If only we didn’t have to constantly eat healthy and exercise to keep slim. If only being skinny came naturally and without effort. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
We all have our own perceived problem areas, and we call them that for a reason. Sometimes, it feels like no matter what you do, how regimented your workouts are, or how detailed your food journal is, your problem area won’t budge.
For a lot of people, that problem area is the midsection. And we’ve long dreamed of having enviable abs like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson.
So, here to help us along the way, we’ve assembled a list of nine foods to avoid if you’re specifically aiming to shed belly fat – and fast.
We can’t guarantee you’ll like what you read but trust us, avoid them and you’ll be on your way to a flatter stomach in no time. Let’s get going, shall we?
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet rich in medium-chain triglycerides, as opposed to long-chain triglycerides, diminished overall abdominal fat. Long-chain triglycerides are present in dairy products.
This isn’t to say that dairy is completely off limits, as healthy options like skim milk supply the body with protein and calcium.
Cheese, on the other hand, is dense in calories and saturated fat. If you’re aiming for a slimmer midsection, do as the French do, and stay away from processed, melted cheese, and eat small portions of additive-free fromage instead.
Soda is sweetened with artificial sugars and high-fructose corn syrup. According to a study in the Journal of Nutrition, consuming large amounts of fructose results in increased intra-abdominal fat.
Even reaching for diet soda won’t make a difference. Steer clear of the sugary drink completely, and reach for fruit-infused waters instead. They’re much more hydrating and just as yummy.
3. Processes Meats
Meat can be a healthy part of your diet. It supplies your body with large amounts of protein for maintained energy levels and new muscle cell production. However, processed meats that are high in saturated fat (yes, that includes bacon) aren’t your healthy-lifestyle friends. Instead, look to plant proteins or lean meats like grilled chicken and fish to fulfill your daily quota.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that weekly happy hour could be doing more harm than good. According to one scientific study, your drinking pattern matters just as much as your choice of alcohol.
Over the course of the 30-day study, people who had more than one drink in a sitting, even if it was just once a week, had more abdominal fat than those who drank small amounts of alcohol more regularly.
What does this mean for you? You don’t have to stay away from alcohol completely—just stay away from having more than one drink per sitting.
Experts recommend drinking a small glass of red wine every night with dinner. It does wonders for your cardiovascular system while supplying your body with powerful antioxidants.
5. Fruit Juice with Added Sugar
Just like soda, most store-bought fruit juices are full of additives, sweeteners, and, yes, high-fructose corn syrup. The same goes for store-bought smoothies.
Do yourself a favor and make your own juices and smoothies at home. Not only will it taste 100 times better, you’ll know each ingredient is fresh and healthy. And rest assured: Your waistline will benefit.
Refined carbohydrates like bread are another food that should be limited in a healthy diet. One study found that diets rich in “dense acellular carbohydrates” promote inflammation and weight gain.
Try replacing your go-to morning bagel with something healthier—think protein and fruit. You might even notice a difference in your energy levels throughout the day.
That’s not to say bread is always off limits. (It’s one of our greatest joys, after all.) Instead, reach for whole-grain options, which have more nutritional value and will keep you feeling full longer.
7. “Diet” Foods
Although certain meals and shakes packaged as diet-friendly may be low in calories and fat, they’re usually extremely high in sodium and preservatives.
Don’t be fooled by low-calorie diet bars either—you’ll be hungry again in no time thanks to their lack of natural nutrition.
It’s better to snack on foods rich in vitamins and minerals. They’ll keep you full longer, and your hair, skin, and mood will be improved over time.
Although salt won’t actually contribute to the addition of belly fat, excess amounts are a common cause for bloat, making you feel like you gained ten pounds overnight.
Minimize the amount you use in your cooking by replacing it with fresh herbs and spices instead. Think ginger, basil, and turmeric.
And if you find yourself reaching for a salty treat, be sure to follow up with an extra dose of water to avoid bloat and dehydration.
9. Try this odd “carb trick” that burns up to 1 pound per day
If you’re like most women trying to lose weight… you diet, you count calories, you tear up the treadmill, and…nothing.
That’s how 40-year-old Carly Donovan, an overweight mother with prediabetes was feeling…
She did “everything right” and never lost an inch.
Until she stumbled on this strange “carb-pairing” trick and burned away an unheard of 22lbs pounds in just 13 days.
And because of this one simple shift in her eating, she shed pounds and inches from her body without starving herself and without a lick of exercise!
With the same “carb-pairing” trick Carly dropped a total of 37lbs in the FIRST month and she shocked her doctor by completely reversing ALL pre-diabetes symptoms!
If you’re a woman over the age of 25 who wants to reclaim her life inside the body she DESERVES, you should check it out for yourself.