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Foods & Beverages to Avoid

If you're struggling to whittle down your midsection and achieve the "six pack" that has become synonymous with good abdominals, you're certainly not alone. The battle of the bulge is a common one -- and, all too often, a losing one -- in today's hectic world of fast food and super-sized indulgences.

What many people quickly come to realize is that committing to a disciplined regimen of abdominal exercises is usually not the only component in achieving a trimmer waistline. Although there are some exceptions, a large majority of us will also need to focus on diet to obtain the results we want. Hundreds of crunches a day won't counteract a daily menu of fatty, greasy foods.

While there are many foods that are touted for their advantageous impact on flatter abdominals, there's a flip side of the coin, too. Certain foods and beverages have been shown to directly counteract your efforts to reduce belly fat, contributing to the dreaded "spare tire" we all want to avoid. Below, we've compiled a listing of these abdominal adversaries. If you must indulge in any of these, remember that moderation (and portion size) is key.

Excessive Amounts of Carbohydrates

We're not recommending that you cut them out of your diet entirely, but too many carbs can cause bloating and weight gain. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which nestles itself into your muscles in the form of water-retaining glycogen. When planning your menu, choose your carbs carefully. For example, fruits and vegetables are better carb choices than bread, pasta, and other gas-producing starches.

Empty Calorie Foods

While they may taste great, these high-carb treats aren't doing you any favors in the abdominal department. Avoid any foods that are high in carbohydrates or sodium, such as sweets, candy, and greasy fast foods. These are usually lacking in nutrients, with little to no fiber content. Filling up on this type of fare will gain you little in the way of energy and much more in the way of bloating.

Carbonated Beverages

Many dieters believe that drinking zero-calorie soda won't have a negative impact on their physique, but the truth is that the carbonation in fizzy drinks -- even sparkling water -- can cause belly bloating when the gas from the carbonation settles in the stomach. Also, the artificial sweeteners used in many diet drinks can have a bloating effect. Stick to iced tea or regular spring water for best results.

High-fiber Foods

Although fiber is generally viewed as an aid in achieving a trimmer tummy, too much of a good thing can go bad. Some high-fiber foods can cause a puffy midsection when consumed in large quantities. Be selective when munching on such offenders as beans, cabbage, garlic, broccoli, onions, and sprouts.

Milk & Dairy Products

For those with lactose intolerance, milk and dairy products can cause bloating and discomfort in the abdominal area. To counteract this, opt for calcium supplements instead.

Salt & High-sodium Foods

Sodium is a known culprit when it comes to bloating of the midsection and gastrointestinal discomfort. Try to stay away from processed foods, such as pre-packaged meats, and foods with large amounts of seasoning. Also, refrain from liberal amounts of salt when preparing your own meals.


The occasional social drink is fine, but a little goes a long way. Large amounts of alcoholic beverages --especially in the evening -- are proven to have a bloating effect.

Avoiding these foods and beverages -- or, at a minimum, reducing their prominence in your daily diet -- will aid you tremendously in your efforts to achieve lean, sculpted abdominals.

M. Spencer, author of

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1 comment:

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