Large portions of high-fat foods contribute to weight gain.
With 68 percent of the population overweight or obese in the United States, weight-loss diets are ubiquitous. Avoiding the 10 most fattening foods is an alternative to crash dieting. Since fat has twice the calories of protein or sugars - 9 calories per gram of fat as opposed to 4 calories per gram of the other nutrients - the most fattening foods are high in fat. Avoiding these foods can reduce the daily caloric intake enough to result in weight loss.
Among the worst culprits are high-fat desserts like pie, ice cream and cheesecake. In small portions they can fit into just about any diet, but mind the serving size. One-eighth of a pie or cheesecake ranges from 300 to over 400 calories depending on the filling. Cream-filled pies are higher in calories than fruit pies, while pecan and other nut pies are the highest. Whether ice cream tops the pie or is eaten alone, the standard 1/2-cup serving of full-fat vanilla ice cream has 135 calories. A pint of a popular brand of cookies-and-cream-flavored ice cream tops out at a whopping 1, 080 calories in its four servings.
In breakfast meats like sausage and bacon, the majority of the calories are from fat. Fat provides taste but is not a good source of nutrition. Two sausage links provide 165 calories; 81 percent of the calories are from fat. Bacon is not a much better choice: 90 of the 129 calories in a three-strip serving are from fat. Another hidden source of fat in the morning meal is shortening in the biscuits. A single biscuit, 2 1/2 inches in diameter, provides 212 calories. This is before any toppings, like jam, are added.
Potato chips and peanuts are two of the highest-calorie snack foods. One ounce of potato chips - about 20 chips - provides 150 calories; an 8-ounce bag has more than 1, 200 calories. Portion size comes into play again with peanuts: 1 ounce, or about 28 peanuts, supplies 165 calories. A cup brings the calorie count to more than 1, 300. The larger the portion, the more fattening the snack becomes.
Butter and Salad Dressing
Adding creamy, tasty toppings to otherwise healthy foods also adds empty calories, which are unwelcome in any weight-loss plan. Each teaspoon, or pat, of butter supplies 45 calories. Melt a tablespoon into mashed potatoes or on a warm roll and the calorie count jumps to 135. Ranch dressing has an innocent-sounding 73 calories in a tablespoon. Completely covering all the salad ingredients raises the serving size by many tablespoons and several hundred calories. Portion control is the key to limiting excess calories contributed by dressings and spreads.