The 7 Foods Most Likely to Cause Weight Gain

by JJ Virgin on April 18, 2018

To be the best fat burner, you're aware of sugary, processed foods that can hijack success. But how many of these “healthy” foods are stalling your fat loss? 

For years, we’ve been taught that typical diet foods like whole grains, nonfat yogurt, and egg white omelets are the best options for fast fat loss. But the truth is that those so-called healthy foods may actually be making you gain weight, not lose it!

That’s because food intolerance is so often the hidden cause of extra pounds. A negative reaction to certain foods can trigger inflammation and a host of unpleasant symptoms like stubborn weight gain.

If you’re eating all the “right” foods, but still not making any progress, then food intolerance may be the culprit.

Your journey to complete wellness starts here, with my FREE Ultimate Health Roadmap. You’ve got everything you need here to lose weight, feel better, and be your best. Get your guide here.

How Food Intolerance Makes You Gain Weight

One of the most common causes of food intolerance is repeatedly eating foods your body can’t handle, creating a system-wide immune response. And when your immune system remains fired up on a regular basis, chronic inflammation is the result.

Long-term inflammation expands your waistline in more ways than one! From knocking your hormones out of whack and sparking insulin resistance to interfering with your digestive system and causing fluid retention, inflammation sabotages your weight and your health.

If your goal is to be lean and healthy, eliminating the foods your body doesn’t tolerate and getting rid of chronic inflammation are absolutely essential.

But how do you know which foods to avoid? After working with thousands of clients struggling with weight loss resistance, I’ve identified these seven foods most likely to stand in the way of lasting weight loss.

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There’s nothing good about gluten! It raises insulin levels, promotes fat storage, and may damage the tight junctions in your gut. As a result, things not intended to slip through your gut wall suddenly get through, creating an immune response called leaky gut syndrome.

The end result? You have a harder time absorbing nutrients, which can make you crave food and stall fat loss. As if that wasn’t enough, gluten-induced leaky gut creates inflammation and can lead to autoimmune issues, weight gain, and more. (1)


I know that a foamy latte or dinner smothered in cheese can be tempting, but it turns out that dairy is one of the most common sources of food sensitivities. Symptoms of dairy intolerance include acne, rosacea, and other skin issues, plus gas and bloating, and frequent sinus infections.

Even if you can tolerate dairy, it’s a huge culprit behind weight gain. Dairy can increase insulin production and increase your risk of developing insulin resistance. Cow's milk and other dairy products also contain hormones that make you grow. (And I don’t mean taller!)

Whey is dairy. Learn here why I say “no whey” to this popular protein. 


Marketing soy as a health food is one of the biggest scams of our modern diet! In fact, there are so many issues with soy, it’s hard to pick and choose which ones to highlight.

Among its problems, soy:

  • May impair thyroid function
  • Is loaded with pesticides
  • Damages gut health
  • Is overly processed
  • Can be an anti-nutrient
  • Can disrupt sex hormones

Clearly, soy is the last thing you want in your diet if you’re looking to maintain your weight and your health!


Some people have a genuine sensitivity to eggs and should avoid them completely. As I explain in The Virgin Diet, signs of egg sensitivity can occur up to 72 hours after you eat and may include headache, fatigue, joint pain, cramps, bloating, weight gain, and cravings.

But others have an extreme sensitivity to the corn or soy typically offered to factory-farmed chickens. In those cases, choosing pasture-raised, organic eggs can eliminate symptoms.

I actually had a client who only reacted to eggs from chickens who were fed corn and soy. Once she dropped the eggs from her diet, she also dropped unwanted pounds right along with them! 


If you wonder why corn causes you to gain weight, think about what factory farms use to fatten up cows and pigs quickly: corn!

While many people think of corn as a vegetable, it’s actually a grain. And a high-sugar impact one at that, triggering an immediate spike in your blood sugar levels.

Every time your blood sugar goes up, your body produces insulin to bring it back down. Repeat that process enough times, and your body develops insulin resistance, which can lead to weight gain, high cholesterol, and heart disease. (2)


Insulin resistance is also tied to further inflammation — starting the vicious cycle of weight gain all over again.

There's more. According to Peter Osborne, DC, corn has a form of gluten called zeins. Corn gluten has been shown to:

  • Induce gastrointestinal inflammation in patients with celiac disease, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease
  • Induce an inflammatory response in those with gluten sensitivity, even GMO-free corn that had no cross-contamination
  • Create inflammation as much as wheat does (3)


One of the most common food allergens, peanuts are actually a member of the legume family and not a nut at all. Even those without a true peanut allergy can still develop a sensitivity to peanuts after repeated exposure.

What’s more, peanuts are high in histamine, a chemical involved in the inflammatory response. When you frequently eat histamine-rich foods like peanuts, your body pumps out cortisol to prevent you from having an allergic reaction. And chronically elevated cortisol levels signal your body to hang on to fat, especially around your belly.

Learn more about why peanuts drive me nuts here.

Sugar and artificial sweeteners

In the Sugar Impact Diet, I declare sugar Public Enemy #1! Eating too much sugar undermines your health and weight loss efforts in a number of ways, including:

  • Sending your blood sugar on a roller coaster ride
  • Disrupting your insulin metabolism
  • Raising your stress hormones, causing your body to hold on to fat
  • Providing fuel for yeast, contributing to SIBO/SIFO
  • Creating more sugar cravings
  • Feeding the bad bacteria in your gut, causing your body to extract more calories from the food you eat and store them as fat

And don’t think that artificial sweeteners are any better! In addition to harming your health, artificial sweeteners can also trigger cravings and cause weight gain. They actually work against your weight loss goals, not for them! I take a deep dive into how artificial sweeteners can make you gain weight in this article.

Your journey to complete wellness starts here, with my FREE Ultimate Health Roadmap. You’ve got everything you need here to lose weight, feel better, and be your best. Get your guide here.






The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. Statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.