Achieving a flat stomach is possible when you commit to a regular exercise program and healthy diet. Certain foods have the power to derail your efforts and should be banned from your refrigerator and cupboards. Avoid belly-bloating and fattening foods in favor of a diet filled with vegetables, fruits, lean proteins and healthy fats.
Foods can range from minimally to heavily processed -- from prepackaged spinach to jarred sauces and frozen microwave meals, complete with added colors and preservatives. Some minimally processed foods such as frozen vegetables are a source of essential nutrients, but foods such as certain canned and packaged beans, cookies and burgers are high in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. This can lead to bloating and weight gain around the middle.
Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar for a flat tummy. Sugary foods cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate, leading to hunger cravings and overeating, which can result in weight gain -- particularly around your middle. According to Dr. Rasa Kazlauskaite, sugar increases belly fat, and one of the best ways to reduce consumption is to eliminate sugary beverages like soda. Reduce your consumption of juices as well since these are also high in sugar and low in fiber, which fills you up and aids in good digestive health for a flatter tummy. Fill your glass with water instead of sugary drinks, and skip sugary foods such as cookies, cakes and candy for a flatter tummy.
Kick the Salt Habit
Foods high in salt can cause uncomfortable bloating and difficulty fitting into your jeans. Sodium causes the body to retain water, leading to a distended belly and possible weight gain over time because high-sodium foods are often high in fat too. Avoid high-salt foods such as processed canned soups, sauces, microwave meals, potato chips and deli meats.
Eating too many fatty foods will lead to weight gain and eliminate your ability to achieve a flat tummy. Unhealthy saturated and trans fats in particular should be avoided as these fats not only lead to belly fat but also increase the risks of cardiovascular disease. Avoid processed cakes, cookies, doughnuts, fried foods and fatty meats in favor of foods that contain healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats, found in avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds and fatty fish, may decrease the risk of heart disease and also fill you up to prevent hunger cravings.
- FoodInsight.org: What Is a Processed Food? You Might Be Surprised!
- Eat Right: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Avoiding Processed Foods? Surprise! This Is Processed Too!
- Reader's Digest: The Worst Foods You Can Eat
- HuffPost Lifestyle: How to Have a Flat Tummy: Avoid Foods That Are Making You Bloated
- I Quit Sugar; Sarah Wilson
- Rush University Medical Center: Two Specialists From Rush Give the Skinny on Belly Fat -- and How to Get Rid of It
- Best Health: The Worst Fats for High Cholesterol