7 Foods That Make You Fat, 13 Foods That Don’t

Let’s face it, most chronic diseases that affect Americans are the result of an unhealthy lifestyle. In the last 50 years, people’s health has plummeted. Currently, about 71% of Americans are obese or overweight – not 66% like it was recorded back in 2013. (1)

In other words, a whopping 100 million people in the U.S. are obese.  Most strokes and heart attacks could be prevented if adults stuck to healthy lifestyle behaviors. That means eating fast food, and processed goodies can lead to more premature deaths than cigarette smoking.

If you want to be one of those people who breeze through life without packing a few extra pounds a year, then you can start managing the food you eat. What you need is a proper game plan – one that goes well beyond the old-school mantra “workout more and eat less.”

With the right food in your pantry, you will always stay on the right track. Here, we compiled some practical wellness information that will answer all your queries.

It’s no secret that diet quantity and quality matter. The number of calories you drink or eat will have a profound impact on your overall weight. For your weight not to be thrown off balance, you would need to munch on the same amount of calories that the body burns with time.

But, when you go overboard with the calories, then the weight goes up, making it harder for the pounds to go down, Harvard experts explain. Then, what about the type of calories: will it matter if the calories you eat come from protein, high carb intake, or fat? (2)

Popular belief claims that calories are calories, regardless of where they come from. Controlling body weight comes down to eating fewer calories and exercising more. However, research data indicates that some eating patterns and foods could make it easier to keep the calories under wraps. Whereas other food sources can make you overeat.

Have you ever found yourself planning to eat just a couple of bites of chocolate, only to end up eating the entire box? A ton of unhealthy foods are dense with more calories and loaded with refined sugars. These can make you overindulge.

Now, when you pair that with a restrictive diet and skipped meals, you add more fuel to the fire. That’s why it’s best to avoid foods that can lead to cravings. Typicalfood sources that contribute to weight gain include: (3)

  1. Unprocessed red meat (for instance, pork, beef, sheep, and veal)
  2. Drinks with added sugar (such as sports drinks, coffee drinks, non-diet soft sodas, flavored juice, energy drinks, etc)
  3. Processed meats (mainly ham, bacon, salami, and sausage)
  4. Commercially, highly processed foods (i.e., sweetened dairy products, convenience meals, junk food, etc)
  5. Potato chips and French fries
  6. Desserts and pastries packed with sugar (such as donuts, cookies, candy, ice cream, etc)
  7. Breakfast cereal with almost 40% added sugar

You may be tempted to drizzle some chocolate syrup with your favorite pancakes. While it is tasty, this is not healthy food. So, it’s a good idea to replace this condiment with organic honey or another healthy topping of your choice.

Although it is not that big of a deal to have these foods as an extra treat, you shouldn’t include them in your daily diet. The goal is to swap these unhealthy choices with healthy foods. They should contain fewer calories while being a great source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

Of course, not all calories are equal. Various foods go through unique metabolic pathways in the body. They can have a significantly different impact on hunger and the number of calories you burn. Don’t worry. Many food sources don’t make you pile a few extra pounds. Rather, some can lead to practical weight loss. These include:

  1. Fruits
  2. Vegetables
  3. Nuts
  4. Whole grains
  5. Legumes
  6. Beans
  7. Lean meat
  8. Poultry
  9. Fish
  10. Seeds (i.e. chia seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, etc)
  11. Greek yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, or reduced-fat alternatives
  12. Healthy oils (such as olive oil, coconut oil, and safflower oil)
  13. Grain (cereal) foods, mainly high cereal fiber or wholegrain varieties

Research shows that a high intake of whole grains drastically curbs the risk of heart disease. A whole-grain diet can also decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and obesity. Eating legumes also notably reduced cardiovascular mortality and coronary artery disease risk. (4)

The reason experts suggest you eat beans, broccoli, whole grain pasta, and popcorn, like air popped popcorn, is that they are high fiber foods. Dietary fiber normalizes bowel movements and decreases the odds of constipation. With adequate bowel health, you can have an easier time removing the extra pounds.

Then you have fatty acids. Fatty acids are a perfect addition to any healthy diet. Omega-3s can be found in flaxseed, fish, and fish oil. Omega-3s are naturally present in certain foods. While they could also be added to fortified consumables. To get the proper omega-3 sources in any healthy diet you choose, add seeds, like chia seeds, fish, nuts, plant oils, etc. (5)

How to Curb the Excess Weight?

Many people gain weight faster than they lose it. This can predispose them to potential health problems. But, if you start to pay attention to your next meal, you can turn the tide. To start losing weight, the body needs to be in a calorie deficit. A tactic such as this could help.

Decreasing dietary or saturated fat or/and carbohydrates is a convenient way to create a calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 kcal per day. And this should result in weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. For ideal weight loss results, people need to combine physical activity with eating fewer calories. (6)

Another thing to consider is healthy fats. Eating more healthy fats can prevent you from putting on more weight. A Mediterranean diet that’s rich in healthy fat offers a better long-term impact than a low-fat diet. While the low-fat option can help you avoid gaining weight, it is very restrictive.

As plant-based protein sources packed with good fats, peanuts, and nuts, nut butters make for a natural fit in the Mediterranean way of eating. Plus, compared to a low-fat diet, Mediterranean meals offer a better improvement in insulin resistance, blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation. Olive oil is the main source of added fat in this eating pattern.

What Makes Olive Oil Better Than Other Oils?

Partly owing to its versatility and nutritional value, olive oil remains one of the most used products on the market. This oil, particularly extra virgin olive oil, is among the least processed oils for cooking. Thus, it keeps most of its minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.

Vegetable oil is different. It goes through heavy processing to blend multiple oils and neutralize the flavor. In other words, you are getting empty calories instead of it being a great source of nutrients. Studies suggest that swapping vegetable oil for extra virgin oil can boost cognition in elderly patients. And it is a much healthier food choice compared to other oils. (7)

How Much Protein is Too Much?

For those looking to build muscle and stay fit, a high-protein diet is a popular choice. When you take a look at proteins from a biological perspective, you will notice that they are like Legos for the body – building blocks that make up the muscles, hormones, and tendons.

Protein is critical for blood sugar control. It aids with digestion and avoids a spike in blood sugar levels after a meal. With protein, you can feel fuller. Plus, it can keep you from overeating, which is a key component in managing blood sugar. But, there is one thing that people overlook. And that is how much protein you should take when eating foods. (8)

An adult with a sedentary lifestyle should consume 0.8 grams of protein /kg of body weight. That would mean 0.36g per pound. The average male that doesn’t spend too much time doing any physical activity should munch on roughly 56 grams of protein /day. For the average woman, 46g should be enough. (9)

Eggs are a great option. Particularly egg yolks. They are super nutritious. They are good sources of vitamin D. A deficiency in this vitamin is more prevalent in obese patients and can affect their BMI and waist circumference. When you pair eggs with some vegetable serving, alongside some fat and fiber, like avocado, you can get yourself a highly nutritious meal. They won’t increase hunger. Instead, they are rather filling and feature a high protein content. (10)

Could I Follow An All-Protein Diet?

Technically, you could. But, it wouldn’t be healthy for the system. The goal is to obtain somewhere from 10% to 35% of the calories from protein. So, 200 to 700 calories should come from more protein if you follow a 2,000-calorie diet. (11)

The real problem with protein intake is that our bodies are incapable of storing protein. Therefore, once you reach that quota, the system will convert the additional protein into fat or energy. Therefore, it is best that people use the recommended protein amount or eat protein in moderation.

Can Dried Fruit Make Me Fat?

This type of fruit is quite high in sugar and calories. Typical such fruits have 38% to 66% sugar. So, if you eat too much of them on a regular basis, then you can gain weight. But, just like any other food on the market, dried fruit has its pros and cons. (12)

It can supply the body with a hefty dose of nutrients and fiber, including a ton of antioxidants. In 2 dates, for instance, you are getting 3.2 grams of fiber, 0.8 g protein, and 133 calories. Dates are also a lot healthier than the wrong kinds of snacks. Such as processed foods, chips, or cookies. (13)

However, if you don’t watch the amount you eat, they can toss your weight loss efforts down the drain. To get the desired result and control the calorie intake, consume dried fruit in smaller quantities, like 4 to 7 pieces a day. If you feel the hunger for something sweet and tasty, then opt for one cup serving of mixed fruit. One cup of chopped pineapples, watermelon, and oranges have high water content.

Does That Mean I Can’t Eat Sweets If I Want to Lose Weight?

Just 6% to 10% of your daily calories should come from sugar. Let’s say you follow a 2,000-calorie diet. Then, that would mean 120 to 200 calories and 30g – 50g of sugar/day. The problem is, added sugars make up roughly 13% of an adults’ total food intake in the U.S. (14)

That’s a real bummer if you don’t want to gain weight. What you can do is choose the right treat that won’t spike the calorie intake too much, and that’s worth it. Like dark chocolate, for example. Dark chocolate is without a doubt one of the most popular treats on the planet. For those eager to lose weight, it can come in handy.

There is a plethora of evidence and wellness information that this food has potent health benefits. Reports show that this chocolate can curb appetite and hunger levels. It is one of the few foods that taste delicious while supplying the system with a ton of nutrients. (15)

Then again, you can’t just grab a box and eat it all day – every day. The body can still obtain plenty of calories if you overeat. Ideally, you should opt for quality stuff. Particularly the chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content.

When it comes to picking out a snack on the road, then a trail mix makes for an excellent choice. A trail mix is basically a combination of nuts, dried fruit, granola, and sometimes candy. It is a good temporary option to solve hunger. Plus, it is healthy for the heart and can be customized to your personal preference.

Final Thoughts

There are many foods that make you fat that don’t. However, you shouldn’t be depriving the body of what it needs. The aim of this guideline is not to provide medical advice. But, to educate people on how to take the right approach to look after themselves. Healthy eating remains a central component of overall wellness.

When you make the right choices, you can stimulate general health and reach your weight goals. A balanced diet is here to give you that power and energy to boost muscle strength, heart health and reduce the chances of obesity. But, the food you eat may not be enough to maintain a normal or healthy weight. Exercise is also helpful. Mainly for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6146358/
  2. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/diet-and-weight/
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-highly-fattening-foods#TOC_TITLE_HDR_11
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7231110/
  5. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3225890/
  7. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/olive-oil-vs-vegetable-oil#recommendation
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6724448/
  9. https://www.sclhealth.org/blog/2019/07/how-much-protein-is-simply-too-much/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6071442/
  11. https://www.sclhealth.org/blog/2019/07/how-much-protein-is-simply-too-much/
  12. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dried-fruit-good-or-bad#TOC_TITLE_HDR_9
  13. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/medjool-dates#nutrients
  14. https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/reduce-your-sugar-intake#1
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20102728/
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply