Where your body stores calories depends on your hormones, and some unhealthy foods trigger just the exact right hormonal reaction—they hit you in the gut. Literally. So which foods are some of the “insta-belly” culprits? Here is a breakdown of the foods and drinks you might not even realize are causing you to gain unwanted belly fat, but they’re the biggest offenders out there
1. Ice Cream
This one is sad to see, but ice loading up on ice cream every night isn’t going to help you shed that weight—it’s going to caught you to pack more on. And why is that? Well, besides all that sugar you would be consuming, ice cream is a carb-heavy food, and if you happen to eating a lot of refined carbohydrates, this can result in belly fat deposition.
Pretzels seem like they’re a better option than potato chips, and we already know chips are a no-go. Sorry to disappoint, but pretzels are just as bad, as they are loaded up with salt. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition even uncovered how salt confuses the biological processes that tell you when you’re full. Essentially, you just end up eating more, which leads to weight gain, and it’ll go straight to your belly.
3. Low-Fat Pastries
Some people see the label “low fat” and think it’s the healthier option. But don’t let the tricky terminology fool you. These muffins and treats are typically loaded up with processed flour, tend to be high in sugar, and can be high in sodium, too. These are all components that add up to packing on the belly fat. No thanks!
4. Frozen Coffee Drinks
Coffee by itself isn’t bad for your waistline, but if you’re frequently sipping on frozen coffee drinks, then you’ve just met your problem. Most of the time, these high-calorie drinks are packed with sugar and dairy. Plus, a 2017 study published in Public Health found that nearly 70% of coffee drinkers had their cup of Joe with caloric add-ins including sugar and creamers.
5. Potato Chips
In the contest to find the very worst possible food for your belly, Harvard researchers believe they have a winner. It’s not just that potato chips are saturated with saturated fat, causing abdominal fat gain. It’s not just that they’re crusted with salt, causing mid-level bloat. It’s not even a pure calorie play—there are plenty of more caloric snacks out there. What makes potato chips so epically bad for your belly is not what they have, but what they lack: the ability to make you feel satisfied.
6. Canned Soup
Again, when it comes to canned soups you’re going to want to want to make sure you’re choosing the right ones. See, there are plenty of soup options that sneak in a ton of sodium, which not only causes belly bloat but actually can increase your appetite and hinder your ability to know when you’re full.
7. White Bread
If you’re thinking not all bread is bad, you’re right. It’s highly-refined, white bread that should be avoided when you’re working to lose belly fat. Studies have shown that eating whole grains can actually lower visceral fat deposits in your belly, but eating refined grains leads to more.
8. French Fries
Any fat-laden bad carb-fest will make you gain weight, but there’s something almost magical about the effects of fried spuds on your body’s fat-storage system. And by magical, we don’t mean in a good way. See, one longitudinal Harvard study found that people who ate fries regularly gained more than three pounds of body weight every four years; over the course of the study, the french fry eaters gained 13 pounds of belly flab from fries alone!
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