When it comes to weight loss, the focus very often seems to be on “negative things” like avoiding certain foods, “having” to do more exercise, and reducing overall calorie intake.
And, while it is true that you need to create a calorie deficit in order to lose weight, adopting a negative mindset towards the changes you’re implementing when you start a weight loss venture or transformation challenge can make your journey seem that much more stressful, daunting, or insurmountable.
However, that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.
Weight loss doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) about deprivation. It should be about creating healthy, sustainable habits that you can do each and every day. And one of the most important ones is consuming wholesome, nutritious, (and even calorie-dense) foods.
What’s more, these foods will lead to greater feelings of satisfaction, which ultimately helps keep you feeling fuller for longer between meals, and therefore less likely to snack.
Along those lines, here are 8 “bad” foods that are surprisingly good for weight loss.
Carbophiles around the world rejoice!
You absolutely do NOT have to completely eliminate carbohydrates from your diet in order to lose weight.
In fact, the right carbohydrates can not only help keep you feeling full and energized throughout the day, but they can also help you train harder during your workouts, which helps increase calorie burning and total daily energy expenditure -- thereby supporting weight loss!
Carbohydrates that fit the bill for weight loss are those that are high in fiber, micronutrients, and complex carbs and lower on the glycemic index.
Pasta, especially whole grain varieties, checks all of those boxes.
Moreover, pasta is usually accompanied by sources of lean protein (like chicken or shrimp) and tossed with vegetables and heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil, each of which further helps slow the release of energy in the body, promoting more stable blood sugar and energy levels after your meal.
#2 Whole Eggs
Egg whites have been a staple protein source of bodybuilders and physique athletes for decades. Additionally, only until recent times, it was thought that consuming the egg yolks was potentially hazardous due to its cholesterol content. Fortunately, research in recent times has shown that dietary cholesterol (as well as fat) isn’t as hazardous as was previously believed. Plus, the yolk contains all the beneficial vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats your body needs.
Moreover, eggs are very affordable, easy to fix, and can be prepared in a variety of ways from the quick scramble to the grab-and-go hard-boiled eggs, which make a great weight loss breakfast or a high-protein, low calorie snack in between meals.
#3 Peanut Butter & Other Nut Butters
Considered a guilty pleasure and/or indulgence by many, the truth of the matter is that while higher in calories than some other foods peanut butter and other nut butters are incredibly healthy. They contain healthy fats, fiber, protein and a variety of essential micronutrients, such as selenium, magnesium, vitamin E, iron and potassium.
Nut butters make an awesome between meal snack, especially when added to whole grain crackers, pita chips or fresh apple slices.
Portion size still matters, so if you’re going to have a serving of nut butter, make sure to measure it and log your nutrition using the 1UP Fitness app, so you can be sure that you’re staying on track with your goals.
#4 Dark Meat Chicken
Chicken breast, much like egg whites, have been a staple protein source of the bodybuilding community for decades. It’s incredibly lean and packed with protein, but (let’s be honest) regular chicken breast can also be pretty dry and bland at times too, especially if it’s overcooked.
Dark meat poultry (legs and thighs) contains slightly more calories per ounce than chicken breast (about 5 extra calories and 1g of fat more than breast meat) but packs a TON more flavor. This added flavor means you won’t need to douse your chicken in copious amounts of high-calorie sauces to choke it down, which ultimately helps save on calories and support weight loss.
Is there any better way to start the work day than with a cup of fresh-brewed coffee?!
Coffee seems simple enough, yet so sublime when you have high quality beans, fresh, clean-tasting water and the right brewing device (we’re partial to a good French Press).
The caffeine in coffee may also stimulate thermogenesis and boost metabolism, helping the body to burn more calories from fat all the while aiding exercise performance, which results in more calories burned during training.
Besides the obvious reason to love coffee (caffeine, duh), it’s also a powerhouse of potent polyphenols and antioxidants, such as chlorogenic acid, which has been found to support better glucose and insulin regulation, healthy blood pressure, and improved cardiovascular function. There’s also some evidence to indicate that chlorogenic acid may offer some weight loss benefits too!
Also, don’t forget that coffee (and other caffeine-containing supplements such as our men’s and women’s weight loss aids Pro Ripped Max and Make Her Lean Max) can help suppress appetite, making it easier to stick to your nutrition goals for the day.
#6 Dark Chocolate
This isn’t a mistake -- chocolate (especially dark varieties) can be included in your weight loss diet.
In fact, cocoa and dark chocolate is one of the most abundant sources of polyphenols, flavonoids, and antioxidants in the diet. The bioactive compounds naturally found in cocoa and dark chocolate have been found to help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.
There’s even some research to indicate that dark chocolate can improve mood and reduce stress and inflammation![2,3]
Keep in mind that you want to go for dark chocolate (typically those with at least 70% cocoa content).
#7 Red Wine
Yep, in addition to chocolate, full-fat milk, pasta, and peanut butter, you can even have red wine while losing weight -- in moderation of course. This is why tracking your calories is so important!
Typically, alcohol is considered a “no-no” when dieting for the sheer fact that it’s fairly calorically dense (7 calories per gram) and doesn’t offer much in terms of improving muscle recovery, reducing hunger, or enhancing calorie burning. It’s also easy to overdo it if you’re not mindful of how much you’re drinking (or the foods that you’re eating alongside it).
Nevertheless, red wine is high in polyphenols, such as resveratrol, which are known to have a number of health-promoting and metabolism-supporting properties.
As always, moderation is key, and it’s important that you log your calories from alcoholic beverages just as you would any other calories you ingest during the day. Because, at the end of the day, weight loss is ultimately about managing calories in versus calories out. So long as you’re burning more than you’re consuming at the end of the day -- even if you’re consuming some of the perceived “naughty” foods on this list -- you’ll lose weight.
Life is about balance and when it comes to weight loss this holds true as well. You do not have to deprive yourself of delicious-tasting foods in order to lose weight. You do need to be mindful of portion sizes and keep track of how much you’re eating so that you can stay on track with your goals and get the results you want.
And, if you’re looking for an extra boost in crushing your workouts or accelerating the weight loss process, we offer a comprehensive line of dietary supplements, including our best-selling men’s and women’s weight loss aids and appetite suppressants, to help you reach your goals faster!
- Rautiainen S, Wang L, Lee IM, Manson JE, Buring JE, Sesso HD. Dairy consumption in association with weight change and risk of becoming overweight or obese in middle-aged and older women: a prospective cohort study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Apr;103(4):979-88. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.118406. Epub 2016 Feb 24. PMID: 26912496; PMCID: PMC4807700.
- Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center. "Dark chocolate consumption reduces stress and inflammation: Data represent first human trials examining the impact of dark chocolate consumption on cognition and other brain functions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180424133628.htm>.
- Al Sunni A, Latif R. Effects of chocolate intake on Perceived Stress; a Controlled Clinical Study. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2014;8(4):393-401.