Conventional wisdom  has always been to cut out fat, eat less and exercise more to effectively lose weight but studies have now shown that there’s much more to losing weight. Did you know that there some hidden foods that can make you gain weight? Let’s take a look..

Here are 2 hidden weight gaining foods to watch out

1) Foods containing wheat (and gluten)

Foods containing wheat (and gluten) are one of the hidden weight gaining foods to watch out for. Do you often experience discomfort such as bloating, wind, pain, congestion, sneezing, sleep issues, indigestion or any other symptom after eating any food containing wheat (and/or gluten)?

Unfortunately, the wheat we consume in this day and age is not what it used to be, modern farming and processing has altered the wheat a great deal that a lot of people have become intolerant to wheat and/or gluten.

So what is gluten?

Gluten is a sticky protein found in many grains including wheat, barley and rye. It is also found in pastas, baked foods, many processed food and food additives.

If you have an intolerance to foods containing wheat and/or gluten, every time you eat these foods your immune system is activated , it triggers a reaction,  it produces antibodies to attack and your digestive tract becomes inflamed.

If you keep consuming these problem foods every day, your immune system never really calms down. You are likely to suffer from low-grade inflammation which can become chronic and inflammation is a major cause of weight gain and weight-loss resistance.

A 2003 study  published  in the Diabetes Journal found an association between obesity and low-grade inflammation(1)

Inflammation will also make you resistant to leptin, the hormone that regulates the feelings of being hungry and being full. When you become leptin resistance, leptin cannot get into your cells. Your brain is not able to hear the messages leptin sends it to stop eating and burn fat.  So you remain hungry, you eat more and gain more weight.

If you are not sure if you have an intolerance to foods containing wheat (and/or gluten),  you can check this out by eliminating foods containing wheat (and/or gluten) from your diet completely for 2 weeks and see if you feel any better without any symptoms. After 2 weeks, reintroduce the foods back into your diet, if the symptoms come back then there is a possibility you may have an intolerance to foods containing wheat (and/or gluten).

weight gaining foods_2

2) Foods containing Monosodium Glutamate (MSG )

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is another one of the hidden weight gaining foods to watch out for. It is a food additive, a flavour enhancer mainly used in numerous processed food products, fast foods and takeaways

A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that MSG consumption was positively associated with weight gain(2). The researchers noted that MSG consumption may cause leptin resistance so leptin cannot get into your cells. Your brain does not receive the message to stop being hungry and to stop eating so you stay hungry, eat more and gain more weight.

It is important for you to read your food labels to check for MSG. The following ingredients contain MSG – Yeast Extract, Hydrolysed Protein, Glutamate, Yeast Nutrient, Glutamic Acid, Autolysed Yeast, Calcium Caseinate, Monosodium Glutamate, Textured Protein, Sodium Caseinate, Flavourings, Barley Malt etc.

The easiest way to avoid MSG is to avoid processed foods, fast foods and takeaways’ instead cook your food from scratch using fresh ingredients and natural salt, herbs and spices to add flavour to your meals. If you still have difficulty losing weight then you need to watch out for these hidden weight gaining foods and avoid them. It can be difficult to identify all the foods you need to avoid so it is important to check labels for ingredients.


1.Engstrom G, Hedbald B, Stavenow L, Lind P, Janzon L, Lindgarde (2003) Inflammation-Sensitive Plasma Proteins Are Associated With Future Weight Gain, Diabetes,  52: 2097-2101

2.He K, Du S, Xun P, Sharma S, Wang H, Zhai F, Popkin B (2011) Consumption of monosodium glutamate in relation to overweight  in Chinese adults: China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS). American Journal of Clinical Nutrition93: 1328-1336

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