Having excess belly fat and constant feelings of bloatedness is not healthy and can even lead to other bigger problems such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Medically referred to as visceral fat, it surrounds major organs in your abdomen, giving them less “breathing space” to function properly. Even those who have normal weight can have lots of belly fat, thus placing them at risk for health problems—and this is why special attention is given to those bulges around the tummy area.
There are certain types of food that will cause belly fat and love handles. We list some of the most popular culprits so you know what to steer clear of the next time you eat out or raid the fridge.
1. Trans fats
These are the unhealthiest types of fat in the world and will definitely cause you to have belly fat. They not only cause inflammation; they can also lead to heart disease, insulin resistance and other potentially deadly illnesses. Trans fats are often used to extend the shelf life of foods, such as crackers, muffins, packaged cakes and more.
2. Low-protein and low-fiber foods
Diets low in fiber and protein can cause belly fat. Certain types of this food can help you feel full faster and longer, thus reducing calorie absorption from food and helping control hunger hormones.
3. Sugary snacks and drinks
Soda, cakes, candies, sweat tea, flavored coffee are examples of sugar-sweetened beverages. They are known to cause belly fat because of their fructose content.
4. Fruit juice
Fruit juice actually contains plenty of sugar. Even those drinks that are unsweetened 100 percent juice are packed. Fructose, the main component of sugar can cause insulin resistance and, consequently, cause belly fat. In fact, it’s just as bad as soda.
5. Salty snacks
Salt, in whatever form, is a major belly fat maker because it forces the body to retain water. These also tend to contain lots of hydrogenated oils (bad fats), so steer clear of those cheese puffs, shrimp crackers and potato chips if you want to get rid of belly fat.
Alcohol is not just bad for the liver but it can also slow down your body’s ability to burn fat. This why the term “beer belly” was coined. A drink or two on occasion won’t hurt, but if you make it a habit, you can expect to see belly fat emerge soon.
7. Carb-dense foods
Foods that are high in carbs, whether good or bad, can affect the balance in the stomach flora and trigger inflammation. This is where you knowledge of carbs kicks in. For example, a small potato contains only 23 percent carbs, but a plain rice cake can have as much as 80 percent of carbs.
8. Processed meats
Processed meats cause belly fat because they are high in saturated fats and calories. Not just that, it can also cause stroke and heart disease. Examples of processed food are ground meats, cold cuts, hot dogs, luncheon meats, etc.
9. Milk and high-lactose dairy foods
FODMAPs (or fermentable carbs) can aggravate the stomach and cause bloating. Even if you aren’t lactose intolent, it can have the same effect on your gut so anything dairy related should be avoided. These include milk, soft cheese, regular yogurt and other milk-based desserts. Greek yogurt is generally okay, though.
10. Breakfast pastries
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it has to be the right balance of foods. Typical breakfast pastries such as scones and muffins are not always the healthy option because they contain artificial sugars and trans fats. This is particularly true with packaged treats, which can contain up to 50% of the daily sugar value.