There might not be a magic pill to lose weight, but there is a simple way to burn belly fat—choose foods that kick start your metabolism.
Belly fat is caused by certain foods in your diet that store fat and create discomfort. Swap them for foods that, when paired with a regular fitness routine, help you lose weight, fight bloating, and flatten your midsection.
The first step to achieve a flat belly is adding fiber into your diet, particularly soluble fiber. A recent study by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center says eating foods rich in soluble fibers (think oatmeal, apples and beans) reduces belly fat.
St. Louis-based Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD and Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests at least 10 grams of soluble fiber per day.
Soluble fiber can be found in:
- 1/2 cup black beans = 2.4 grams
- 1/3 cup oatmeal = 1.4 grams
- 1 orange = 1.8 grams
- 1 tbsp flaxseed = 1.1 grams
- 1/2 cup Brussels sprouts = 2.0 grams
- 1 1/4 cup strawberries = 1.1 grams
"Rich fiber foods also tend to be naturally lower in calories yet nutrient dense, providing you the right formula for weight loss," McDaniel says.
More: The Truth About Fiber
Probiotics also help fight belly fat. While they're one of the fastest growing dietary supplements, you can also get these gut-friendly bacteria in food such as yogurt and kefir. McDaniel suggests that you look for the words "active culture" on the food label to make sure you're getting your money's worth.
- A diet low in fiber and fluids combined with low physical activity is the perfect formula to feel bloated and constipated.
- Food intolerances/sensitivities to lactose or gluten. Before you self-diagnose and try to treat yourself, speak to your doctor.
- Carbonated beverages.
- Sugar-free foods: sugar alcohols (Example: mannitol and sorbitol).
- Unusual intake of beans and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Jerusalem artichokes and cabbage.
- Fried foods and foods filled with trans fat. Diets rich in trans fats not only promote belly fat, but also mobilize fat stored in other areas of the body to move to the stomach. Sources of trans fats include vegetable shortenings, certain kinds of margarine, crackers, snacks and fats added to baked goods such as cookies.
Next time you go to the grocery store, be sure to pick up foods high in fiber and probiotics to fight belly fat.
Stay healthy with our nutrition guide.