You’ve probably heard the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” That adage applies to a flat stomach as well, whether or not you’re aiming for a six-pack. According to experts, what you eat and drink can significantly affect how your stomach looks.
In terms of metabolism, fat storage, and fat breakdown, diet is crucial, according to Holly Klamer, MS, RDN, of the My Crohn’s and Colitis Team. Therefore, it’s crucial to losing weight and attempting to acquire a flat stomach.
It’s also critical to keep in mind that other elements, including heredity, stress, and hormone levels, may be at play.
According to Liz Weinandy, RD at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, “I would warn individuals to not get caught up in having a flat stomach as much as thinking about a healthy lifestyle that involves regular activity and a healthy eating pattern.” “Abdominal weight gain is more likely in women who have had menopause and some persons are genetically inclined to having extra abdominal fat.”
With that in mind, here are several dietary practices you should definitely avoid if you want to get or keep a flat stomach. Check out The 5 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now from our list of recommended foods after that.
1. Consuming too much artificial sweetener.
While you might believe that choosing sugar-free sodas, ice creams, yogurts, and sweets is a better choice, the truth is that many of these “diet” foods contain artificial sweeteners that might undermine your efforts to reduce belly fat.
They don’t break down in the digestive tract and, according to Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, senior director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training for Herbalife Nutrition, might cause bloating in certain people.
Particularly, Bowerman suggests minimizing your intake of sugar alcohols like xylitol and sorbitol. Stick to more GI-friendly alternatives like stevia and monk fruit extract if you’re attempting to avoid real sugar (which can also contribute to belly fat).
2. Not drinking enough water.
Many people believe that drinking a lot of water makes them bloated, but the truth is that it helps your body digest food more quickly.
Weinandy notes that water “helps that fiber flow on through and
can help prevent constipation.”
Additionally, by substituting water for soda, juice, or other sugary drinks, you can reduce your calorie intake and move closer to your goal of a flat stomach.
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine advise men should drink roughly 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) per day and women 11.5 cups (2.7 liters).
3. Going overboard on carbs
There’s no need to eliminate all carbohydrates from your diet in order to get a flat stomach; in fact, as was already said, fiber-rich meals can help you feel full and maintain a healthy digestive system. However, Weinandy points out that cutting back on carbs may be advantageous for some people. For instance, instead of completely eliminating them from your diet, think about only eating them for breakfast and lunch, paying attention to amounts, and putting vegetables, fruits, and lean protein first.
According to certain research, a lower-carb diet makes it simpler to lose some abdominal fat, adds Weinandy. However, if you follow a low-carb diet and consume a lot of saturated fat, it could damage your heart by increasing hazardous levels of LDL cholesterol.
4. Skipping breakfast
Many people skip breakfast because they don’t have enough time or aren’t hungry, but Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RDN, presenter of the Sound Bites podcast, says it’s important to start your day with a nutrient-dense, satisfying meal with a mix of whole grains, fruits or vegetables, and lean protein.
Oatmeal is one of Dobbins’ top recommendations for a flat-belly breakfast since it’s a great source of soluble fiber, which slows digestion and helps people feel full both during and after meals. In fact, it has been experimentally demonstrated that oats can keep you full between meals.
Dobbins advises preparing breakfast the night before if you frequently run late for work. Additionally, according to her, you should try to include two to three different food groups in each meal. Some examples include hard-boiled eggs with avocado and whole-wheat wraps, smoothies with almond butter, banana, and spinach, and Greek yogurt with seeds and berries. Or prepare one of these 51 Recipes for Healthy Overnight Oats!