Top 10 Foods Highest in Calories to Avoid for Weight Loss

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Top 10 Foods Highest in Calories to Avoid for Weight Loss

High-calorie foods with low nutrient value (referred to as "empty calories") are widely consumed throughout the world, particularly in the typical "Western" diet. Increases in food production have led to increases in portion sizes, and in turn, increases in waistlines. This chain reaction has fuelled the obesity epidemic, with over a third of the U.S. population now classified as clinically obese.

In addition to reducing portion sizes, avoiding the high-calorie foods listed below is a great way to improve your health and help manage your weight.

High-calorie foods to avoid include fast foods, processed meats, desserts, candies, fatty meats, white bread products, snacks, sugary drinks, alcohol, and condiments. The daily value (DV) for calories is 2000 calories per day. Those wanting to lose weight should aim for 1500-1800 calories per day.

For more information see the article on low-calorie high fiber foods, high protein low carb weight loss meal plans, and the BMI weight loss calculator. Looking to gain weight or pack on healthy lean muscle? Check out the list of healthy high calorie foods.

List of Unhealthy High Calorie Foods to Limit or Avoid

Onion Rings1 Fast Foods (Onion Rings)
Calories per OrderCalories per 100g
1246 calories356 calories

Other Fast Foods High in Calories

  • 1197 calories in McDonald's Deluxe Breakfast with Syrup and Margarine
  • 1061 calories in a Burger King Double Whopper with Cheese
  • 961 calories in Denny's Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • 906 calories in a Taco Bell Taco Salad

See the ranking of 200 fast foods with the most calories.

Sausages2 Processed Meats (Kielbasa Sausage)
Calories per Large LinkCalories per 100g
1232 calories333 calories

Other Processed Meats High in Calories

  • 428 calories in 3oz of pepperoni
  • 283 in a bratwurst sausage
Dulce De Leche3 Desserts (Dulce De Leche)
Calories per CupCalories per 100g
958 calories315 calories

More High Calorie Desserts

  • 537 calories in a slice of chocolate cake with frosting
  • 382 calories in a cup of ice-cream
  • 367 calories in a slice of upside down pineapple cake
  • 290 calories in a slice of blueberry pie

See all baked foods high in calories.

Chocolate Candy Wafers4 Candies (Chocolate Candy)
Calories per 6oz Package (3/4 Cup)Calories per 100g
811 calories477 calories

Other Candies High in Calories

  • 490 calories in a 3.5oz Hershey's Payday Bar
  • 458 calories in a 3oz bar of white chocolate
  • 450 calories in a 2.8oz bar of Hershey's Pot of Gold Bar
A pork chop5 Fatty Meats (Pork Chops with Fat)
Calories in 1 Pork ChopCalories per 100g
525 calories255 calories

More Fatty Meats High in Calories

  • 495 calories in a rack of pork ribs
  • 400 calories in 3oz of braised beef ribs
  • 290 calories in a steak with fat
Soft Pretzels6 Bread Products (Soft Pretzels)
Calories in 1 LargeCalories per 100g
493 calories345 calories

More High Calorie Bread Products

  • 262 calories in 1 piece of naan bread
  • 261 calories in 1 bagel
  • 231 calories in 1 slice of pan dulce
  • 168 calories in 1 cornbread muffin
Extruded corn chips7 Snacks (Corn Chips)
Calories per Cup CrushedCalories per 100g
490 calories557 calories

Other Snacks High in Calories

  • 426 calories in 3.5oz of shrimp crackers
  • 416 calories in 3.5oz of rice crackers
  • 293 calories in 1 cup of low-oil tortilla chips

See all high calorie snacks

A can of soda8 Sugary Drinks (Cream Soda)
Calories per 16oz BottleCalories per 100g
252 calories51 calories

Other Sugary Drinks High in Calories

  • 246 calories in a 16oz glass of horchata
  • 207 calories in a 16oz cola
  • 202 calories in a 16z root beer
  • 197 calories in a 16oz sprite
  • 166 calories in a 16oz ginger ale

See the list of all high calorie drinks.

A glass of wine9 Alcohol (Dessert Wine)
Calories per 5oz GlassCalories per 100g
236 calories160 calories

Other Alcoholic Drinks High in Calories

  • 206 calories in 1 bottle of high alcohol beer
  • 154 calories in 1.5oz of coffee cream liqueur (Baileys)
  • 153 calories in a 12oz can of beer
  • 129 calories in a 5oz glass of Zinfandel
  • 127 calories in a 5oz glass of red wine (Burgundy)

Less alcohol means fewer calories. While it can be considered healthy to have 1 drink a day, any more packs on calories and carries other bad health effects. See the list of low calorie wines, and the list of beverages high in calories.

Salad Dressing10 Condiments (Salad Dressing)
Calories in 2 TblspCalories per 100g
132 calories399 calories

Other Condiments High in Calories

  • 67 calories in a tblsp of syrup
  • 56 calories in a tblsp of jam or preserves
  • 29 calories in a tblsp of BBQ sauce

Printable One Page Sheet

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A printable list of high-calorie foods to avoid including fast foods, processed meats, desserts, candies, fatty meats, bread products, snacks, sugary drinks, alcohol, and condiments.

About the Data

Data for the curated food lists comes from the USDA Food Data Central Repository.

You can check our data against the USDA by clicking the (Source) link at the bottom of each food listing.

Note: When checking data please be sure the serving sizes are the same. In the rare case you find any difference, please contact us and we will fix it right away.

About Nutrient Targets

Setting targets can provide a guide to healthy eating.

Some of the most popular targets include:
  • Daily Value (%DV) - The daily value (%DV) is a general guideline for consumption that will prevent deficiency of a particular nutrient in most people. The %DV refers to the percentage of an amount that's found in a single serving of a food. It also accounts for absorption factors. It is set by the U.S. FDA.
  • Recommended Dietary Allowance (%RDA) - The RDA sets an average daily dietary intake level that is sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all (97.5%) healthy individuals. It's more specific than the daily value, and varies by age and gender. The RDA is set by the US National Instutites of Health.
  • Reference Dietary Intake (%RDI) -The reference dietary intake is similar to the recommended daily allowance, but is specific to age and gender. The RDI for amino acids is set by the U.N. World Health Organization.
  • Adequate Intake (%AI) - This value is primarily used in reference to omega-3 and omega-6 fats. The Adequate Intake is set by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. Because there is less evidence to determine the ideal targets for consumption of these nutrients, the specific amount is considered to be less reliable. Using the term Adequate Intake, rather than one of the other terms, helps to emphasize that the ideal intake of that particular nutrient has not yet been scientifically determined.

See the Guide to Recommended Daily Intakes for more information.

Want to set your own targets? Sign up for an account and set custom targets in the daily meal planner.

Use the ranking tool links below to select foods and create your own food list to share or print.

View more nutrients with the nutrient ranking tool, or see ratios with the nutrient ratio tool.

Data Sources and References

  1. U.S. Agricultural Research Service Food Data Central
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