Which Foods Cause the Most Weight Gain?

Which Foods Cause the Most Weight Gain?

Last update: 05 May, 2015

There are many foods that are best avoided or eaten only in moderation because they are fattening. With doctors telling us to watch our weight, it only makes sense that we should be more careful about what we eat. Portion size is important, but sometimes avoiding certain foods altogether can work as a better method of avoiding weight gain, ensuring low cholesterol and better energy levels.

Harvard University has conducted a study into foods that tend to cause the most weight gain. They boiled them down to twelve foods. We should try and eliminate or reduce them down in order to ensure that we don’t put weight on over time.

French fries and crisps


The most dangerous food for weight gain is French fries. These are sold at all fast food restaurants and are loaded with fat due to the cooking methods used. Fries are normally deep fried and people who eat a lot of them tend to gain a lot of weight. Cooking fries at home makes them a little healthier, especially if you choose oven chips.

Crisps are the second worst food for weight gain. These snacks are handy and quick but offer little nutrition and a high level of empty calories. Crisps contain high levels of salt and oil, while they are so light that people need to eat a lot of them to feel any satisfaction, causing over consumption and weight gain.

Fizzy drinks

Fizzy drinks cause weight gain due to their high levels of sugar. Many children and young people consume vast quantities of pop, while even the diet version is bad for health due to the artificial sweeteners which have been linked with cancer. ‘Full fat’ pop with sugar causes a spike in glucose levels and increases the risk of diabetes.

Fatty meats


Fatty meat is a huge culprit when it comes to weight gain. It is much better to cut off any visible fat and keep meat as lean as possible. Processed meats are another bad choice as they contain saturated fats, high sodium levels and often colours and preservatives. Processed foods and ready-meals contain high levels of trans fats which are dangerous for the health and contribute to those extra pounds.

Potatoes and fried food

Although potatoes can be good for the health, the high glycaemic index of potatoes can cause blood sugar spikes, while the method of preparation makes a big difference: frying is the worst method of cooking. Baking and boiling are much better choices.


Fried food in general is best avoided, whether it is fried chicken, potatoes or vegetables. Choose to bake or steam instead, for a healthier alternative. When eating out, food is often fried, so while at home always try to avoid frying to give your body a break.

Pastries and desserts

Pastries are popular at breakfast time for many people but eating lots of baked goods, such as croissants and pasties means consuming large amounts of sugar and fat. The same can be said for cake and biscuits, which are not satiating and are loaded with fat and sugar. It is far better to eat fruit as a dessert.

Refined grains


Refined grains are a bad choice as they are high on the glycaemic index, raising glucose levels and blood sugar, causing a spike in insulin. They do not fill you up for long which means you need to eat a lot to feel satisfied. Avoid white bread, pasta and rice and opt for wholemeal versions instead for a healthy alternative.

Fruit juice

Fruit juice sounds healthy, but many commercial varieties are loaded with sugars and chemicals, such as colours and preservatives. Look for natural juices or make your own from fresh fruit, however, too much fruit consumption can lead to weight gain due to the naturally high levels of fructose.

Low fat foods


The foods to eat which fight against weight gain include white or oily fish, such as hake and cod which are high in omega 3 and low in fat and carbohydrate; lean meat such as poultry and shellfish which is high in minerals and proteins; vegetables which are loaded with vitamins and legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and green beans, which contain protein and vitamins.