Having trouble fastening the waistband of your jeans? The link between eating too much sugar and watching your waist expand is well known, but scientific studies reveal that excess sugar is not the only culprit. Trans fats in packaged foods can lead to insulin resistance, which causes sugar to linger in your body and increases weight. Dairy foods that are tough to digest can lead to belly fat for a surprising reason. Keep reading to find out the surprising foods that cause belly fat.
Cheese and dairy
Research indicates that an unhealthy balance of gut bacteria may promote weight gain, including belly fat. A certain type of bacteria, Firmicutes, may increase the calories that are absorbed from food. Studies find people who are obese tend to have greater numbers of this bacteria than people whose weight is considered normal. Many people find cheese and dairy food difficult to digest, and lactose that remains undigested becomes a food for bad Firmicutes bacteria in the gut.
Limiting dairy and cheese consumption and increasing consumption of probiotic-rich foods such as miso, tamari, sauerkraut and organic yogurt can boost healthy gut flora levels.
Soda and sweet tea
Drinks that are sweetened with sugar such as popular sodas, sweet tea and flavored coffees can really pack on inches around the waist in a short period of time. Drinking these sweet concoctions makes it easy to consume large amounts of sugar very quickly.
Liquid calories are problematic because drinking calories won’t fill you up in the same way that eating solid food does; and are usually higher in sugar and unhealthy ingredients.
Many of those “healthy” snack bars are high-sugar, processed junk foods that contain trans fats to extend their shelf life. Some animal studies suggest that diets containing trans fats may cause excess belly fat.
The trans fats found in packaged muffins, crackers and baking mixes have been shown to cause inflammation that can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means your body does not process sugars as it would normally, and so sugars remain in the blood and contribute to weight gain. Some animal studies suggest that diets containing trans fats may cause excess belly fat.
High alcohol intake has been linked to weight gain around the tummy from excess calories from alcohol partly stored as belly fat. Alcohol also suppresses fat burning. One study found that men who had more than three drinks each day were 80 percent more likely to have excess belly fat than men who consumed less alcohol.
High alcohol consumption leads to more than just “beer belly” syndrome. Drinking also may cause inflammation, liver disease and other health problems. Research shows that those who did not drink daily but consumed four or more drinks in one day were more likely to have excess belly fat than those who drank every day but consumed less than one drink.
Fruit juice is a sugary beverage in disguise that can promote insulin resistance and belly fat gain if you drink too much of it. Fruit juice provides some vitamins and minerals, but even unsweetened 100 percent fruit juice contains a lot of sugar. The fructose in fruit juice can drive insulin resistance and promote belly fat.