The battle of the waistline bulge is a worthwhile fight, because a slimmer middle is only one benefit of decreased stomach fat. Excess fat around your middle may mean more than wearing a larger pants size.
It may serve as a warning that you’re at an increased risk of chronic disease, including high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The foods you choose to eat can make a difference in your waistline and your health.
Foods without High-Fructose Corn Syrup
High-fructose corn syrup may spur excessive weight gain and cause those extra pounds to accumulate around your midsection. Read labels to eradicate HFCS, an industrially made sweetener, from your diet. Sweet soft drinks are usually full of the sweetener, but it’s also in a wide array of foods, such some brands of ketchup, bread, soup, yogurt, fruit juice, mayonnaise and cereal.
Foods Free without Trans Fat
Trans fat, a man-made fat in some fried foods, crackers, cookies, snack foods, margarine, processed foods and restaurant foods, is not only disastrous to heart health. It may also cause weight gain specifically in the abdominal area. Food manufacturers are required to list the amount trans-fat on nutrition labels, where it can also be called “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil.” The restaurant industry isn’t yet required to disclose its use of trans fat.
Go for whole grains to whittle your middle. A higher intake of whole grains was associated with less abdominal fat, according to an analysis of 2,834 Framingham Heart Study participants. Those who ate more refined-grain foods, such as white bread and white rice, had more fat around the middle.
Refined grains are rapidly turned to sugar during digestion, which may increase your risk for insulin resistance and for the development of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and, possibly, cancer. Choose whole-wheat bread, barley, bulgur, rolled oats, whole-grain pastas and cereals that list a whole grain as the first ingredient.
Foods Rich in Monounsaturated Fats
Eat foods rich in monounsaturated fats to prevent an accumulation of fat around your middle. Monounsaturated fats – also called “healthy fats” – not only keep extra fat away from your waistline, they also decrease levels of harmful cholesterol and the risk of stroke and heart disease. Get these healthy fats from olive oil, canola oil, grape seed oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.
Alcohol in Moderation
Drink alcoholic beverages in moderation, if you do drink, to keep stomach fat at bay. Beer, wine and spirits are high in calories, slow fat burning and stimulate your appetite, which is not a good combination if you’re trying to watch your weight.
Alcohol may also cause weight to collect in the abdomen. Drinkers who imbibe sporadically, and who have four or more drinks when they do, have the most abdominal fat, while those who average just one drink per day have the least.