7 Foods to Avoid When Dieting for Muscle Gain

7 Foods To Avoid For Maximum Muscle Gain
Written by Isaac

So it’s likely you know what you’re supposed to be eating by now: lean proteins, clean carbs, and a splash of healthy fats.

But what about foods to avoid?

Hands down, the most common mistake people make when they’re trying to build a better physique is zooming in on the gym and forgetting about the kitchen.

foods to cut out of your diet

Unfortunately or not, a lot of muscle gain comes down to life when you’re not working out what you eat.

7. Fried Foods

This one’s probably a given, but we’ve got to include it on the list. Fried foods are not your friend.

Typically they’re drenched in saturated fats, and if you look at the amount of fat in just one tablespoon of oil, you’ll know why you should avoid them. Gain muscle, not fat.

crispy fried chicken

6. White Bread

white bread

One of the most horrifying American foods is that loaf of white bread, a staple in many kitchens. Here’s why.

White bread has a huge effect on your blood glucose levels - it’s number one when it comes to the glycemic index.

In basic English, white bread spikes blood glucose levels which spikes insulin levels which causes low energy and an increase in appetite.

White bread doesn’t satiate you, and it lacks the essential nutrients and fiber you get from whole grain options.

5. Dried Fruit

It’s calorie-packed, less nutrient-dense, and often preserved with added sugars.

Dried fruit is a small step away from candy. The fix is quick: go for fresh fruit.

dried fruits

4. Ice Cream

Different flavored ice cream in cups

We’re sorry to say it, but ice cream just isn’t conducive to muscle gain. It’s high in calories, sugar, and fat - all ingredients you don’t want or need.

If you want to gain fat, go for it, but if you’re looking for muscle, opt for Greek yogurt instead.

3. Processed Factory-Farm Meat

While protein is arguably at its best in meat-form, not all meats are created the same. Go for lean beef, chicken, and fish instead of wildly processed lunch meats.

If you can get ocean-fresh fish (not farm-raised) and grass-fed beef, you’re going to get much more of the nutrients you need to build muscle as well.

If you can't get your hands on quality meat, meat alternatives and substitutes may fit the bill.

Processed meat prepared and served

2. Processed Foods

Different types of processed foods in serving bowls

Processed foods in general are dangerous - they’re packed with added sugars, unsafe preservatives, and completely empty calories void of nutrients.

The only thing they’re rich in is calories, and you want clean calories if you’re looking to build muscle.

This goes for drinks as well: many ‘juices’ are packed with added sugars and preservatives.

1. Beer

Alcohol stunts muscle growth. While we’re not going to stop you from having a beer every now and then, if you’re really serious about making gains, cutting alcohol (and the empty calories that go along with it) will make your life a lot easier.

beer bottles

Final Thoughts

If this list of foods that are bad for you leaves you feeling devastated, don’t lose all hope. Try to make incremental changes to your diet that can become long-term.

Turn these foods into something you have on a special occasion, for little cheat meals, and they’ll taste that much sweeter.

Do you have any tips on healthy alternatives to these seven? How do you make eating clean easier than fast food?

About the author


I’m a personal fitness trainer and nutritionist living in sunny Indianapolis, IN. I’ve spent the last 8 years staying at the forefront of the health and fitness industry. In that time, I’ve helped hundreds of people shed the excess weight and get into shape, maintaining their healthy new lifestyle through proper training and eating habits.