10 Of The Worst Foods To Eat If You're Looking To Get Shredded

Luke Atchley
Written By: Luke Atchley
April 10th, 2015
Updated: May 27th, 2021
Categories: Articles Nutrition
144.9K Reads
10 Of The Worst Foods To Eat If You're Looking To Get Shredded
You might be sabotaging your progress without even knowing it. Avoid these foods and stay on the right track to obtaining the ultimate beach body.

Spring time is here and the summer is fast approaching.  Soon it will be time for the masses to ditch their shirts and soak in the sun on the beach or by the pool.  Now is the time for you to start cleaning up your meals and stripping off the layer of fat that is keeping you from looking your best! 

The secret to getting shredded is to reduce total calories and cut added sugars while keeping the total volume of food that you consume relatively the same. You accomplish this by eating whole fruits and vegetables and lean, quality proteins. Aside from the obvious junk foods that sabotage your progress here are 10 foods that can keep you from getting more shredded than a tree limb through a wood chipper!

1. Sauces and dressings

There is no better way to turn a healthy salad or chicken breast into a sugar and fat laden meal than to smother it with a dressing or sauce that is high in saturated fat and simple sugar.  If you are trying to get shredded you need to be aware of exactly what is in the dressings or sauces that are being used to flavor your food. 

If you need to add flavor to your food opt for using apple-cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar and low calorie options that can still supply flavor without the added calories. 

2. Juices

Juice in itself is not necessarily a bad thing.  However, when you are trying to lean out they can provide a lot of calories from carbohydrates without the fiber that the original fruits and vegetables contain and as a result you will feel hungry much sooner than if had eaten the same amount of calories from the fruit or vegetables themselves. 

Sugary Drinks Bad For Muscle

3. Deli and mixed meats

The meats that are found in the deli are often low quality leftovers that have been processed and filled with other ingredients like sodium and nitrates and other bonding agents to give them structure, color, and more flavor.  Sodium is the enemy for anyone who is trying to get shredded because it makes you retain water and nitrates have been linked to various forms of cancer. 

If you are trying to get shredded, stick to high quality whole sources of meat such as whole chicken breast, turkey, lean beef cuts and lean pork. If you are having trouble meeting your protein requirements for the day throw in a couple of whey protein shakes to boost your total protein intake.  

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4. Glazed nuts and cocktail nuts

Raw nuts are a great source of healthy fats that should be included in your meals but do not mistakenly put glazed, roasted, salty nuts on the same level as raw nuts.  If you are trying to get shredded you need to make every calorie count and consuming candied and coated nuts is a great way to add calories and salt that are unnecessary and rob you of calories that could be used to keep you more full later on down the road.

Salted nuts can cause you to retain water too which will leave your muscles looking soft and bloated instead of hard and full.  Stick to raw nuts as a snack to hold you over in between meals. 

5. Bagels

If you are eating with the intention of getting shredded bagels are a bad choice.  A plain bagel without any sort of spread or topping is already high in calories most of them coming from carbs.  A plain bagel can contain up to 300 calories and 61 grams of carbohydrates before you add any sort of spread! It is best to avoid bagels all together if you are trying to get shredded opt for grains sources like quinoa, brown rice, and oats instead. 

Carbohydrate Loaded Bagels

6. Sports drinks

While sports drinks my seem to be a healthier alternative to drinking soda they often times have just as much sugar in them and are a great way to add calories to a meal without adding any sort of food volume that will help keep you full for any length of time. Stick with water and a lot of it when you are on a mission to get shredded. 

7. Canned fruit

It’s fruit...it has to be good for getting shredded? Think twice! Canned fruit is often packaged in a sugary syrup which adds greatly to the calorie content and wreaks havoc on your blood sugar leaving you feeling tired and hungry even though you just ate a couple minutes prior.  If you are going to eat fruit pick it out of the produce isle and stay away from the canned type. 

8. Dried or dehydrated fruit  

Whenever you are trying to get shredded you need to stick with food that is as close to the state that it was in when it was picked or butchered.  Dehydrated fruit or dried fruit is no exception to this rule. When the fruit is dried it loses much of its volume (from water content) which is responsible for keeping you full and has more calories than when it was a whole piece of fruit. 

For example, ½ cup of raisins has 240 calories and 64 carbs while a ½ cup of whole red grapes has 55 calories and 14 grams of carbs.  Stick to whole fruits and vegetables while trying to cut calories, it will help you stay full and fueled properly on your quest to get shredded.

High Calories Dried Fruit

9. Meal Replacement Shakes

When you are trying to get shredded you need to reduce calories to burn fat that doesn’t mean that you need to be hungry though. Drinking your calories from a meal replacement shake is a great way to stay hungry even though many meal replacements contain in excess of 250 calories and often times more.  To avoid feeling hungry all the time stick to whole foods in a calorie deficit because whole foods provide much needed food volume to keep you full from meal to meal. 

10. Flavored Instant Oatmeal

Eating oatmeal is a great way to provide your body a steady source of carbs and is a way to stay full for hours after eating. But, when you look at flavored instant oats you are looking at oatmeal that has been maximally processed and infused with sugar.  In order for instant oatmeal to be “instant” it has to be processed in order to readily absorb the water.  The processing that instant oats undergo lower the amount of fiber and speed up the rate of digestion leaving you hungry sooner.

In addition, the sugar that is added to the oats is empty calories that sends your blood sugar soaring signaling your body to store fat. Oats are an awesome source of carbs and protein but you need to be careful what type you're eating.  If you want to use oats as a carb source while you are trying to get shredded try steel-cut oats or rolled oats which are minimally processed and take longer to cook.  If cook time is an issue, make a big batch and freeze half until you are ready eat it. 

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Posted on: Mon, 08/17/2015 - 09:39

I'm happy to say my diet is largely better than it ever has been, but occasionally I'll find myself grabbing a packet of oatmeal. I get it at my local Wegmans and it's their organic stuff with something like 10g sugar or less.

Still bad? Thoughts?


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Posted on: Tue, 08/18/2015 - 12:27

Adam, that's great that your nutrition practices have cleaned up and are better than ever before! A packet of oatmeal is great looking at the ingredients of your oatmeal of choice is a great choice. I usually look for ingredients that I can pronounce and picture in my head when choosing whether or not to eat a particular product. For example I cannot picture in my head what soy lecthin looks like and I cannot pronounce various chemical perservatives in everyday conversation. If consuming oatmeal fits into your nutrition plan then enjoy them! You still need carbs to fuel your workouts just remember your carb intake is directly related to how active you are and the intensity of your workout and should be adjusted accordingly.

Posted on: Tue, 07/07/2015 - 02:38

yes flavoured instant oatmeal ARE the WORST!! OMG!!!
Get raw oats... cut up a banana and some honey if you need flavour...

Posted on: Sat, 06/27/2015 - 21:15

Very nice list, always great to read good words. However, i just want to point something out on #10. I dont think anyone would argue that the sugar-filled packets of apple-cinnamon instant oatmeal is good for you, but "plain" instant oats dont lose any substantial nutrition. They are the same as whole oats they are just finely milled. which is how they absorb water so much faster. I'm not a huge fan of them because they dont mix the same fruit and yogurt. But when im on the road for work, a box of plain instant-oats and a few cups of Light Greek yogurt is a quick, cheap and tasty way to eat breakfast for a few days.

If I'm wrong i'd like to know. Always looking to learn.

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Posted on: Thu, 07/09/2015 - 16:03

Emmett you are not wrong at all in fact that is an outstanding way to get a solid meal while you are on the road. I would also try mixing things up with some oat bran especially when we are talking about them absorbing water the bran will absorb much faster because of the smaller flecks instead of larger oat pieces. It's the added sugars that you got to watch out for. Plain instant oats are fine. Thanks for the input.

alan ritchie
Posted on: Tue, 04/28/2015 - 17:04

Dont see the point in all these protein shakes,supplements and meal replacements whole food is definately the way to go in my opinio n no doubt il get shot down in flames but i just feel these companies are making millions out of gullible people who will go to any length to make gains faster, nothing is more satisfying than making gains knowing its been with natural food sources!!

Posted on: Sun, 04/12/2015 - 21:20

Quick question:
In regards to meal replacement.
I use vi-shape once(by visalus) to twice (with unsweetened almond milk or/and water).
Cal 90
Fat 16
Sodium 75
Carb 7
Protein 12

When regular food is not available, in between meals .
Is this something that worth taking?
Is there a better one to looking into?

This with regular diet and exercise Have helped with weight loss.

Posted on: Tue, 04/14/2015 - 13:31

Supplements are great on the go when regular food is not available however, they will never beat real food. The trick is to make sure that you plan ahead so that you are never without food. As far as trans-portability is concerned I am a fan of an apple and almonds, you get good carbs with fiber and fat and protein to keep you full until your next meal. In my personal experience shakes just don't fill me up and keep me as full as real food. Hope this helps.

Posted on: Sun, 04/12/2015 - 13:02

Great tip but how about all these articles telling you to eat 4000 calories daily when you are weightlifting big time to increase bulk. It becomes for difficult yet to cut out bagels,nuts, raisins and oatmeal and juices. It becomes a real time consuming project;it takes over your life.No salad dressing; balsamic vinegar. Ok boy, the workouts are tough enough and than all these new rules.

Posted on: Tue, 04/14/2015 - 13:39

You are absolutely correct, when you are trying to build muscle and bulk up you can add some of these food items into your diet to make it easier to fit in the required calories to achieve your 4000 calorie goal for the day. What needs to be taken into account is that if you are trying to shed fat you probably won't be eating in the 4000 calorie a day range. When you eat the foods above the calorie count will tend to climb faster than if you were to avoid these foods and eat the alternatives given.

Posted on: Sun, 04/12/2015 - 12:16

Great info in this article although I have to say with the meal replacement shakes, a good majority of us work busy jobs therefore for me one of my meals in the day has to be a shake due to workload, this in no way can be avoided unless I take a 10-15 minute bathroom break.

Posted on: Tue, 04/14/2015 - 13:43

I totally agree Dee, the biggest reason that they are on there is because they don't really leave you as full as real food. When at work with no other options a meal replacement shake is by far better than not eating at all.

Posted on: Sun, 01/03/2016 - 22:14

I agree completely, I work in a kitchen where you have almost no down time till your shift is over which is usually 7 to 8hrs. If I didn't have my shake I'd be doomed on hitting my caloric goals and needs for my powerlifting training and getting my weight up without adding too much fat. Mine also leaves me pretty full but I split it up in two servings, I drink half by the time I'm an hour in and about 3-4hrs later I finish it off. Mine consists of 16oz vitamin d milk, 1 scoop of optimum nutrition's serious mass, 4tbsp natural peanut butter and a half cup of low fat yogurt. All together this adds up to just under 1500 calories, 80 grams of protein, and without my sheet I write it all on for reference about 170-200 grams of carbs. Split in half this is a great way for me to get my two meals I would miss at work and like I said it leaves me pretty full for a few hours, you could add oats, granola, bananas, etc to make it more filling as well but with no blender I haven't had the chance to experiment with then yet. Great article overall though.