Are you sabotaging your own weight loss efforts?
And are you falling for some of these long-believed diet myths?
If you are, chances are good you’ve been struggling to lose the same set of pounds over and over again.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 33 foods that cause belly fat...
...if you steer clear of these, you’ll be on your way to shedding those stubborn pounds forever.
33 Foods That Cause Belly Fat
1. Sugar Alcohols
You might have thought that choosing a “diet” food or something marked “no sugar added” was a healthy way to lose weight. Sadly – the reverse is often true, and these partially digested sugar alcohols can actually lead you to gain more weight, particularly around the belly area.
2. Processed Sandwich Meats
While scientists haven’t figured out why this is, many people who stop eating processed meats and hot dogs notice a drop in their weight. That’s not to say that these are foods that cause belly fat, but it might be worth checking.
If you notice it’s easier to lose weight when you ditch the cold cuts, try making your own sandwiches from meats you’ve roasted yourself.
Look Great Naked
3. Sodas and Carbonated Drinks
Whether you drink diet or regular sodas, both are foods that cause belly fat, by themselves and because of the bad habits that likely go along with them.
Regular sodas come with a huge calorie load – and no nutrition to go along with them. They’re empty calories that dramatically spike your blood sugar, which over time leads to weight gain around your midsection.
But diet drinks aren’t any better!
The sugar alcohols in diet drinks appear, in some studies, to interfere with your ability to detect when you’re full. As a result, most diet soda drinkers tend to consume more calories.
4. Salty Foods
It’s not that salt makes you fat. But what it does is cause you to retain fluids, which makes it look like it’s causing belly fat.
If you eat out a lot, be especially wise when you order – restaurant food is known for having high sodium levels.
5. Fast Foods
Fast food isn’t exactly known for its high quality ingredients and nutritionally sound choices.
But when you add in the oil used to fry it, then you’re adding in substantial amounts of trans fats – and they’re known for causing your belly fat to stick around longer than you’d like.
6. White Rice
When rice is processed from brown to white, much of the nutritional content and fiber is removed. What’s left is a high-glycemic grain that can lead to serious weight gain, especially around the belly area.
Not all calories are created equal, and alcohol is proof of this.
When you drink alcohol, for starters, you’re getting a lot of empty calories depending on what’s in your drink.
But then you add in the fact that alcohol slows your body’s ability to burn fats and sugars, and, well, all of that has to go somewhere.
And it goes straight to your belly to be stored.
Incinerate Belly Fat
If you love to drink smoothies, you want to know they’re a food that causes belly fat to stick around!
Don’t get me wrong – fruit is good for you, at least in moderation.
But most smoothies have a ton of added sugar, and that can seriously derail your efforts to burn the belly fat.
If you must have a smoothie, at least make your own so you can control the ingredients.
Made from refined, bleached flour, pasta is just another food that leads to excess belly fat sticking around.
The problem is that pasta often spikes your blood sugar, and when that happens, the result is that you often end up with fat that goes straight to your midsection.
Milk can be helpful for weight loss or it can be one of the worst foods that cause belly fat, depending on what kind you drink and how it affects you.
If you have a low-level dairy allergy like many people do, milk increases inflammation in the body. This generalized inflammation can lead to weight gain – and it’s typically going to show up in the belly first.
How do you know if milk is causing your weight gain? If you’ve noticed that you have more sinus congestion after drinking milk, chances are good it’s a culprit in at least some of your weight gain, also.
Ever think that your breakfast muffin is a better, healthier choice than a donut or other pastry?
It’s time to stop trying to fool yourself.
It likely has around 500 calories and at least half of your daily recommended sugar intake.
Try an omelet with a side of berries for a breakfast with more staying power, without causing the belly fat, too.
Remember the problems mentioned with milk earlier?
When it comes to cheese – it’s basically like milk, but concentrated! Add to that the high fat and the fact that no one ever seems to stop with just one bite, and you’ve got one of the highest calorie foods that cause belly fat
13. Trans Fats
Trans fats are part of the processing involved in making foods shelf stable. But they can do serious damage – not only to your belly fat, but also to your heart itself.
The biggest sources of trans fats include fried foods, commercially baked goods, and microwave popcorn.
14. Prepackaged Salads
Those bags of salad mix might be easy to grab, but if you just throw on all of the toppings and dressings, you’re likely getting trans fats in the dressing, processed grains in the croutons, and saturated fat in the cheese topping.
Not exactly what you should think of when you’re thinking of healthy eating, right?
Keep your salads clean – make them yourself from lettuces, veggies, and some vinegar and extra virgin olive oil – to get the maximum nutritional benefit.
The nutritional profile alone is enough to pack on the pounds, thanks to the trans fats present. But then you throw in the fact that it’s far too easy to just sit there and consume a whole dang bag, and you can see why chips are one of the worst foods that cause belly fat.
16. Processed Sugars
These are foods that cause belly fat to be extremely stubborn.
You see, when we developed the ability to process and refine sugars for things like baked goods, our bodies didn’t evolve to be able to digest these same sugars.
As a result – when you eat processed sugars, your body doesn’t really know what to do with all of that extra energy.
But what your body does know is that you haven’t gotten the nutrition you need to be healthy.
So you crave – and eat – more to make up for it.
And the belly fat just sticks around.
Now, coffee by itself won’t cause belly fat. In fact – by speeding your metabolism, it can actually help you lose belly fat.
But the problem is this.
When’s the last time you drank your coffee black?
If you’re loading up your coffee with sugar or artificial sweeteners, and if you’re using cream or non dairy creamer, you’re adding a ton of calories. And over the course of the year, you’ll see the evidence around your middle.
Okay, it’s not the wine that’s the issue, per se.
It’s the ridiculous sized glasses that people try to pass off as a single glass!
A moderate amount of wine does in fact help some people lose weight. But when it comes to moderate, the definition is this – 5 ounces.
More than that on a regular basis, and wine can be grouped in with the foods that cause belly fat rather than fight it.
I know – you’ve heard that nuts are good for your health, and to an extent, they are.
But when you sit there and eat them by the handful, their concentrated fats just end up piling on the weight – especially around your mid section.
I don’t know who got everyone to believe that granola is healthy – it’s one of the greatest marketing jobs in the last 25 years, for sure.
Because the truth is this – with all of the added sugar and fat, granola isn’t much better for you than those chips we talked about earlier. And you’ll just keep packing on the weight – mostly in your belly.
Crazy, isn’t it?
Here’s another example of how too much of a good thing can cause some serious gains in the belly fat department.
Dark chocolate is bursting with antioxidants. But it doesn’t mean you can chomp down on bags of peanut butter cups!
When you just can’t take the chocolate cravings, nibble a square of the highest quality chocolate you can get your hands on.
22. Dried Fruit
It’s hard to believe that dried fruit is more likely to cause belly fat than regular fruit. But when you remember that it’s essentially more concentrated, since the water has been removed, that means that all of the sugar and calories are also more concentrated. Eat too much dried fruit and you’ll pack on the pounds for sure.
23. Packaged Organic Foods
Have you noticed that you can get just about anything in an “organic” variety these days?
Somehow, we’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that just because you can find organic chocolate sandwich cookies at the health food store, they must be good for you, right?
Except they’ll cause belly fat just like their conventionally manufactured versions.
24. Chicken Salad
If it says chicken and it says salad, it must be healthy, right?
When you drown your chicken in mayo, sugar, and a whole host of other ingredients and then convince yourself you can eat more because it’s “chicken salad,” you’ll start adding inches around your belly faster than you can say, “chicken salad!”
Yogurt can be a sensible snacking choice, of course.
But if you’re not careful and you snack on the kind with the fruit on the bottom, you could be adding more than 130 calories to your diet on a regular basis.
Over time, that can add up to some serious poundage.
26. Wrap Sandwiches
These wraps are the source of another set of dietary myths.
But whoever told you they’re the best thing since sliced bread for losing belly fat was clearly wrong.
In fact – in many cases, sandwich wraps (not to mention all of the ingredients on the actual sandwich) can be even worse than eating bread.
27. Commercially Prepared Iced Tea
Iced tea by itself is a great, low-calorie drink.
If you drink your iced tea sweetened, watch out.
If sugar is your sweetener or choice, it’s probably obvious that isn’t your best choice.
But these days, many of the flavored iced teas have artificial sweeteners in their list of ingredients, and those are clearly foods that cause belly fat, as mentioned earlier.
28. Vegetarian Meals
Sure, going vegetarian can decrease your saturated fat intake.
Unless you’re relying on lots of sugar and other processed “fake meat” to make up the difference in flavor.
And if you’re not careful, these are all foods that cause belly fat to stick around far longer than you’d like.
29. Energy Bars
These things are chock full of ingredients…
…like extra sugars and fats.
Sure, you might have some extra “energy,” but at the price of your waistline!
If you aren’t reading your labels closely, cereal can add a surprising number of calories to your daily count. This is mostly in the form of sugars, as many cereal makers have increased sugar in their cereals to make up for the flavor issues involved with making things fat free over the past 10 or so years.
31. Sweetened Frozen Fruit
If you’re using frozen fruit without sugar, then this won’t matter. But if you just grab whatever’s handy, you might be adding a surprising amount of processed sugar to your family’s diet.
32. Ground Chicken or Turkey
…and here’s another diet myth.
Somehow, we’ve decided that ground chicken and turkey must be healthier than eating meat.
Problem is – depending on which parts of the chicken or turkey were used, it can be a surprisingly fatty form of meat, leading you to consume a lot more calories than you think.
Whether it’s extra sugar or fat, if you’re eating condiments such as ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise, if you didn’t prepare it yourself, chances are good it’s loaded with foods that cause belly fat such as sugar, unhealthy fat, and excessive sodium. Do yourself a favor and make them yourself!
It Starts With Food
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