Written by Rachael Link, MS, RD
Many factors play a role in weight management, including your diet.
Certain foods are more likely to contribute to weight gain than others, including processed foods that are high in calories, fat, added sugar, and salt.
Nevertheless, these foods can still fit into a well-rounded diet. Just make sure to monitor your portion sizes and enjoy them in moderation, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
Here’s a list of 11 foods that can contribute to weight gain if you consume them in high amounts.
Soda is high in calories and added sugar, yet it lacks important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants (1Trusted Source).
What’s more, drinking soda too often could contribute to weight gain.
In fact, research shows that people who regularly drink sugary soda are much more likely to gain weight than those who don’t (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
One study found that people who drank soda alongside their normal diet consumed 572 more calories per day. Over time, this could easily lead to significant weight gain (5Trusted Source).
Additionally, drinking soda may be tied to a higher risk of conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer (6Trusted SourceTrusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
While you can still enjoy the occasional glass of soda, try to limit your intake to around 12 ounces (354 mL), and don’t make it a daily habit. You can also opt for sugar-free versions of your favorite beverages to cut down your sugar intake.
2. Sugar-sweetened coffee
Rich in caffeine and a variety of health-promoting antioxidants, coffee can be a nutritious beverage (11Trusted Source).
However, if sweetened with added syrup or sugar, coffee and coffee-based drinks like frappés, caffe lattes, or frozen mochas can contain just as much sugar as soda.
Like soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks, high sugar coffee drinks can contribute to weight gain and may harm your health, for example by increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes (3Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
Therefore, if you’re trying to lose or maintain weight, it’s best to avoid sugar-packed options at your local coffee shop and limit how much sugar you add to your coffee at home or in the office. You can also opt for a low calorie sweetener like stevia instead.
3. Ice cream
Most commercially made ice cream is high in sugar and fat (13Trusted Source).
Additionally, because ice cream is often eaten as a dessert, it can add many extra calories to your meal — even if you’re already feeling full after the main course.
For this reason, it’s best to enjoy ice cream as an occasional treat rather than a staple in your diet.
To choose a healthier type of ice cream, look for one with fewer than 15 grams of sugar per serving, and be sure to watch your portion sizes. You can also make homemade “nice cream” by blending frozen fruit and Greek yogurt for a more nutritious alternative.
Commercially prepared pizzas are a popular convenience food, including among children and adolescents (14Trusted Source).
Unfortunately, most pizzas are high in fat, refined carbs, and calories. Some varieties are also made with large amounts of cheese and processed meats that have been cured, smoked, or salted.
A higher intake of processed meats has been linked to obesity and an increased risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).
Nevertheless, pizza can still fit into a well-rounded diet — as long as you only enjoy it occasionally and in moderation.
Plus, keep in mind that not all pizzas are created equal.
For example, you can experiment with healthier homemade versions featuring plenty of veggies, unprocessed protein like sliced chicken breast, smaller amounts of cheese, and whole grain pizza bases. You can also try to find a pizzeria that uses these ingredients.
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