You might have not expected it, but your kitchen is one of the best places to start your journey to achieve the perfect abs. From there, you should prioritise nutrient-rich, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, food rich with unsaturated fats, whole grains, and meats to have a balanced diet. All of these are not only good for the body because they are rich in micronutrients, but they also have antioxidant properties and have low-calorie count. In addition, they also have fibre which is essential to improve the body’s composition.
However, instead of focusing on reducing body fat on certain spots on your body (aka spot reduction), you should try to focus more on overall fat loss first when you want to reduce your weight or burn fat. Spot reduction may be the common trend among fitness enthusiasts nowadays, but numerous studies have shown that it is ineffective in significantly reducing body fat. Aside from having a proper diet, you also should engage in physical activities for a few hours each week to burn fat faster.
So, are you ready to achieve a perfect summer bod? Here are 15 of the worst foods if you are trying to burn fat…
1. Bread/White Rice (Carbohydrates)
Carbohydrates or “carbs” is a bad word in the fitness world. But it’s not that bad! Experts suggest that food items that have complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, squash, and brown rice are good for the body because they help keep body fat low if they are not taken in excess. You will only have problems in your diet if you eat large amounts of white bread and rice. These are bad for you as they are rich in simple sugars like glucose which can increase blood sugar levels and cause insulin spikes. When consumed regularly and in large quantities, they may cause obesity, skin inflammations, insulin resistance, etc.
2. Food with Saturated Fats
There are three types of dietary fats that are the common causes of inflammations and excess belly fat – trans fats, saturated fats, and omega-6 fatty acids (not to be confused with omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the heart). Aside from increased body fat levels, these food products may cause other health disorders too. Researchers have found that various baked goods and fried foods can exponentially increase the risk of heart disease. They recommend that people choose healthier options like avocado and olive oil to get their required intake of unsaturated fats. These healthy fats are important as it is needed to maintain various cellular processes and it also prevents you from overeating.
3. Processed Meat
Although they’re very tasty, processed meat products contain high levels of saturated fats and calories. They are not only bad for your belly but they’re also the leading cause for heart disease and stroke. This is due to the way processed meats are harder to digest. They can stay in the intestines for a longer period and they don’t contain any fibre which could help in breaking down food more easily.
4. Fried foods
Fried foods will, in general, overpower the stomach, bringing about indigestion and acid reflux. Experts say that these kinds of food sit in your stomach much like processed meats. It takes the body any longer to process fried food because they are rich in fat, making them the main cause of a larger waistline.
5. Milk and Dairy Products
A great way of keeping the balance in your stomach is avoiding Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols (FODMAPs) these are basically fermentable carbohydrates that can cause an upset in your stomach. Although some people aren’t showing adverse signs whenever they consume FODMAPs, some people do even in small amounts. Still, some people develop increasingly worsening effects whenever they are exposed to food containing it.
The most popular form of FODMAP is lactose which is found in every food product sourced from animal milk. The body can naturally break down lactose through the enzyme lactase. However, as we grow older, the body produces fewer amounts of lactase as its main purpose is to digest breast milk when we were still nursed by our mothers. This means that even though we aren’t affected by dairy products and milk when we were younger, they can cause an upset in our stomach eventually.
Experts suggest that this process is controlled by genetics and ethnicity. They found that almost all Asians and Native Americans produce lower lactase levels and have shown many gut disorders.
6. Food with High Fructose Levels
Fructose like other FODMAPs which is good for the body but when taken in large amounts can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhoea which are the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). This is caused mainly by fructose malabsorption which can intensify the symptoms of IBS. Aside from having a stomachache, it’s also not good for your overall health because it can increase blood sugar levels.
7. Garlic, Onions, and Other Fibre-Rich Food
Onions, wheat, and garlic contain a form of fibre call fructans. For some people, they have difficulties in digesting fructans that can lead to gassiness. Some studies suggest that reducing consumption of FODMAPs like fibre could reduce your chance of getting gastrointestinal disorders. However, further research is still needed to find the root cause behind each person’s intolerance to fibre.
8. Beans and Nuts
Oh, beans, they’re good for your heart but the more you eat them – you’ll end up having gas. Although this is one of those corny jokes that you hear constantly, it is backed up by scientific evidence. It’s been known for a long time now that beans are one of the most common gas-producing food which is like cabbage and broccoli.
9. Natural and Artificial Sweeteners
Sugar alcohols, low-carb sugars normally found in certain food products and as an additive for others, are another form of FODMAP. So, they are among the food items that cause belly fat that you ought to consider reducing in your diet. FODMAPs don’t effectively go through our cell walls, so microorganisms found in our digest them, which can cause gas and swelling. Although pineapples, carrots, and other similar food items are good for your health, consuming excessive amounts can cause gastrointestinal problems (which can cause bloating and diarrhoea).
10. Fat-Free Foods
Fat-free products are meant to be a healthier option for people who want to lose weight. However, consuming them won’t make you feel satisfied compared to full-fat alternatives. Experts say that you should eat food with high-quality fats like olive oil and avocado which are essential to keep your body to function properly. In addition, fat contains more energy that can make you feel fuller, energised, and more likely to eat less. So, instead of opting for fat-free food, high-quality full-fat food is better for your health and especially your belly.
11. Alcoholic Beverages
We all know alcoholic drinks are bad for us especially when we get hungover after a night out of drinking, but we still drink them anyway. Aside from that, they carry a lot of empty calories and it can also decrease your metabolism which is the main driver that burns fat in your body (and you’ll have a beer belly too). Alcohol can also lessen your inhibitions so even if you’re on a strict diet, you’ll likely reach for more food to ease your hunger (savoury food really tastes better after a couple of bottles). In order to lessen this, look for drinks that have lower sugar and refrain from mixing sodas and diet beverages from alcoholic drinks. Tequila and vodka are the best drinks and lemon, lime, or seltzer are better too.
12. Fructose-Sweetened Beverages
Sweet drinks are not ideal for your belly too! Sodas are a well-known culprit for many disorders and inflammations. But you should also be wary of other drinks with high fructose levels like fruit juice and sweet tea. Experts specifically warn about it because carbonated drinks release carbon dioxide which can lead to burping and stomach pain. So, they suggest avoiding it altogether. But if you really need it, you drink it slowly because this greatly reduces the chances of swallowing air.
13. Baked Goods
Muffins, scones, white bread, and other baked goods may have little bits of blueberries and other fruits in them, but they’re not healthier than other food items. In addition, processed flour products can prevent your body from maintaining blood sugar levels and metabolism which can lead to obesity and other health issues if eaten excessively.
14. Takeout Salads
Even salads? We know that’s running through your minds right now. But not all salads are the culprits for belly fat. Instead, ready-made salads should be avoided because it comes with a salad dressing that may or may not be healthy. Most to-go salads are also added with fried wontons, crackers, candied nuts (which is obviously coated in sugar), cheeses, and large amounts of dried fruits which also decreases the health benefits of choosing salads for your lunch or dinner. So, you should make sure that whenever you make a salad (or buy pre-packaged salads) you should add olive oil, vinegar, paprika, black pepper, rosemary, garlic, and onion instead of opting for salad dressings.
15. Salty Snacks
Your body needs salt to function properly but taking excessive amounts of it can be bad if you want to reduce your weight. This is because your body contains a lot of water which when added with salt, can result in bloating and weight gain. It is even linked to most gastrointestinal disorders that most people suffer. In addition, salty snacks (potato chips and cheese puffs) also contain a lot of hydrogenated oils which is also bad for your belly.