3 Hidden Culprits Of Weight Gain


Culprits of Weight Gain

I’ve heard it from plenty of clients, “Vic, I’ve stopped eating bread, avoid pasta like the plague, and haven’t had even a nibble of cheese is over a month and I’m still not losing weight.”  

When I hear this, I know there is something lurking in their dietary habits that is sabotaging their weight loss efforts – without them even realizing it.  There are items they are not even recording in their food journals because they feel it somehow doesn’t count.  Well the proof is in the waistline.  If you are taking care of the “big items” like bread, pasta, and dairy – but still aren’t losing weight – be on the lookout for these three hidden culprits of weight gain.

Hidden Culprits Of Weight Gain…

1.  Salad dressings

Why clients think they don’t have to list the dressing they put on salads in their food journal amazes me.  All of that creamy crap is ruining the healthy deliciousness of that spinach salad with asparagus, cucumber, grape tomatoes, and red peppers (my personal favorite salad combo).  So steer clear of Ranch, Thousand Island, Caesar, and any other salad dressing where dairy is obviously a main ingredient.  To be sure you stay on the proper path to weight loss, I actually recommend that you avoid ALL prepackaged salad dressings due to the unpronounceable ingredients that are nearly inescapable with store bought dressings.  The only salad dressing that gets my seal of approval?  Home made balsamic vinaigrette: 3 parts extra virgin olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar, spices of your choice, shake the shit out of it and enjoy.  Delicious!

2.  Alcohol

So you stopped drinking beer, you’ve stepped way back on the wine, and you’re now cutting your Jack Daniel’s with water.  All of those adjustments are fine and good, but if you are not reaching your weight loss goals the booze has to go.  Having just two drinks has been shown to drop the body’s fat burning ability by as much as 73%.  When alcohol is consumed the body converts it to acetate.  The acetate then becomes your body’s preferred source of fuel – which means your body is NOT using body fat for fuel.  See De Novo Lipogenesis, Lipid Kinetics, and Whole-Body Lipid Balances in Humans After Acute Alcohol Consumption, Siler, Neese, & Hellerstein, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1999; 70: 928-936.

But the main reason that I recommend you steer clear of alcohol is because it lowers inhibitions.  You don’t have to be staggering drunk and end up in the drive thru to see the effects alcohol can have on your will power.  That one glass of wine can easily turn into a second glass with a cheese tray.  It’s too much potential for a slippery slope in the wrong direction so my recommendation is to abstain from alcohol during fat loss efforts.

3.  Diet Soda

I know, I know. . . there are no calories in diet soda so how can it hinder weight loss?  It’s because that artificial sweetener that makes you fall in love with Diet Coke confuses the hell out of your body.  The body’s natural regulatory systems that control hunger and weight get all out of whack when it has to process the sugary taste without the expected caloric intake.  See Artificially Sweetened Beverages: Cause for Concern, Ludwig, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2009; 302: 2477-2478. Science and facts aside – my experience with clients has always been that weight loss efforts are hindered when diet soda remains a part of the diet.

As they say, the devil is in the details.  Often seemingly harmless diversions from the plan can add up to crush your fat loss efforts.

What are some things you’ve eliminated from your diet that you weren’t expecting to have an impact, that have helped you reach your weigh loss goals?  Let me know in the comments below.

3 Hidden Culprits Of Weight Gain
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3 Hidden Culprits Of Weight Gain
I've heard it from plenty of clients, "Vic, I've stopped eating bread, avoid pasta like the plague, and haven't had even a nibble of cheese is over a month and I'm still not losing weight."  
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Gym Junkies
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  1. i like my wine, but am having trouble dropping the last 10 pounds to get ripped, i’m sure it’s possible to have a couple of glasses of wine & lose fat, it’s only 200-300 cals & a few lost hours of fat burning, isn;t that the same as eating some carbs? is there anyone here who drinks daily & keeps healthy & ripped? or am i chasing an impossible dream?

    • Try to go with no alcohol for 30 days and track your results. If you drop that 10 pounds, you can make an assumption that the alcohol was the missing link. Good luck.

  2. The salad dressing kills me. Each time I pick up a bottle and read the ingredients, it either has soy oil, high fructose corn syrup, or BOTH. I guess I’m just going to have to make my own.


    • Once you make you’re own you’ll never go back! It’s easy to do and in my opinion tastes much better. I haven’t done the math, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was cheaper too.

  3. Hi Vic,

    I took out starchy carbs from my diet, and did a rough fat loss routine. I was always tired and decided to bring it back into my diet, and then I started getting MUCH better results. Looks like one still needs carbs when trying to loose fat, but just in moderation… ?

    Thanks for a great post, I’ve alsways wondered how effective diet sodas are.


    • Quantity will certainly play a role. This is why your food journal and weekly weigh in are crucial. As a general rule, I advise eliminating all grains from the diet for fat loss. And I’ve found that this works for my self and most people. But certainly not everyone. The only way to know for sure is to try it yourself and track the results. Thanks!

  4. I have a tough time with the diet pop. I am going to have to read the article you linked to but on the surface it just doesn’t click with me. If you consume less calories then your body burns how can your body be confused enough to turn 0 calories into fat. Like I said I will have to give it a read. I would agree no to drinking pop for many other reasons.

    The salad point is big. People often get salads thinking they are a good choice but often they contain more calories than the option they passed up for a salad or they have both and eat way more than they had thought.


  5. Sorry to be so fussy. I read the paper you referenced and it issued the concern you addressed. But just to be clear, this was only an opinion piece that artificial sweeteners _could_ have this effect, there was no study done to prove or disprove this.

    I found the following to be interesting: “diet drinks may best be considered an aid in transitioning from high-calorie beverages to traditional, minimally sweetened beverages like water”.

    Worse than water or unsweetened tea? Probably!
    Obesity related? We just don’t know.

    • You say fussy, I say attention to detail. The bottom line is you have to try it yourself and track the results. It’s the only real way to know what effect diet soda will have on your fitness.

  6. Thanks. Up to this posting, I was not convinced two glasses of wine could be that bad (or bad for weight loss).

    To me, this passage was particularly convincing: “[Just 2 drinks](…)drop the body’s fat burning ability by as much as 73%. When alcohol is consumed the body converts it to acetate. The acetate then becomes your body’s preferred source of fuel – which means your body is NOT using body fat for fuel”.


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