The #1 WORST Food For Weight Gain

Hey there, Vic here and I had to share the results of a very interesting study. . .

Yahoo News recently reported on a study conducted by Harvard University scientists that analyzed changes in diet and lifestyle habits of 120,877 people. The weight of the participants was measured every four years for up to two decades.  And on average, participants gained nearly 17 pounds over the 20-year period.

But the fascinating thing about the study was they were able to link specific foods and activities to a precise amount of weight gain.

And the biggest offender was potato chips!

Each daily serving of potato chips containing 1 ounce (only about 15 chips) led to a 1.69-pound increase over four years.  For potatoes other than chips, the gain was 1.28 pounds.  Other foods or actions they were able to correlate to weight gain included:

• Soda added a 1 pound increase.

• An alcoholic drink per day: 0.41 pound increase.

• Sweets and desserts: 0.41 pound increase.

• Watching an hour of TV per day: 0.31 pound increase.

• Quitting smoking: 5 pound increase.

One of the leaders of the study, Dr. Frank Hu noted, “There is no magic bullet for weight control.  Diet and exercise are important for preventing weight gain, but diet clearly plays a bigger role.”

Of course diet clearly plays the bigger role! Diet is Batman to exercise’s Robin.  I’ve seen several people lose weight while only following the diet of the 31 Day Fat Loss Cure and not doing any of the workouts.  But I have NEVER seen someone lose weight by only doing the workouts and ignoring the diet.

As interesting as it was to see an exact number of pounds attached to the specific foods, do we really need a scientific study to tell us that eating potato chips will lead to weight gain?  If you want a crunchy snack try celery, carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, or apples.  And leave the math to the scientists.

What food has contributed most to your weight gain in the past?  What are you doing to avoid or replace that food now?  Let me know in the comments below.

Train Hard!

~ Vic


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25 Responses to “The #1 WORST Food For Weight Gain”

  1. John alker says:

    My gaining foods are sugar, bread and potatoes. I.e., STARCH!

    So I reduced them to virtual zero in my diet. Still losing weight.
    Exercise? Walking up and down stairs for the sake of it. Doing pressups against the wall, and pull-ups on the door frames. Leaving the car on the drive whenever possible. (And at 72 yrs.)


  2. Adrian Wooldridge says:

    Dear Vic,
    I concur exactly about the diet and exercise thing I have as a diabetic to be careful about peaks and troughs in blood sugar, so have been mostly following the diet with the regular exercise of walking. In the 31 days following your dietary tips I lost 20lbs in weight and 4 inches off my waistline. This was verified by my doctor who said if I can loose the same again in the next 3 months I can drastically reduce my diabetic tablet intake. The great thing about your programme has been giving me the discipline to eat properly. So I am down from 220 lbs to 200, next target is 180 lbs. I am no spring chicken being nearly 60 if I can do it anyone can do it

    Best regards



  3. francis says:

    Hi, I wish to enquire about the last point.
    Do people gain weight from quitting cigarettes? Kinda odd… Could you shed more light on that?


    vicmagary Reply:

    I don’t know for sure. . . but I speculate that the habit of putting something in your mouth stays even if the item changes. So I’m guessing that cigarettes get exchanged for food often times when people quit.


    Yul Reply:

    Internal tobacco industry documents show that companies add appetite suppressants when making cigarettes. Nicotine also increases your heart rate and metabolic rate. Of course, the weight loss “benefit” of smoking is far outweighed by the many damaging effects of smoking on health. Definitely better to exercise and eat right!


    Yul Reply:

    Exercise boosts metabolism (many times more than smoking) and the body’s immune system, as well as lowers LDL (bad cholesterol).
    Smoking increases LDL, lowers the immune response, and increases risk of hypertension, heart disease, stroke, emphysema, various cancers, etc.

  4. George says:

    bread, pasta and rice.


    Mario Reply:

    Hi George, yes bread, past and rice esp the white versions that are converted so quickly to glucose and cause an insulin spike. However, brown rice and multi-grain bread for example eaten half an hour before and half and hour to an hour after execise will not add any body fat. Why! Because these are the two anabolic windows where your body uses the carbs in these foods to replace the energy used during exercise if you used enough intensity that is. But you need to remember that you also need to add some protein and good fats as well, such as avocado or small amount of say almonds.


  5. Rachel says:

    Half-and-half in my coffee.


  6. CDD says:

    According to the article in the Washington Post, it is NOT potato chips that are the worst. It is the French Fries. Here is what was said in the Post:

    Within each period, the subjects gained an average of 3.35 pounds. Every additional daily serving of potatoes pushed up the scale by more than a pound every four years. As expected, the type of potato, however, was important. Every order of french fries put on 3.35 pounds; a snack of potato chips added 1.69. But even each helping of boiled, baked or mashed potatoes contributed a little more than a half-pound.

    The study’s bottom line was that potatoes–ALL potatoes in any form–are the worst food for weight gain with other white starchy foods like bread, pasta, and rice following suit. Eater beware!


    vicmagary Reply:

    Awesome! Thanks for giving us another source for the material. But like you said, the bottom line is to avoid potatoes and other starchy foods. Thanks again.


    CDD Reply:

    You’re welcome! I hope you also noticed that in the study it was discovered that the one dairy product that seemed to help with weight loss and maintenance was yogurt. Now, if you want to avoid all dairy during the initial 31 day program, that’s fine. But this study concluded that yogurt appeared to be a positive factor for weight loss and maintenance, so including plain or very lightly sweetened yogurt later on in your diet would probably be a plus, and it would give you a source for obtaining many of the nutrients found in other dairy products without the added drawbacks of their downside. I think reports on this study would be good for all to read because it was very enlightening.


    vicmagary Reply:

    I agree that yogurt is a food worth experimenting with after the initial 31 days.

  7. Carolyn Tutin says:

    Thank you for the tip about potato chips. I shall remember that and not buy any of them!


  8. Sulucas says:

    I made it through the 31 day diet in march of this year. I lost 10 lbs on the diet alone. Just cutting out the dairy (I discovered almond milk – so good!), wheat (no more bloated stomach) and sugar ( a little of the 89% stuff & NOW brand stevia). I found this diet to be the easiest to follow. I also discovered the truth about canola oil (evil) and the goodness and lovely aroma of coconut oil. I have changed my diet to fit my new lifestyle and I won’t go back to eating the way I used to. After awhile, this new way of eating becomes much easier as I feel so much better. I now enjoy grocery shopping a couple of times a week as I buy only organic fruit and veggies. Cooking, which was once a chore is now fun! Thank you, Vic – life is good and I’m not going back!


  9. Jack Lewis says:

    I just completed day 21 of your 31 day fat loss program and have lost 8 pounds. Since June of 2010 until June 1st of this year I had lost 20 lbs by combining 5 day a week work-outs with change in diet. I started at 2008 lbs, had congestive heart failure in January of 2010, began working out June 1st of 2010. The fastest loss occurred when I began you diet plan and work out schedule June 1st of 2011. As of today I am down to 180 pounds. I am 71 years old. My ultimate goal is 168 lbs; the same weight I was when I played football 50 years ago.

    Thanks, Jack Lewis


  10. James Wee says:

    Hi Vic,
    It’s rice, bread and potato chips.
    I have lost 20 lbs since I took up
    your program. I exercise mainly on
    dumb-bells, squatting and wall push-ups.
    I hope to continue to lose weight by
    eating right and exercise. I am 62 and have
    a bit of back problem. (Reduced cartilage
    between vertebra in lower spine.) I felt
    numbness or pain in my legs if I walk too long.
    Thanks for your e-mails.


  11. John Richard says:

    Breakfast ceral. Also the hardest thing for me to give up, as I’ve started my day with a bowel of “healthy” whole grain cereal every day of my life for the past 30 years. Up until the past 23 days that is.

    I completely agree with your comments about the diet vs workouts. I suppose it’s testimonial time: I’ve lost 17 lbs since starting 5/20. I have been struggling with my weight for about 5 years now, and have an extremely high activity level. I ride a bicylcly to work 10 miles a day, do free weights 2-3x/wk, yet was still gaining 1-2 lbs/yr. When I hit 200 I started cutting back calories, but was getting nowhere. After 6 months and 202 lbs I saw your ad on Facebook. I don’t do your workouts at all, but with my already high exercise level the weight has been melting off. And you know what? This has been the easiest weight loss program I’ve ever done. Diet is WAY more important to weight loss.

    Another element about how great this program is concerns how the weight comes off. I’ve taken off 20-30 lbs at periodic times in the past (although this is getting increasingly harder to do the older I get, I’m now 45), but the weight would come off everywhere but my belly until the very end. My face would look like a skeleton before I could take my belt in. Not so this time; I’m down 2 notches on my belt and the only real change in my face is the loss of the double chins.

    Thanks Vic for the terrific program, and I absolutely love the Blog posts to keep up the motivation. Keep up the great work.


    vicmagary Reply:

    Wow, John! Thanks so much for sharing your story.


  12. Brian Richter says:

    Thanks vic,
    I admit I have not stuck to your reccommendations entirely but can alter my weight at will as you say entirely on diet. My age groupe is on the wrong side of halfway and the desire to do constant tough workouts has diminished but I am very active and do what workouts I can. I find I can meet the day’s challenges much better when feeling fitter and not so dragged down with excess weight.
    Your eating tips are the best and I am glad I answered your ad when I did. Cheers, Brian R


  13. Cheryl says:

    Concur with all others, drop the bread, pasta and rice. Can be hard to not have bread but as it is truly the only thing that works, we just have to stick to it. I lost 18kg in 6 months a few years but have put 3kg back on over the past 12 monts, so need to get back on that strict regime and lose the lunch time sanger…


  14. lidia kobal says:

    Perfect advice for not eating white bread, potatoes, sweets they are the worst I know because soon as I stop to consume these foods I lost the weight and now I am training as hard as a can to build some muscle. Thank you Vic.


  15. Charles Arvey says:

    I found ice cream to be my main weight gain source. Haven’t had but a couple small servings in the past 3 months (since starting the 31 day program) and have lost 25 pounds.

    On the potato subject: What is your take on sweet potatoes? They have a lot of nutrition and I eat them with a small amount of organic butter and cinnamon on them.


    vicmagary Reply:

    Sweet potatoes do have some good vitamin content, but I still think they should be avoided for optimum weight loss. If you do eat them, keep it to only in the meal immediately following training and only in limited amounts.


  16. You right!! Think exactly the same


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