Giving up the guilty pleasures you love most is one of the most challenging aspects of dieting. (We’re looking at you, French fries and chocolate chip cookies!) If your end game is to lose visceral fat and tighten things up, there are certain foods you should absolutely avoid. Not only can they contribute to excess body flab, but they’re also not doing your overall health any favors.
We spoke with Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDN, the author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, a nutritionist in private practice, and a member of our Medical Expert Board, who reveals four of the worst foods you should stay away from in order to lose weight. Keep reading to learn all about them, and next, don’t miss You’ll Never Lose Weight if You Still Do These 5 Things, Expert Says.
First up, Young suggests ditching white bread, pasta, and rice if you want to lose visceral fat.
If you’re not already familiar with the dangers of refined carbs, Young explains, “These refined carbs are high in carbohydrates, which not only spikes your blood sugar, but it also turns into sugar and is easily stored. Refined carbohydrates have negative health effects as they have gone through processing where fiber and other nutrients are removed.”
The next time you whip up eggs or head to your favorite breakfast spot, hold the side of bacon! You may not be too surprised to hear that processed meats like hot dogs, sausages, and bacon are no-go’s if you want to get lean. Unfortunately, we’re even talking about the prosciutto and salami on your beloved charcuterie board.
The “sneaky ingredients” in processed meats don’t have any health benefits, Young explains. According to MD Anderson Cancer Center, these types of meats are preserved by salting, smoking, or curing. They may also contain chemical preservatives. Along with contributing to belly fat gain, consuming processed meats also heightens your risk of developing cancer.
Your favorite fried foods like egg rolls, French fries, onion rings, fried pickles, and fried chicken are chock-full of unhealthy fats like saturated fats and/or trans-fat, Young explains. “Fried foods are also high in calories due to the amount of oil needed, which contributes to weight gain,” she adds. “Similar to refined carbohydrates, fried foods turn into sugar in the body and get stored as visceral fat in and around the abdomen.”
This last food may be the most difficult one to accept—especially if you have a sweet tooth. Put down the cookie dough ice cream, because it isn’t helping you lose visceral fat.
Young tells us, “Ice cream is high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and calories which all contribute to visceral fat gain. Moreover, it also contains artificial flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives.”