If you really want to get rid of belly fat – there are some foods you simply need to avoid. I’ve taken a few minutes to highlight the 5 big foods you should cut out to reduce belly fat.
You might expect to see a couple of these foods on the list. But there are a couple of foods that will surprise you. Mostly because we’ve been told they help us burn fat or lose weight.
Before that list, here’s a quick primer on the types of fat we ALL have on our bodies – some of us more than others.
Belly Fat vs Other Types of Fat
First, it’s important to understand that belly fat isn’t the same as the fat around our thighs or behind our arms. The belly fat that is deep within our body is called visceral fat, and it’s dangerous because it’s packed closely to our internal organs, including our heart, kidneys and liver. We all have a little visceral fat, but some of us gain far too much, increasing the risk toward stroke, heart attack, some types of cancer, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. In addition to visceral fat, we all have two other types of fat.
The Pinchable Kind of Fat
If you can pinch fat between your fingers – even if it’s around your belly, it’s called subcutaneous fat. This type of fat is irritating, but not the only type you want to get rid of when you’re lose belly fat. Subcutaneous fat is super stubborn, and commonly found in greater amounts in Pear-shaped women. You can get the scoop on how to lose this type of fat here.
The Healthy Kind of Fat
Believe it or not, you have a healthy kind of fat called brown fat. It helps keep us warm and is found in places you might not expect, like around our neck and various places on or around our spine. The location of brown fat can vary from person to person. You don’t need to worry about losing this kind of fat. You need it!
True Belly Fat
Now we’re getting down to business. If your midsection is rounded, even a little, with more than just a type of fat you can pinch, the you have more visceral fat (aka belly fat) than you should.
Good news! you can lose belly fat easily by making a few dietary changes.
Yes, it’s easy to get rid of belly fat. You may not think so, possibly, because you’ve been eating the wrong foods, cutting calories too far, or just not eating right for your body type, but trust me…I’ve had nothing but great experiences with clients on a quest to lose belly fat.
You might also like: The 7 Foods for Apple-Shaped Bodies
Burning Belly Fat Doesn’t Mean Dieting
If you have a significant amount of belly fat, don’t panic, and please don’t start some crazy diet of cutting calories, counting calories or restricting yourself too much. I’ve found that my clients have all gained weight after dieting, regardless of how much progress they may have made in their initial endeavor to lose weight.
Focus on the quality of food you’re eating – not the quantity. The tremendous upside is that you can make a lot of improvement just by eating the right foods (see my list of a few foods that you absolutely should eat to lose belly fat). You can make the same type of improvement by avoiding the wrong foods.
Rather than single out one food, I’ve grouped them. I hope this list is helpful to you. If you’re really serious about losing belly fat, order my book, The Belly Burn Plan. It’s really effective and doesn’t require a single day of dieting or calorie counting.
The 5 Foods People with Belly Fat Need to Avoid
1. Coffee Drinks:
Technically not a food, per se, but still the most consumed stimulant in the world – and in many cases responsible for increasing belly fat (no cream, sugar or calories needed).
This is a huge area of debate for a lot of people, with many swearing that coffee helps burn fat, but if you have belly fat, coffee is more foe than friend.
There is a strong connection between type 2 diabetes and belly fat. Research has shown that caffeine consumption decreases insulin sensitivity by about 15%, and negatively impacts the metabolism sugars among people with diabetes.
Caffeine is also closely linked to increasing cortisol levels (our stress hormone), which, when chronically elevated, can lead to belly fat.If you’re a regular coffee drinker, consider cutting it out of your diet.
To avoid splintering caffeine withdrawal headaches, step down with green tea – matcha tea, in particular. Green tea contains nutrient-rich polyphenols, but with much, much less caffeine. This is my favorite (and easy) traditional green tea or a special matcha green tea I love.
Note: Green tea contains a nutrient called L-theanine, which makes you feel calm, but alert. It’s highest in matcha, but also present in traditional green tea. A good matcha will always cost more, and is always powdery green.
2. Low fat pretzels, bagels and toast:
These foods call under the broad category of refined carbohydrates. While it’s probably a good idea for everyone to avoid too many starchy carbohydrates, refined starchy carbohydrates, especially for people with belly fat, is a fast way to throw off your blood sugar levels that are responsible for storing belly fat, but your nutrition as well.
Another trap people who want to rid their body of belly fat often fall into is that the lower the dietary fat, the better…right? Wrong. The fats we put in our body don’t directly translate to the fat we store around our belly, thighs, butts, arms – you get the point. The Keto Diet would never be so popular if that were true. In no way am I recommending the Keto Diet. I have stronger opinions about that. Read them here.
Back to these low fat starchy carbs. They’re truly void of any real nutrition. That’s never good.
Examples of refined starchy carbohydrates not to eat:
- pretzels and chips
- most store-bought breads, bagels, wraps, buns and tortillas
- pasta and pizza dough
- waffles, muffins and pastries
- store-bought baked desserts
3. Bananas, grapes and mangoes:
Wait – what? Fruit is good. Isn’t it?
Yes, to an extent. Fruit is filled with nutrition that our bodies need, but many fruits simply contain a lot of sugar. If you’re struggling with belly fat, managing cravings or hunger, try to avoid fruits that are high in sugar.
Don’t worry! If you love fruit, there are plenty you can still nosh on. They’re just a lower sugar variety. And they’re usually higher in fiber, too, which is a double bonus for your gut!
High sugar fruits include:
- most dried fruit
Lower sugar fruits include:
- green apples
4. Greek-Style, Regular and Smoothie Flavored Yogurts:
The allure of some dairy products, especially low fat yogurts and even chocolate milk, is non-stop. Products like low fat or no fat drinkable yogurts are “health washed” with promises of beneficial bacteria that could benefit gut health.
But if you look at the nutrition facts, many of these products are loaded with sugar. Some as high as nine teaspoons of sugar per serving. What’s more, many of these food products contain artificial sweeteners, like sucralose, acesulfame-K or aspartame. There is a profound correlation between artificial sweetener and weight gain.
Research has even shown that children who consume artificial sweeteners have a greater body mass index (BMI) than children who don’t.
While the upside of including beneficial bacteria in a food is great, it’s all but erased with the added sugars or artificial sweeteners that naturally disrupt our body’s ecosystem. Bad bacteria that can take over our body, affecting our immune health and the ability to lose weight, feeds on sugar.
Plain yogurt, even full fat, contains some amount of unrefined sugar from the naturally-occurring lactose, but it’s far less and a much better option for someone looking to control their weight, especially through the midsection.
What’s more, full fat yogurt works better at stabilizing blood sugar levels and controlling hunger. You can learn how to make your own yogurt here.
Instead of eating a sugary yogurt, buy plain, full fat. Top for yogurt, or make your own yogurt smoothie with:
- fresh or frozen berries
- a small amount of honey or maple syrup
- chia seeds
- shredded coconut
5. Corn, Canola and Soybean Oils:
Certainly something we should all avoid, refined vegetable oils, like soybean, corn and canola oils are found in most processed foods. Just because the word “vegetable” is name of this type of oil, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s actually good for you. Quite the opposite.
When we consume too much processed vegetable oil, we increase the amount of omega-6 fatty acids as well. Overconsumption of omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation in the body.
If you have inflammation, it is difficult, often impossible, to lose weight.
Processed vegetable oils are cheap. And because the United States has no shortage of the crops needed to produce these oils, they’re everywhere. Not just chips and cookies, but bread, protein bars and hummus, too. It’s important to read labels to see what’s in the food you’re eating. Again, the big offenders are corn, canola and soybean oil.
Healthier alternative oils and fats include:
- olive oil
- coconut oil
- avocado and avocado oil
- nuts & seeds
- grass fed butter
- some nut butter (read labels and many contain other unhealthy ingredients)
Here are a few simple and healthy recipes you can make now that are great for the apple shape.
- Paleo Banana Bread
- No Bake Chocolate Cashew Coconut Bars
- Cashew Chicken Stir Fry
- Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes
- Balsamic & Honey Chicken Kebabs
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