As heat approaches, it seems many people are interested in setting new health goals. If you are someone who is looking to shed a few pounds, particularly around the stomach area, you might benefit from learning a few “secret” eating habits that commonly contribute to belly fat, the sneaky kind you won’t even notice.
Losing belly fat is a goal that can save you from further health complications. This is because belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is the type that grows around the abdominal organs and can lead to things like diabetes and heart disease if it is carried too much for a long period of time.
Read on to learn more about healthy changes to make to your daily routine to lose belly fat, and for advice on healthier eating be sure to check out 20 food combinations to triple your weight loss.
Eating processed foods can quickly contribute to abdominal fat, but dieticians say it’s the portion size that also makes a difference.
“Processed foods high in sugar, salt and fat can contribute to excess abdominal fat,” says Lisa Young, PhD, RDNauthor of Finally Complete, Finally Subtle and a member of our commission of medical experts. “According to recent research, portions of fast food and packaged foods like chocolate and sodas are still up to 5 times larger than in the past, which can also contribute to belly fat.”
Making yourself a fresh, hearty salad can be a great choice for milder weather. But dieticians say some salad dressings can sneak in added fat, sugar, and calories without us noticing.
“Many of us are turning to salads for a healthier meal, especially when we want to get rid of abdominal fat,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements. “However, using high-fat salad dressings can increase abdominal fat rather than eliminate it. This is true of both homemade salads and fast food or store-bought salads. Salad dressings. Standard ranches contain around 130 calories for just 2 tablespoons, which is generally less than what is actually used. Along with 13 grams of fat, this salad dressing choice can override the decision to have a healthy salad. high-fat dressing or opt for lemon juice or vinegar to reduce the fat you’re getting. “
Nut butter can provide you with many health benefits, but it’s still important to control portion sizes when trying to lose belly fat.
“Peanut butter is definitely a nutrient-rich food, but not all varieties are created with the same nutritional profile,” says Best. “Some manufacturers choose to use added ingredients such as sugar, honey or even chocolate to improve flavor and texture. These lead to a rapid increase in calories and fat in a single serving of peanut butter.”
“Secondly, natural peanut butter should also be consumed in moderation,” continues Best. “We will often see the term ‘natural’ and assume that the food can be consumed without worrying about portions or quantities. When it comes to peanut butter, both of these characteristics can make it a food that could cause abdominal fat blockage and loss. even contributing to weight gain in this area. “
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Yogurt can offer you a ton of health benefits, but not all types of yogurt are created equal.
“The quality of the yogurt is a big factor in determining whether or not it will add to your weight loss efforts,” says Best. “High-fat or added sugar yogurt and other sweeteners can contribute to abdominal fat. It is important to review the nutritional profile of your yogurt before purchasing and opt for one that is plain or made with natural sweeteners. We also recommend finding one that is higher in protein, as this will help keep you full longer and prevent overeating. “
While technically not a “food habit,” poor quality sleep and high stress can affect your eating patterns and food choices throughout the day.
“Stress can increase abdominal fat, in part, due to increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol,” says Young. “Overeating with the wrong foods is also quite common when you’re stressed, and lack of sleep can also affect your mood, which can encourage many people to overeat with processed foods high in sugar and fat.”