SHOULD YOU AVOID THESE 10 FOODS?
In this post, I’m going to show which 10 foods to avoid to lose stomach fat and get a flatter looking tummy!
WHY TUMMY FAT?
Did you know that tummy fat is linked more closely with excess inflammation in the body (creating an environment that is more likely to lead to diseases) than any other kind of body fat?
When I was overweight, I know that I didn’t feel as confident or comfortable in clothes as I do now – I also felt very self conscious about my stomach area and so I didn’t feel good wearing a bikini or jeans… or even a t-shirt that wasn’t loose fitting.
Being overweight and having an excess amount of tummy fat has not only been linked to sickness & disease in the body, it can also be something that makes us feel uncomfortable in clothes and less confident.
WHAT FOODS + WHY?
I know that a lot of women don’t know what foods to eat and which foods to avoid to lose weight (to get a more toned stomach) – and so I wanted to share my top 10 list of foods to avoid for a flatter tummy and then give some examples of healthier alternatives or realistic portion sizes.
I cut out or cut down on all of these foods while I was trying to lose weight and get flatter, more toned abs. Some of these foods are healthy (but are high in calories) and should be eaten mindfully (realistic serving sizes) while others are just plain unhealthy and should be avoided if possible.
Also check out my top 13 foods to eat for a flatter tummy!
1. White flours & wheat
Wheat and white flours are probably the biggest culprits on earth for obesity and weight gain, as well as the inability to lose weight. White flours and wheat are found in most (almost all) breads, rolls, cakes, cookies, desserts, pastries and pasta.
» While wheat is the most commonly used grain worldwide, other grains such as corn and rice are now also being processed into white flours too.
» Several studies have shown that processed white flours and wheat flours are one of main causes of obesity, cellulite, fatigue, low energy, sickness, depression, anxiety, allergies and disease.
» Processed white flours and grains usually contain little to no nutrients, no fiber and they have often been bleached (bleach is obviously bad for us to cosume). During the process of refining flours – to make them white, the flour becomes basically like pure sugar (because it no longer contains any protein, fiber or nutrients) and it is then processed in the body the same way as refined white sugar.
» There’s 455 calories in 1 cup of standard white wheat flour, and literally no nutrients. Other affects of eating white four and white flour products include bloating, water retention, sugar crashes and digestive issues like constipation & diarrhoea.
» For weight loss it’s best to stick to 100% wholegrain products and wholegrain stoneground flours – these are a lot more nutritious and more filling!
Dairy is commonly eaten all over the world every single day, but few people realise how calorie dense it actually is.
» 1 cup of full cream milk contains 150 calories – and while fat-reduced dairy products are popular choices, 1 cup of 2% milk still contains 120 calories and the same amount of 1% milk will give you 100 calories.
» Yoghurt is another high calorie culprit – 1 cup of full cream yoghurt is 170 calories, 1 cup fat-free yoghurt is 120 calories and the increasingly popular double-cream yoghurt (popular thanks to the banting diet) has 230 calories per cup.
» Even though calorie dense, dairy products are a great source of protein and healthy fat – but take note that reduced-fat and fat-free options offer little to no protein or fat, and may only contain carbs.
» For weight loss purposes, dairy products like cheese (400 calories per 100g of cheddar or gouda), milk and yoghurt are best when eaten in moderation.
» To get enough protein and healthy fats in your diet, full cream dairy options may be the healthiest – even though they are calorically high, they will be the most filling. A good breakfast option could include 1 cup unsweetened full cream yoghurt with 1 cup of fresh berries and 20 raw almonds.
Although beans, chickpea’s, lentils and peas are common protein choices for vegans & plant-based eaters – they are very high in calories.
» Legumes are known for being high in protein, but they actually contain an almost exact amount of carbs.
» One of the biggest mistakes that I made while following a vegan diet was eating too many legumes (because they are so high in calories) – this caused me to gain a huge amount of weight very quickly, and at the time I had no clue why.
» 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas has 140 calories, 1/2 cup cooked black beans has 114 calories, 1/2 cup lentils has 162 calories and 1/2 cup cooked split peas contains between 115 and 150 calories.
» You can eat legumes, because they are nutritious – but just be mindful of calories, because legumes are often one of the biggest culprits for weight gain.
The number 1 cause of obesity? 1 cup of white sugar will give you 773 calories and absolutely no nutritional value. Sugar causes inflammation in the body (resulting in sickness and disease), affects insulin resistance (often causing diabetes), sugar crashes, bad energy levels, fatigue, headaches, sinus, cellulite and obesity.
» Refined white sugar is one of the most consumed foods in the world and sadly it will be one of the ingredients in almost every food item you find in the store.
» Fortunately, the disastrous health affects of eating sugar have become more known in the last few years and so many health food companies are starting to bring out products that contain healthy alternatives to sugar like honey, 100% pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, xylitol and stevia.
» While honey, pure maple syrup and coconut sugar offer a similar calorie content to refined sugar, the impact on the body is very different. These natural sweeteners actually contain nutrients like vitamins & minerals and are kinder to the body.
» Sweeteners like xylitol contains roughly half the calories of sugar and stevia contains almost zero.
» Healthy fats and protein help the body to process sugars, making it more insulin resistant – try eating a small amount of fats & protein when you eat sugary foods and carbs!
5. Fruit juice & fresh juices
Glasses of fruit juice and fresh juice (even freshly squeezed orange juice) can be very high calorically. If you think that 1 small glass of OJ can often contain the juice from 10 oranges (and each orange is roughly 62 calories), then 1 small glass of juice can easily be 620 calories – it’s crazy!
» While freshly squeezed or pressed juices are at least still quite nutrient dense, store bought juices are often seriously lacking in nutrients.
» Store bought juices, whether they are bottled or boxed (even if they are 100%) are usually pasteurised and are often made from concentrates – they also usually contain added sugar and preservatives.
» Pasteurisation is the process in which fruit juices are heated at a very high temperature to kill bacteria which can cause the juice to go bad within a few days (pasteurised milk goes through the same process). Unfortunately, during this process the juice actually loses most of it’s nutrients – the results are that you are usually left with a nutrient-lacking, high calorie drink that is basically just sugar water.
» Juices made from concentrates or that have been “reconstituted” are the worst kinds of juices to drink. To make concentrate, the water is removed from juice to make is more easily packaged & more transportable – it is then re-added later to make juice once again (once it has reached it’s destination). During this process, almost all nutrients are lost and what is left is basically flavoured syrup.
» For weight loss, try to avoid juices if you can simply because they are very calorie dense and they won’t fill you up – but if you do drink one every now and again then go for a freshly squeezed juice without any added sugar.
Drinking your calories can become a very bad habit and can cause a huge amount of weight gain – very fast. All soda’s and soft drinks are loaded with sugars, syrups and lots of calories.
» 1 small can of coke contains 140 calories, large cans can contain double that.
» But don’t be tricked into buying “diet” soda’s either – while diet foods and drinks might be a little lower in calories, they are way worse for us.
» Artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame, Acesulfame K and non-nutritive sweeteners have been proven to cause brain tumours, bad migraines and other disastrous side affects.
» As far as weight loss and health go, I’d rather give soda’s a skip altogether!
7. Salad dressing
Salad dressing is the sneakiest “weight gain food” in disguise. It’s easy to think that you are eating a low calorie meal while grazing on salad, but if you are smothering your greens in salad dressing then you could be consuming calories equal to the amounts found in cheese covered pizza & oil drenched french fries!
» Store bought salad dressings (even the healthier ones) usually contain high amounts of fat and sugar, making them very high calorically.
» I find that the best salad dressing is simply a squeeze of fresh lemon juice mixed with a drizzle of cold-pressed olive oil (about 1 teaspoon per serving), sea salt and cracked black pepper.
» This might sound boring but this combination helps to enhance the flavour of any salad dish, plus its super low in calories – and the olive oil makes it quite creamy.
Potatoes in their natural form (not french fries) are obviously healthy (they contain important vitamins & nutrients) but what makes them more fattening than other carbs like sweet potato, butternut squash, oats (whole rolled or steel cut), brown rice and quinoa (these are all good carb choices) is that fact that they have such a high glycemic index.
» The GL of a potato is close to 90, while the GL of a sweet potato ranges between 50 and 70 (depending on the type). The GL of common grains is much lower – oatmeal is 55, quinoa is 53 and brown rice is 50.
» Regular potatoes are also very high in calories – 1 medium potato contains 163 calories and 1 medium sweet potato contains only 100 calories. In comparison, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa has 111 calories, 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal has 110 calories, 1/2 cup cooked brown rice has 109 calories and 1 cup diced butternut will give you only 64 calories.
» Potatoes are not “bad” (they are full of nutrients), but if you are trying to lose weight then just eat them in moderation!
9. Dried fruit
Dried fruit contains more calories than fresh fruit because once the juice (water) has been evaporated through the dehydrating process, and so the dried fruit becomes more concentrated.
» Water is one of the things that makes fruit filling and so without it you need to eat more dried fruit to become full. If you eat fresh fruit you will become fuller quicker.
» Apart from being naturally higher in calories per gram than fresh fruit, dried fruit is also often coated with sugar which increases the calorie content even more.
» For weight loss and flatter abs, eating fresh fruit is a far better choice than eating dried fruit.
10. Energy bars and snack bars
Most snack bars and energy bars (even the healthy ones) are loaded with calories. Snack bars, energy bars and protein bars have become one of the biggest fads of the health food industry.
» Companies that make these bars are tricking us into believing that they are healthy and often make us believe that they are good for weight loss.
» While some snack bars may be healthy, most of them are loaded with sugar, artificial flavouring, colorants, preservatives and often refined flours.
» While these bars can sometimes seem to make our lives easier (because they are easy to carry around & keep for snacks on-the-go), the truth is that we are better off carrying around a few raw nuts and a piece of fruit to eat as a snack.
» Healthy bars are obviously a better choice (and if I do ever buy one it will be made purely from dates & raw nuts) but even these can be fattening). 1 medjool date contains a whopping 66 calories, 20 raw almonds contain 140 calories and high calorie nuts like macadamia nuts will give you 20 calories per nut (200 calories per 10 nuts).
» My favourite low calorie snack to have is 1/2 cup of blueberries (40 calories) with a few raw almonds – so yummy!
It can be difficult to keep dieting if you don’t see the results that you want right away – but don’t give up! Getting fit, losing weight and getting abs that you are proud of is a journey. It will take time, but having patience to let your body change and adapt is the only way to make progress.
Treat your body with respect by feeding it well with healthy, nutritious food – while being mindful of the calories that you consume (there’s no need to be obsessed with calorie counting though).
Remember that diet is the most important part of weight loss – you’ve heard the saying “you can’t out exercise a bad diet” haven’t you? But being active is important too! Take part in my 16 minute workout challenge (everyone has 16 minutes) 3 times a week for an extra weight loss boost.
I hope that you found this post helpful, and I hope that it will help you to achieve your goals!
Lots of love from Liezl Jayne xo
Photos by Liezl Jayne Strydom for liezljayne.com – Photo of Liezl Jayne by Ross Charnock