The size and proportion of your hips is largely a matter of genetics and something that you can't change. However, weight gain can also affect hip size, and some people are more likely to gain fat around their hips, while others gain it in their midsection. Eating too many calories and not exercising enough can both lead to excess weight around your hips. Certain foods, such as potatoes, meat and sweets, are major culprits you should avoid if you're trying to lose weight.
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Potatoes and Chips
Whether mashed, french fried or baked, potatoes can cause weight gain around the hips. They're high in easily digested carbohydrates, the kind that quickly raise blood sugar and insulin. Fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin can lead to hunger quickly after eating, which may lead to overeating. Many processed potato foods, such as potato chips, are high in calories, too. In a study published in "The New England Journal of Medicine" in June 2011, participants who ate the most potatoes, especially potato chips, gained the most weight over a four-year period. Sweet potatoes, baked not fried, are a better option because they have less of an effect on blood sugar.
Red and Processed Meats
"The New England Journal of Medicine" study also found high intakes of unprocessed red meats, such as steak and burgers, and processed meats, such as salami and bacon, to be strongly associated with weight gain. Another study published in "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in August 2010 found that, on average, eating 8.7 ounces of meat per day led to an extra pound of weight gain every five years. Researchers concluded that reducing meat intake, which would reduce calorie intake, could aid in weight management. Choose light meat chicken or fish and meatless options like beans and tofu.
Sweets and Desserts
Eating a lot of ice cream, cookies, cake and candy will lead to weight gain, some of which may settle on your hips. That's because these foods are high in calories and not very satiating -- you're likely to still be hungry after you've eaten them. In addition, sweets and desserts offer little nutritional value for the amount of calories they contain. Eating more calories than you burn each day is the main factor in whether you lose, gain or maintain your weight. For a healthier dessert, fresh berries are naturally sweet and abundant in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Top them with a dollop of Greek yogurt.
What to Eat Instead
Eating primarily whole foods, limiting your intake of meat and eschewing processed foods and sweets can go a long way toward helping you control your calorie intake and shed weight around your hips. The "New England Journal of Medicine" study found that people who ate more vegetables tended to gain less weight over time, so pile your plate with fresh veggies at mealtimes. Sugar-sweetened beverages were another major culprit for weight gain, second to potatoes, in the study, so choose water or unsweetened tea instead.
- MSN: Destined to Inherit Your Mom's Body?
- ABC News: Body Type: Are You an Apple or a Pear?
- Harvard School of Public Health: The Problem With Potatoes
- The New England Journal of Medicine: Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Meat Consumption and Prospective Weight Change In Participants of the Epic-Panacea Study