You know how important it is to eat healthy foods. Who doesn’t, right? But consuming certain unhealthy foods can erase your healthy progress in a matter of seconds. If you want to win the battle of the bulge, avoid these 10 unhealthy foods like the plague.

#1: White pasta

Refined carbohydrates are one of the biggest weight gain culprits of unhealthy foods. And pasta is particularly troublesome. The flour used to make most refined or “white” pasta is highly processed and stripped of most of its nutritional properties. Refined pasta and other grains can make your blood sugar rise rapidly, releasing a hormone that blocks your body’s ability to burn fat. That alone should be plenty of incentive to skip the pasta.

#2: Sweets

Got a sweet tooth? Then you’re subjecting yourself to one of the biggest sources of unhealthy foods. Sugar offers little nutritional value and is one of the biggest sources of weight gain. A sweet indulgence once in a while is okay, but it’s best to avoid sweet treats like cake, cookies, pie, and ice cream whenever possible.

#3: French fries

Research shows that French fries are a major source of weight gain in overweight and obese people. Fries and other fast food are high in calories and fat and contain highly processed, chemical-laden ingredients.

#4: Soda

Soda is a sugar-filled blend of empty calories, meaning it has zero nutritional value. Most soda contains a cheap corn-based sweetener called high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which can lead to more weight gain than plain old table sugar according to Princeton researchers. Stick with water, coffee, and tea over this “liquid candy.”

#5: Processed meats

Processed meats are a common unhealthy food in the Western diet. The problem is, these types of meats, which include bacon, sausage, ham and other deli meats, can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Lean meats like turkey, chicken, and fish are a better bet.

#6: Cereal

Cereals are unhealthy foods that many people consider healthy. But most cereals are packed with refined grains, sugar, and processed ingredients. Take Fruit Loops, for instance. The ingredients label includes:

sugar, corn flour blend, wheat flour, whole grain oat flour, oat fiber, soluble corn fiber, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut, soybean and/or cottonseed), salt, red 40, natural flavor, blue 2, turmeric color, yellow 6, annatto color, blue 1, BHT for freshness

That’s a whole bunch of artificial junk your body can do without.

#7: Salad dressing

Salad dressings are another not-so-obvious culprit in the world of unhealthy foods. That’s because most of them are made with cheap, highly-processed oils like soybean, corn, and canola. These types of oils are high in Omega-6 fatty acids, which may actually promote inflammation in your body.

Choose olive oil-based dressings instead, which contain healthier Omega-3 fatty acids. And, look for a dressing with under 200 milligrams of sodium. Or make your own instead.

#8: White bread

There are few things more enjoyable than a delicious piece of warm, fresh-baked bread. But the white bread you get at most grocery stores is a far cry from this. It’s loaded with artificial fillers, salt, and other junk. And, white bread is one of the worst foods you can eat if you’re trying to lose weight. So ditch this unhealthy food and opt for whole wheat bread.

#9: Margarine

Margarine and other pseudo-butters are actually worse for you than real butter. That’s because many margarines still contain dreaded trans fats, which increase your bad LDL cholesterol and decrease your good HDL cholesterol. Even the margarine brands that don’t have trans fats still have unhealthy, inflammation-causing oils. Choose a good grass-fed butter from a local farmer instead. Your taste buds will thank you.

#10: Chips

According to one research study that tracked over 120,000 U.S. women, potato chips were the number one food attributed to weight gain among study participants. So maybe it’s time to stop stocking your pantry with Doritos, Fritos, and potato chips, you think? Opt for healthy snacks like nuts, popcorn, and veggies with hummus instead.

If you want to be healthier, get rid of these habits as well: 10 Toxic Habits of Unhealthy People

Featured photo credit: fast food burger and fries via Shutterstock

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