Although the names can be funny - pot belly, jelly belly, love handles, spare tire - excess belly fat is no laughing matter. In all seriousness, having excess abdominal fat is a risk factor for developing chronic illness such as heart disease and diabetes. To decrease these negative health risks, avoiding specific foods that produce belly fat is recommended.
In the great quest for proper nutrition, it can be difficult to sort out all the garbage from the good stuff. Well, let me rephrase that: It can be difficult if you allow it to be. Honestly, the perfect diet to ban belly fat is simple. Eat fresh, whole, healthy foods with as few ingredients as possible. Translation? A whole, fresh apple contains one major ingredient: apple. On the other hand, apple-cinnamon instant oatmeal contains sugar, preservatives, additives, and a whole laundry list of chemically altered substances in addition to the tiny bit of apple flavoring and oats you may get. Now, which sounds better to you?
Even so, I’d rather you go for the oatmeal than that apple turnover pastry taunting you from the deli case. If you are ever going to get that stomach you crave, there are a few foods that you absolutely must ban - and I mean ban - from your diet. Forever! They are:
Ice Cream: Dairy fat represents a big factor in belly fat increase. Ice cream and milk shakes have some of the largest fat totals of any foods, for example, there is approximately 493 calories in a 16-oz vanilla shake, according to the USDA Nutrient Database. That's nearly one-quarter of the calories allowed daily in a 2,000-calorie diet. Other fatty dairy foods to avoid include whipped cream, sour cream, and whole milk, yogurts and cheeses.
White, bleached, enriched, or otherwise altered flour-based products: There is a reason diabetics are not supposed to eat white bread. White flour has absolutely zero, zilch, nadda, and zip in the way of nutritional value. Got that? Nothing. However, it is converted by the body to sugar when it hits the blood stream, which means that you are just about as well off eating a cupcake as you are to eat a sandwich on white bread. It is nutritionally bankrupt and makes you fat, period. In that same bucket are biscuits, muffins, pies, pastries, donuts and baked goodies such as cakes and cookies. Most contain several kinds of fat, including unhealthy saturated and trans fats, that slow your metabolism, cause your blood sugar to rise and make it difficult to burn off calories.
French fries and potato chips: Yes, I know, they say that everything’s fine in moderation. Wrong! Not only are these snacks made of nothing but starch and usually have chemical preservatives, but they are also marinated in trans fat oil. Stay away! The low nutritional value of french fries does not warrant eating them often as a large serving of them has more than 500 calories. Most of the calories in fries come from 29g of fat. However, a better alternative is a baked potato with the skin, which has 0g of fat and only 118 calories.
High fructose corn syrup: You knew it was coming, right? This little substance that has become so popular wreaks havoc on your abs, not to mention the rest of the body. It is not processed in the body the same way as table sugar, but rather has to go through the liver first. Manufacturers are beginning to call it “corn sugar” as well, so be very careful to read labels. Hint: no sodas! Wondering where else high fructose corn syrup is found? In almost anything from candies, pies, cakes, jellies, canned fruits, salad dressings and even so-called health foods such as yogurt and fruit juice. Read your labels!
Frozen "Diet" meals: You know, the ones that have the word “lean” in the name? They are nothing but one big chemically altered smorgasbord of terrible. Besides, a fresh grilled chicken breast with scallions tastes 10 times better anyway!
Casseroles: Casseroles are another dangerous food to eat when trying to lose belly fat because of the fact it’s so easy to sneak a large amount of calories into them. Depending on the ingredients that go in (cheese, butter, creamy sauces, etc), you could take in over 600 calories per cup. Try and stick to grilled meat with vegetables while aiming for belly fat loss. It’s a far healthier decision since you can see exactly what you’re getting.
Clear these foods off of your plate, stick with foods whose ingredients you can readily and easily identify, keep it simple, and you’ll enjoy showing off those abs in no time!