Belly fat refers to the deposition of fat around the abdominal area, which is commonly seen in middle-aged men and women. It is not directly correlated with obesity as it may be visible in skinny individuals as well. Out of the two categories of fat, subcutaneous and visceral, belly fat is categorized as visceral fat, which, unfortunately, is an indication of the elevated risk of health problems such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers.
Fat around your abdomen is easy to put on but the most difficult to burn amongst all kinds of body fats. Therefore, it becomes necessary to be aware of the factors which lead to abdominal fat, so that one may nip it in the bud. Accumulation of belly fat may be attributed to age, heredity, sedentary lifestyle and stress, but the main culprit in this respect is what you eat.
The easiest way to control, reduce or prevent belly fat is to make modifications to your diet, particularly by avoiding foods which don’t burn your belly fat but contribute to it:
1. Refined Sugar
Did you know that many packaged juices have more sugar than a cola? Foods high in refined sugar provide nothing but empty calories to the body. Rather than being nutritious, such foods are dense in simple carbs, which are instrumental in causing accumulation of fats. These foods include table sugar, carbonated drinks, packaged fruit juices/drinks, energy drinks, and candies.
2. Trans Fats
Foods with high trans fat content are detrimental to health as they are high in fat as well as calories, leading to fat build-up around the belly and clogging of arteries. Cakes, pastries, cookies, bread, potato chips, fast foods, canned foods, pizzas and packaged sauces are essentially rich in trans fats. Greasy and fried foods should be avoided too as they are high in trans fat, and also lack minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
3. Dairy Products
Full cream dairy products, though a good source of calcium, but are high in saturated fat as well as calories, which makes them the primary cause of the bulge around your belly. This category comprises of full-fat milk, cream, butter, yogurt, cheese and frozen dairy foods. If you are determined to burn those fats around your belly, switch to skimmed milk and low-fat dairy products.
4. High Sodium Foods
Consumption of foods high in sodium leads to water retention, which in turn causes bloating. Foods such as salted snacks and chips are high in both sodium as well as trans fats, something to avoid strictly if you are looking to keep belly fat at bay. It can also help maintain your blood pressure levels.
5. White Carbohydrates
White carbs end up as flab around your belly in the long run. The best bet is to cut down on the white variants of bread, flour, rice and pasta and substitute them with the easily digestible, high-fiber, brown variants. You will gradually see the effect as it will burn your belly fat over a period time.
6. Alcohol – A Strict NO For Belly Fat
All variants such as wine, beer and hard liquor cause consumption of excessive calories which later show up around the belly. While beer contains no fat, it is the overdose of calories from beer that leads to the infamous beer belly. Same goes for other alcoholic drinks. Additionally, alcohol slows down your liver’s ability to burn body fat. Alcohol consumption, in any form available, is a strict no if you are planning to burn your belly fat and prevent it in future.
7. Breakfast Cereals
It is a myth that regular corn cereals are fat busters; corn is rather high in sugar and calories and can result in belly fat. A better option is to consume a small serving, with low fat milk and no sugar.
8. Creamy Foods
You will have to forgo the tempting creamy foods such as rich salad dressings, gravies and ice cream if you want to do away with belly fat. A 10 grams serving of mayonnaise contains 7 grams of fat. If consumed regularly, such foods tend to accumulate as fat around your abdomen. And now you know what do next with your creamy-food-temptations if you are keen on burning those extra belly fat.
A key solution to reducing intake of the foods listed above is to consciously choose to pick more of fresh fruits and vegetables, instead of processed food, particularly when hunger strikes at odd times. Drinking plenty of water is another solution, as it causes a feeling of fullness minus the calories.