There’s no need to eliminate entire food groups when trying to lose belly fat, all you need are some sneaky food swaps (okay, and some killer core workouts).
A study from The Harvard School of Public Health states that specific food choices (or rather swaps) may help with weight control.
These 4 food swaps can help you blast belly fat
Certain foods can increase belly fat, while other foods can help decrease belly fat. The foods which spike our blood sugar levels the most are, cruelly, also the foods we tend to crave the most.
However, these foods often make us feel our worst, inside and out. But by swapping highly processed foods for healthier alternatives, it can cause the greatest change in weight.
Which foods lead to the most weight gain and what swaps can you make to blast the belly fat?
1. Cereal for oats
Heavily processed cereal is filled with refined sugars leaving your blood sugar levels to spike. Swapping cereals for oats, which are digested more slowly than refined grains have a gentler effect on blood sugar and insulin, keeping hunger at bay.
A great way to start of your morning, oats are full of fiber and since fiber slows digestion, you’re less likely to feel hungry straight after breakfast (we’ve all been there).
A 2010 study published in the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association” found that overweight and obese participants consuming whole-grain oat cereal lost more inches from their waist that those consuming the same amount of calories, but who ate low-fiber cereal.
2. Store bought for homemade treats
Here at The Healthy Mommy, we’re all about making your own snacks and meals in general. We LOVE talking about meal prep, meal planning and yummy sweet recipes!
Why? Because homemade treats like donuts are not only going to save you money they’re also going to save you from unwanted belly fat.
How? Homemade is lower in sugar, lower in calories and lower in fat. Trans fats are laden in store-bought treats along with preservatives making you feel sluggish and bloated. Trans fats promote the deposition of fat in the belly area.
To show how trans fats can lead to weight gain, a study tested if monkeys would gain weight being fed trans fats or monounsaturated fats.
The result was that the monkeys on the trans-fats diet gained nearly four times as much weight and had 30% more tummy fat than the monkey’s fed the healthy monounsaturated fat. So incorporated these good fats in the form of avocado, nuts and olive oil.
3. White rice for brown rice
As a general rule of thumb, the darker the color, the better!
Swapping refined grains (white) with whole grains (brown) is your best bet to blast the belly fat as whole grains don’t cause the blood sugar spikes after eating that refined grains trigger, which means insulin levels remain lower.
Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008 compared obese adults who ate refined grains with those who ate whole grains. After 12 weeks, both groups had lost the same amount of weight, but those who ate whole grains lost double the amount of belly fat.
Use brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread, whole wheat tortillas and so on.
4. Swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate
Dark chocolate contains belly fat fighting monounsaturated fat and free-radical-fighting flavonoids.
Dark chocolate also has heart-protecting properties. The British Medical Journal states “protective effects have only been shown for dark chocolate (at least 60-70% cocoa), rather than for milk or white chocolate, probably due to the higher levels of flavonoids found in dark chocolate.”
Because dark chocolate is very rich, you’ll also eat less. Win-win!
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