What Foods Cause Belly Fat?

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Fatty Foods Contain Fat

  • Foods high in fat are a primary culprit in excess belly fat, as digested fat content is quickly stored as fat in the body. High fat foods--especially red meat, butter and cream---are also high in saturated fats, a major component in heart and artery-related illnesses. Even worse, however, are fried foods; in addition to being infused with almost pure fat while frying in the vat, these foods are commonly rolled in flour and coated in floury confections. Because the body breaks down flour products into sugar, fried foods deliver a double dose of sugar and fat, two primary drivers of excess belly fat. Some consumers may attempt to consume only small portions of fried foods, or eat fried and fatty foods only at certain times, but the foods often induce cravings for more high-fat foods. To avoid these foods and reduce belly fat, consumers may consider alternatives like fruits, baked or broiled fish and vegetables (French fried vegetables, however, should be avoided).

Sugary Foods are Stored as Fat

  • Foods high in sugar content are also a major contributor to belly fat, as sugar takes a very direct route between the mouth and the belly. When high-sugar foods are consumed, the body converts these calories into energy for immediate use. If the consumer is not highly active, however, these calories are converted into fat and stored for later use, usually in the belly area. High-sugar foods like candy, sodas and pastries offer tremendous amounts of sugar that the body can convert into energy very quickly, usually within two to four hours. While these foods may have no apparent effects that quickly after being eaten, repeated consumption of high-sugar foods can pad the belly area with fat in just a few weeks. To avert this effect, consumers may consider participating in high-energy activities to burn the sugar and calories or replacing high-sugar foods with low-sugar alternatives like white meat or vegetables.

Salty Foods Pad Fat Cells

  • Sodium, commonly referred to simply as "salt," is another major factor in excess belly fat; the reasons behind sodium's role in belly fat are somewhat different, however. While sugar and fats are converted into energy then stored as fat, sodium is used as an agent to further digest other foods. As the digestive process nears completion, the excess sodium is absorbed into the body, usually passing through the belly region before heading elsewhere. While absorbed sodium is not directly converted to fat, its salty nature causes the body to surround each sodium particle with water, exponentially inflating the fat cells where the sodium is stored. Very high sodium foods can cause consumers to become bloated, and the water-filled areas around the belly appear puffy and fat. While a typical consumer needs only 500-1,000 milligrams of sodium per day, many individuals consume up to six times that much, resulting in large amounts of excess belly fat. To help reduce the effects of salty foods like peanuts, french fries and pickles, consumers may consider lower salt alternatives like natural fruits and vegetables. In addition, drinking substantial amounts of water after eating sodium-rich foods can help improve water circulation, reducing the stored water and fatty appearance in the belly.

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