Many New Year’s resolutions are one and the same: to be healthier. Your goal might include exercising more regularly, eating less junk food and taking time out of each day to unwind, de-stress and relax. Unfortunately, even if you’re exercising daily, the foods you eat can end up derailing your progress.
If your goal is to lose a few pounds or tone your midsection, you’ll want to avoid these eight foods that lead to belly fat:
1. Soft Drinks
Many people have a hard time giving up soft drinks. But if you really want to get rid of extra belly fat, this is a must. Soft drinks are loaded with sugar. Even low-calorie soft drinks slow down your metabolism and stimulate your body to hold fat. One study showed that people who consumed sugary drinks regularly gained 27% more belly fat than people who almost never or never drank them.
2. Chewing Gum
When you chew gum, both your brain and stomach receive signals that prepare them for a meal. Gum triggers he overproduction of stomach acid, making you feel hungry as a result. It can trigger gastrointestinal problems and cause bloating. If you need to freshen up in between meals, keep a toothbrush at work instead.
3. Fast Food
It’s no secret that fast food contains loads of salt, sugar, artificial ingredients and hundreds of extra calories. Eating fast food on a regular basis can lead to many health problems. It also causes the body to gain and hold onto extra belly fat.
Most alcoholic drinks are rich in calories, but choosing a low-calorie drink won’t make much of a difference when it comes to belly bloat. Alcohol consumption increases your appetite and confuses the part of your brain that’s responsible for feeling full. Even if you’ve just eaten a big dinner, after several drinks, you’ll want a snack. Try giving up alcohol, you’ll be amazed at the results.
Approximately 75% of the Earth’s population is lactose intolerant. Despite your degree of intolerance, dairy can cause digestion problems, an upset stomach, chronic gas and bloating. Eating full-fat dairy products in excess can also lead to belly fat.
Sugar has many negative effects on the body. Eating sugar in excess can lead to multiple health problems and excess belly fat. Avoiding sugar completely is extremely difficult, but limiting the amount you consume on a daily basis can help reduce belly fat. Watch out for “healthy” foods that contain hidden sugar.
7. Refined Carbs
Starving your body of carbs isn’t healthy, but choosing the right carbs can help get you on the right track. Refined carbs that are low in fiber and nutritional value have been shown to increase belly fat. High-fiber whole grains can help reduce it.
8. Artificial Sweeteners
You might think you’re doing your body a favor by using an artificial sweetener or eating sugar-free foods. Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners have a hard time passing through cell walls. This causes gut bacteria to digest them, which can cause gas and bloating.