that actually assist our clients progress toward a healthier connection with all foods once we understand why they’re reaching for certain items.

One Man’s Journey Towards a Healthier Diet

Dominic Matteo grew up with bodybuilding magazines in his hands. He considered vegetables, chicken breast, egg whites, sweet potatoes, oats, and a few other items to be “good” for the most of his life.

Everything else? Bad.

When he wasn’t trying to lose weight, these discrepancies didn’t concern him.

When he tried to limit his intake, however, the label “bad” became a tractor beam that drew him directly to the ice cream.

He explains, “That’s when I realized, ‘Oh, this is an issue.’”

He absolutely abstained from any sweets for several months. He just did not consume any sweets.

But he understood that wasn’t a long-term or enjoyable way of life.

However, after implementing techniques, Matteo began to see his list of bad foods in a new light. He didn’t think of ice cream as “evil,” but rather as “a dish I enjoy that delays my progress.”

That new label gave him the opportunity to think about how and under what circumstances he would cohabit with this delectable delight.

“Now, if I do consume it, it will be under certain circumstances that make me happy,” he explains.

For example, he enjoys ice cream from shops that make it fresh on the spot. For him, however, lower-quality ice cream isn’t worth it.

Matteo is now more than 100 pounds lighter, and as a Master Coach, he is assisting others in achieving their goals.

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“How can anyone possibly know what to eat—and what to limit—if there are no good or bad foods?”

This is something we hear a lot.

That’s because some individuals mistakenly believe that “no harmful foods” means “all foods are OK, so eat whatever you want.”

But that is not what we are implying.

We are, however, stating that rather than categorizing food into two categories—good and bad—it is usually more beneficial for most individuals to view food as a continuum of eating more, eating some, and eating less.

At first glance, this may appear to be just another way to categorize foods.

However, this is not the case.

Unlike inflexible lists of undesirable foods, a continuum “allows everything to be contextual and personalized,” as Master Coach Dominic Matteo explains.

Matteo explains, “If my aim is muscle gain, my continuum will look different than if my goal is fat loss.”

We work with consumers to identify methods to include more “eat more” foods and fewer “eat less” foods in their diets, with the goal of making each meal just a little bit better.

Matteo, for example, was a customer who wanted to lose weight before becoming a Master Coach. For a certain fast food lunch, this is how “just a little bit better” looked for him.

Illustration showing how to make a typical fast food meal healthier.

He eventually ended up in a similar location to where other restricted foods lists may have sent him, but he did so in tiny steps and in a more sustainable fashion.

Furthermore, it didn’t rule out the possibility of a double bacon cheeseburger in the future. He does it occasionally, but only on his terms.

“As if bad meals were a religion, my client believes in them. Help!”

When I say, “There are no bad foods,” I usually get a blank expression.

So, as Kate Solovieva suggests, act as though you don’t know the answers.

Maintain a poker face and ask inquiries that appear to be self-evident.

The following is a transcript of a conversation Solovieva had with a client concerning this subject.

Client: I have an issue with bad meals. I’ll have to remove them. I’m afraid I won’t be able to consume them.

Coach: So, could you tell me a little more about it? What do you mean when you say you’re going to cut out the unhealthy foods?

Client: I’m eliminating sugar from my diet.

Coach: So, when you think of sugar, what are some of the things that come to mind?

Cookies are the client. Pastries. Chocolate is one of my weaknesses.

Coach: So… Do you like chocolate a lot?

Client: Yes, I am.

Coach: Please assist me in comprehending. What do you like to do?

Client: I’m not sure if it’s the excitement of eating the chocolate bar. Maybe it’s because I don’t have it all of the time. I’m not sure. Chocolate has a certain allure.

Coach: As a result, it helps you feel great in some aspects. And it’s clear that you enjoy it. What makes you think it’s a terrible idea?

Client: It’s the high calorie count, as well as the serving size.

Coach: So it’s bad because it’s heavy in calories? Could you please elaborate?

Client: Well, it leads to weight increase for me.

Coach: So, according to what I’m hearing, it’s not the chocolate that’s the problem. The problem is the weight increase. Is that correct?

Client: I’d say so. Exactly.

Coach: So there’s something you said that has piqued my interest. You are a chocoholic. You seem to enjoy it. It tastes good to you. You told me about the calories and portions when I questioned why it’s terrible. Is there anything else you can tell me?

Client: I can’t just have one or two squares, you know. I should have no more than five squares—half a bar—in my ideal situation. But I don’t have that kind of power. I have to have more and more of it as soon as I taste it.

Coach: So, what happens if you don’t have any chocolate?

Client: I’ve been without it for months. And it’s fantastic! But then I eat it, as if it were a great event. Then I go on a binge. Then it’s all downhill from there. So it’s best if I don’t have it at all.

Coach: What do you suppose would happen if you had a little bit of everything… every day? On purpose, if you will.

Client: I’m not sure… I don’t believe I have that kind of power. Should I give it a shot?

Coach: I’m not sure. Should you do it?

Client: (With trepidation) Sure, I’ll give it a shot.

Coach: So, based on what I’ve heard, you seem to enjoy it. And it appears that the bingeing habit is occurring as a result of the fact that you don’t have it every day. So, as an experiment, you may attempt this. Perhaps you can observe what occurs if you have this enjoyable activity every day. And if you get hungry while eating it, just remind yourself that you can have more tomorrow. Are you on board with me?

Yes, the client says.

Coach: It’s a terrifying experiment. But, if you do decide to try it, please let me know.

Client: Okay, I’ll do it. I’m a little hesitant about it, but I’ll give it a shot.

The conversation might then move on to defining the experiment: How much chocolate do you have? What time of day are you? What will you do with it?

And regardless of what the client does—whether they try the advice or not—“you’re in a position for them to come back to you without feeling judged,” says Solovieva.

“Isn’t it just easier not to eat certain foods?” you might wonder.

Yes, for some people in specific situations at different stages of their path.

This need to abstain, however, does not have to be permanent. Many people can transition from avoiding from specific foods to moderating them once they’ve developed a set of routines.

That’s why we prefer to advise our clients to think about two things when it comes to the foods they believe to be bad:

What is the purpose of this food—for you?

What do you want it to accomplish?

For example, you may currently feel out of control because you find it difficult to quit eating particular foods once you begin. However, you’d prefer that they simply become meals that you love in moderation.

What are the various paths from point A (out of control) to point B (something I appreciate in moderation)?


There are a slew of other options that we didn’t even include in the chart above. You may give one a shot. You could try a few other things. You might want to give them all a shot.

The point is that letting rid of the good vs. terrible mentality may allow you to see more alternatives than ever before.

Along the way, you may discover that having a broader, more flexible perspective allows you to not only enjoy every meal more—but also to achieve your goals faster.


To see the information sources mentioned in this article, go here.

If you’re a coach or wish to be one…

It’s both an art and a science to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a way that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.

Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.

There is a lot of information about foods to avoid to lose weight, but not much information about foods that encourage weight gain. There is also a lot of information about foods to avoid, but it is not always accurate. Some “bad foods” are actually good for you, some foods can actually help with weight loss, and some foods are just plain bad for your body and can cause health problems.. Read more about what foods to avoid to lose weight over 50 and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I stop eating to lose weight?

There are many things that you can stop eating to lose weight. You should avoid processed foods, sugar, and refined carbs.

What foods help burn belly fat?

Some foods that help burn belly fat include beans, broccoli, and brown rice.

What should I avoid eating to lose belly fat?

Avoid eating too much sugar, processed foods, and refined grains.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • foods to avoid to lose weight fast
  • foods to avoid to lose weight in stomach
  • foods to avoid to lose weight faster
  • foods to avoid to lose weight quickly
  • foods to avoid to lose weight
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