TOP 7 worst Nigerian foods to avoid if you are trying to lose weight

BY Sola (Fitness Expert) | January, 2021

Weight gain is primarily caused by eating more than we lose. If you consume a high amount of energy, particularly fat and sugar, and you don’t burn it away, there will be an excess of energy in your body. It’s this excess of energy in the body that leads to weight gain. If not checked, accumulation of weight gain can lead to obesity and obesity can be life threatening.

The amount of energy in food and drink is measured in what is called calories. If we consume foods that are high in calories without burning the same, we are going to gain weight overtime.

For someone that is health-conscious or trying to lose weight, it’s a must for you to understand how many calories you consume and how many of it you should burn. If you are trying to lose weight for instance, you must burn more calories than you consume or burn the exact amount you consume if you are trying to keep your weight.

As a guide, a man needs an average of 2,500 kcal (calories) a day to maintain a healthy body weight. For a woman, it’s around 2,000 kcal. What this means is, as a woman, if you consume more than 2,000 kcal, you need to take some supplements and/or exercise to burn the excess calories, and if you fail to do this, you will add weight.


Checking Calories in Food

In Nigeria, most of the foods we consume are high in calories and if you don’t pay attention to what you eat, you will be consuming more than the needed calories in a day. Aside from the staple foods, always check the nutrition label of shop-bought food and drink items. The calories content of the item is usually written under ‘energy’ heading on the package. This calorie content is usually written in kilocalories (kcals) or kilojoules (kj). 1000 calories will be written as 1000 kcals. Many food labels usually state how many calories are contained in 100 grams or 100 millimeters of the food or drink. With this information, you can compare different products and choose the one that is best for you.

7 worst Nigerian foods to avoid if you are trying to lose weight

As mentioned above, as someone trying to lose weight, you must be conscious of the food you take. Any food that is high in calories should be avoided as much as possible or be ready to burn it away. Based on the amount of calorie in them, the following foods have been found to be the worst to consume by anyone trying to watch his or her weight.

NUMBER ONE: Pounded Yam

Pounded yam contains a very high amount of calorie. 100 gram of pounded yam contains 118 kcals, while a cup of instant pounded yam (poundo yam) contains 400 calories. Pounded yam made through normal pounding contains 350kcals.

 What this means is if you consume two cups of pounded yam at a single meal, you have taken almost half of all energy needed for the day.

 You are advised to also try and avoid other yam meals because they are generally high in calories. A plate of yam pottage has about 750kcals, fried yam (300g) about 478 kcals.

Yam meals low in calories, relatively, include boiled yam (100g) – 116kcals, potatoes (136g) – 158kcals.

NUMBER TWO: Semovita

Semovita is a very common morsel food in Nigeria. Sadly, this food should be avoided by someone trying to lose weight because of the amount of calorie in it. A cup of semovita contains 600kcals. An average person consumes two cups of semovita at a go -that’s 1,200kcals. If semovita is part of your food in a given day, the calories in other food you consume for that day should not be more than 800kcals


Rice is very high in calories. For someone that consumes a lot of rice, you will do a lot of work to get rid of the calories got from rice. A cup of rice contains 675kcals while jollof rice contains more, about 800kcals. Try as much as possible to reduce its consumption or switch to an alternative like brown rice.


Millet is one of the worst foods to consume when you are watching your weight. A cup of millet contains 756kcals. Any meal, like Kunu drink or pap, should be avoided or taken very little because of the high calories.


 A cup of soybean contains 446kcals. Food and drink like soya milk or cheese made from soybean should be avoided if you are serious about losing weight.

NUMBER SIX: Wheat Flour

All purpose wheat flour is generally used in making snacks. Buns, meat pie, chin chin, bread etc are made from wheat flour. A cup of wheat flour contains 455kcals. That’s something you need to avoid in order to get back in shape.


White corn meal is popularly known as tuwo masara. A cup of tuwo masara contains 450kcals. That’s quite high as well for someone watching his or her weight.

The calories mentioned in the above foods are not absolute, they should be taken as a guide. Besides, other things you take alongside the food can increase the calories in take. For instance, taking pounded yam with a slice of goat meat and vegetable oil will increase the calories by 50kcals.

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