9 Worst Muscle-Destroying Foods

Cold cuts are convenient, but you should quit them. Cold cuts from fatty hog chops are high in saturated fat and may damage muscle.

Fatty Cold Cuts

Too much saturated fat, especially from fatty cold cuts, was connected to lower-extremity functional impairment in a 2020 Clinical Nutrition study. Try fresh chicken or turkey breast instead of ham and cheese on a sandwich and serve it with a salad or roasted vegetables.

Fatty Cold Cuts

One slice of frozen pizza has nine grams of saturated fat, over half of your daily value—and we guarantee you're eating more than one.

 Frozen Pizza

Too much saturated fat can cause inflammation, which slows gym recovery. In addition, many frozen pizzas have additional sugar (mainly from the sauce), which you should restrict to grow lean muscle.

 Frozen Pizza

Your gym plateau may be due to your coffee shop habit. While coffee's caffeine can help you work out, frappes and caramel lattes are high in sugar. 

Sweetened Coffee

As we know, too much added sugar can cause your blood sugar to spike and drop, causing an energy crash sooner than planned. Instead of a latte, try unsweetened coffee with milk.

Sweetened Coffee

Oh, pies, cakes, biscuits. Hill states "Excessive intake of sugary baked goods like cakes and cookies without a balanced and nutritious diet can negatively impact muscle growth and maintenance."

Sugary Baked Goods

Sour or sweet candy is a major source of added sugars. Hill believes too much sugar might cause weight gain and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance hinders carbohydrate use, which affects workout energy and muscle nutrition supply.


French fries go well with burgers, but they ruin buns. Ultra-processed fries high in saturated fat might cause weight gain and negative inflammation that can hinder muscle repair and growth, Hill adds. Treat yourself to crispy potatoes occasionally.

French Fries

Like fries, fried chicken is heavy in saturated fat and calories. Fried meal calories can contribute to fat gain rather than lean muscle gain. Fried chicken lacks vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients needed for muscular building, unlike other protein sources.

Fried Chicken

Soda is the main source of added sugars in our diets. It's bad news because: "Excessive consumption of sugars and added sugars, especially in sugary beverages, can lead to weight gain and insulin resistance," Hill says. Insulin resistance impairs the body's ability to use carbohydrates, which can affect workout energy and muscle nutrient delivery.


You don't "deserve" a drink because you worked out today. Quitting or reducing alcohol will improve your muscles. Hill states, "Alcohol can disrupt protein synthesis, impair nutrient absorption, and decrease testosterone, which is important for muscle development.