While most foods can be enjoyed in moderation there are some things worth cutting out of your diet entirely when you're trying to lose weight. Some of the foods on our list are plain unhealthy, while others are nice but just too naughty when counting calories...
Avoid snacking on carb-only foods, especially refined white carbs. When you eat dry cereal, crackers or rice cakes on their own, your body converts the carbs to simple sugars and sends it directly to your blood stream. In response, your body produces extra insulin, which means you end up with low blood sugar and craving more instant energy in the form of carbs or sugar. While carbs are part of a healthy diet, go for complex carbs (brown rice, bread and pasta) which release their energy slowly. If you can't resist a carb-snack, add some low-fat cheese and a few tomatoes to your crackers.
As well as containing empty calories that don't fill you up or provide any nutrients, your body sees alcohol as a toxin to be eliminated – and when your liver is busy dealing with wine, it won't be burning fat as efficiently. Wine contains approximately 120 calories per glass and, what's worse, is terrible for weakening willpower. When you're trying to lose weight, go teetotal, or just drink on one night of the week. If you can't resist, consider switching to reduced-calorie wine. Weight Watchers wine contains 1 point or 80 calories per glass at 9% alcohol.
Fast food burgers are full of saturated fat, trans-fat and cholesterol. The average Whopper with cheese contains 720 calories, while a medium portion of French fries contains more than 600 calories. Health campaigners warn that some family meals at the "big four" restaurants - Pizza Hut, KFC, McDonald's and Burger King – are almost as salty as sea water. If you love a meaty feast, make a homemade burger from lean mince and eat with salad or veggies.
Oily salad dressings
Don't ruin an otherwise healthy salad by drenching it with creamy mayonnaise or oily vinaigrette. Watch out for potted potato salads and coleslaw which are laden with fat. For a healthier option, switch to balsamic vinegar or low-fat salad dressings.
Studies show that people tend to consume 30% more when eating a food that's labelled low fat. When food manufacturers remove fat from food, they inevitably remove some of the flavour – and to compensate, they often add more sugar. Give low-fat foods the swerve and eat small portions of intensely flavoured food that satisfy your taste buds and your tummy.
Cinema popcorn with butter
A large bucket of butter popcorn can contain as many as 1,500 calories and 70 grams of fat. Studies show that we eat much more when distracted (when watching a film for example); another good reason not to eat in the cinema! The best option is to eat something healthy before you go, and don't order a snack. If the film is any good, you'll soon lose interest in snacking.
Processed cheese that comes in thin slices is high in calories, saturated fat and trans-fat and is packed full of unhealthy additives and preservatives. Instead, opt for low-fat spreading soft cheese, low-fat cottage cheese, or reduced-fat hard cheese.
Tinned soups are one of the worst culprits for hidden salt and some (such as cream of tomato) contain high levels of sugar. Some brands have as much as half the recommended daily salt intake per serving. Salt not only increases high blood pressure but also increases the risk of stomach cancer. For a more nutritious and tasty meal, cook up a batch of homemade vegetable soup instead.
Manmade hydrogenated or trans-fats used in pastry and biscuits are known to increase the risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of bad cholesterol. Processed meat products are also often high in saturated sat – making sausage rolls and pies doubly bad. Skip the sausage roll and opt for a grilled chicken sandwich on wholemeal bread instead.
Sugary fizzy drinks are full of empty calories. While artificially sweetened fizzy drinks can help you cut down, it's healthier to switch to sugar-free cordials and sparkling water. The problem with drinking artificially sweetened drinks (or using artificial sweeteners in food) is that it can trigger your body to crave even more sugar.
Have you given up certain foods to lose weight? Leave a comment below...