Many of us carry excess weight around the middle and belly fat is much worse than other fat, like the kind around your hips and thighs because it messes with hormone production and increases inflammation. In turn, belly fat can heighten the risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

Salmon, Greek yogurt, more: 5 foods to blast dangerous belly fat

Feb. 3, 201703:32

Trimming just 1 inch could give you a huge health boost. To measure your middle, stand and place a tape measure around your waist just above your hipbones. Measure after you breathe out. Women should be below 35 inches; men below 40 inches.

Of course, exercise can help trim belly fat, but you can also do it through diet — not only by removing foods, but by adding certain foods, such as these:

1. Salmon

The popular seafood pick is loaded with protein, which can help you feel satiated so that you eat less throughout the day. It’s also one of the richest sources of vitamin D, which can help minimize belly fat because it’s involved in the production of hormones that regulate appetite and signal belly fat cells to burn off.

There are a million ways to prepare it: Try salmon grilled, baked, broiled, even mashed into this yummy wild salmon and chickpea salad or delicious pesto salmon with roasted artichoke hearts.

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2. Greek yogurt

Low-fat Greek yogurt contains twice as much satiating protein as traditional yogurt, which can keep you feeling fuller longer and control appetite. That can translate to less belly fat.

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Also, yogurt is rich in calcium and research has linked calcium to lower levels of abdominal fat. Of course, all the nutrients in food work together, but calcium has been singled out because experts believe it may help to increase fat burn, reduce fat absorption, and slightly rev metabolism. Yogurt also contains probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that help your digestive system and may promote a healthy weight, according to a study in Nutrition and Metabolism.

Make a yogurt parfait with granola and chopped fruit; use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream on a baked potato or bowl of chili; or try it in place of mayo in this healthy egg salad recipe.

3. Artichokes

While yogurt has probiotics, artichokes are prebiotics, which mean they feed the probiotics in the gut, enabling them to do their jobs.

The combination of prebiotics and probiotics create a gut filled with good bacteria — and good bacteria are so important when it comes to belly fat because they help to play interference with fat storage and reduce inflammation.

Toss chopped canned artichoke hearts into salads, soups and pasta; or make these tasty roasted artichoke hearts.

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4. Broccoli

Broccoli can help burn belly fat for a few key reasons.

First, a few studies have shown a relationship between people who consume ample amounts of deep-colored veggies (specifically green, yellow and orange) and lower levels of visceral fat, the dangerous fat around your organs.

Broccoli, in particular, is such a standout among all the deep-colored veggies because it’s one of the few that contain calcium, which has been shown to increase fat loss, especially in the abdominal area. And interestingly enough, a large-scale observational study suggests that calcium from food seems to be more effective than calcium from supplements — another good reason to eat your greens.

You can’t go wrong simply roasting broccoli with some olive oil and seasonings in the oven. Or, try my kid-friendly broccoli tater tot recipe.

5. Onions

Onions contain a type of soluble fiber called inulin, which acts as a prebiotic — just like artichokes.

Again, this is important for good gut health, and according to preliminary studies, may also help facilitate weight loss in the abdominal area.

Not to mention, onions are an easy way to add loads of flavor to a variety of dishes — everything from soups, stews, sandwiches, tacos, burgers and pizza, you name it — without adding calories, fat, sodium or sugar.

Whip up delicious caramelized onions and enjoy them in this caramelized onions and mushrooms recipe.

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Beyond obviously being delicious, recent research has shown that eating yogurt can help people drop pounds. “Yogurt can be a great snack for weight loss because of its protein content,” says Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. “It helps keep you full so you’re not starved an hour after you eat.” The thing is, there are a few common yogurt mistakes that can turn this weight-loss weapon into a secret calorie bomb. Here are the habits to avoid so you can reap the healthy benefits:

Focusing Too Much on Calories
Calorie counting can be helpful when you’re trying to stay on top of your food intake, but it may be misleading when it comes to yogurt. “A lot of yogurts that are low in calories and actively promote that don’t have enough protein,” says Gans. Rather than only looking at how many calories a container racks up, be sure to check out the protein level, too. “A yogurt may be 100 calories but only have six grams of protein,” says Gans. “In that case, you would probably be better off choosing one that has more calories but 12 to 15 grams of protein so it’s easier to stay full until your next meal.”

MORE: 7 High-Protein Snacks That Can Help You Lose Weight

Not Measuring Portions
“Buying a big container and dishing it out is a great way to save money you would spend on individual portions,” says Gans. But your instincts may lead you to over-serve yourself. Don’t just gauge portions with your eyes—actually measure them out to make sure you’re not going overboard. “Most single-serve containers are six ounces, but if you’re dishing from a larger container you can aim for a cup,” says Gans.

Adding Too Many Extras
Buying plain yogurt and adding your own extras is a great idea in theory, but in practice you could be sabotaging your healthy-eating efforts. “People will add honey to sweeten, cereal for some crunch, or maybe nuts and fruit,” says Gans. “All of these things can be great additions, but in modest amounts. It’s very easy to turn yogurt from a snack into a meal without realizing it.” First, decide if you’re having yogurt as a snack or as a full-on breakfast. If it’s just a snack, keep it at no more than 200 calories. “That’s room for around a cup of yogurt, fruit, and maybe a light sprinkle of nuts,” says Gans. If you’re using it as a breakfast, Gans suggests adding a serving of cereal and a serving of fruit, but still no more than an ounce of nuts to avoid going too high in calories.

MORE: Is Your Yogurt Full of Nano Particles?

Going for Fat-Free
“Fat-free yogurt might be overcompensating in another area like sugar,” says Gans. All yogurt will have naturally occurring sugars as a byproduct of coming from milk, but some have insane amounts of added sugars to boost the taste. If the total sugar content of one serving is above 18 grams or if sugar is the first ingredient on the label, try a different kind. “Nobody needs to do fat-free unless they actually prefer the taste of it, but I also think people don’t need to do full-fat unless they’re not getting enough of it in the rest of their diet,” says Gans. Instead, she recommends buying low-fat and checking the ingredients list to make sure you’re getting enough protein and not too much sugar. It’s totally fine to get the kind that already comes with fruit as long as sugar doesn’t come before it on the label.

Seeking Out Probiotics Above All Else
Given that plenty of studies suggest probiotics are beneficial, they’re poised to become one of the newest “It” ingredients. “Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because a label mentions probiotics, it’s healthy,” says Gans, who thinks of it as an added bonus rather than something you should seek out above all other ingredients. “It is possible to eat too much yogurt, and I can’t say probiotics are directly related to weight loss” says Gans. While it’s fine to hop on the probiotics train, there’s no need to start loading your diet with yogurt to get your fill.

Turning to Parfaits
We can’t blame you, they’re so pretty! But they can often be a dressed-up disguise for an unhealthy snack. “Parfaits can be very misleading,” says Gans. “They might have full-fat yogurt, and they’re usually packed with granola.” Even more, the layers of granola break up the yogurt and make it easy to think you’re eating less than you actually are. If you’re in a rush and jonesing for a dairy fix, go for a regular packaged yogurt. Even better, when you have time you can make a healthy parfait of your own.

MORE: The Best Yogurt for You

5 Foods That Banish Belly Fat

By Heather Dale, FitSugar

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There are exercises that target your abs to help you get the rock-hard stomach you’ve always dreamed of. But if you really want to double-team belly bulge, you’ll need to eliminate sugar and processed carbs while also incorporating fat-burning foods into your diet. Keep reading to see which foods can help trim inches from your waistline!

Oatmeal
You may think that eating less will help you lose weight, but you should never skip meals, especially the first meal of the day. Eating a healthy breakfast jump-starts your metabolism, regulates your blood sugar levels, and gives you energy to carry you through lunchtime. Fiber-rich oatmeal is a great option because it’s filling, so you won’t indulge in a muffin or bagel by midmorning. Opt for plain oatmeal since the flavored brands can be full of sugar.

Try this delicious Berry Cinnamon Oatmeal recipe.

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Blueberries
Research has shown that a diet rich in blueberries may help diminish belly fat. Even if blueberries are frozen, they maintain most of their nutritional benefits.

Almonds
It’s said that MUFAs (monounsaturated fats) are a secret ingredient that helps burn away belly fat. Almonds are a good source of monounsaturated fats and help curb cravings since they are a good source of vegetable protein and fiber.

No need to eat the nuts straight! Give this Almond Berry Banana Yogurt Smoothie a whirl.

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Salmon
Cutting down on fried, fatty, calorie-rich foods in order to obtain lean abs is a must. What’s great about lean proteins like fish, tofu, or turkey meat, is that they provide you with lots of energy and burn more calories when digested.

When choosing a fish, try salmon or tuna since they are both high in omega-3s, which reduce inflammation in the body and can help regulate your hormones.

Lettuce
Green veggies like romaine lettuce, arugula, spinach, and broccoli are not only packed with vitamins and minerals, low in calories, but contain a high amount of fiber as well. Make yourself a ginormous salad for lunch and it’ll keep you filled throughout the afternoon. Or have a smaller salad before a meal, and you’ll find yourself eating less of the main course.

Abs Are Made in the Kitchen: Foods to Eat and Avoid

Aside from hitting the gym, choosing the right foods can help you get abs quicker. Here are a few of the best foods to eat on an ab-building diet.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and veggies are very nutrient-dense, meaning that they’re low in calories but high in antioxidants, fiber, and an assortment of vitamins and minerals (6).

They may also boost weight loss and fat burning, making them a must-have for any ab-building diet.

According to a review of 10 studies, eating at least 4 servings of veggies per day was associated with a lower risk of weight gain and reduced waist circumference in women (7).

Another study in 26,340 people showed that eating more fruits and veggies was linked to lower body weight and less overall body fat, while more fruit intake was tied to less belly fat (8).

Whole grains

Whole grains like oats, barley, buckwheat, and quinoa can be a great addition to your diet if you’re looking to get abs.

In addition to being high in fiber, which can enhance weight loss, digestion, and blood sugar levels, whole grains are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (9, 10).

Some research suggests that eating whole grains can reduce appetite and influence your body’s energy use, both of which can affect body composition (11).

One small, 12-week study in 50 people also found that swapping refined wheat bread for whole-grain wheat bread led to significant reductions in belly fat (12).

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds provide the perfect balance of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, all of which can be incredibly beneficial for getting abs.

In a 6-week study in 48 people, eating 1.5 ounces (43 grams) of almonds per day led to significant reductions in belly fat (13).

Another study in 26 people showed that eating 1.2 ounces (35 grams) of chia flour daily for 12 weeks decreased body weight and waist circumference (14).

Pistachios, walnuts, almonds, pecans, and Brazil nuts are all great nuts to incorporate into your diet, alongside seeds like chia, flax, pumpkin, and hemp.

Fatty fish

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which play a key role in heart health, brain function, inflammation, and weight control (15, 16, 17).

Eating fish can not only help you drop belly fat but also potentially reduce rick factors for heart disease, such as high triglyceride levels.

One study in 2,874 adults found that those who regularly ate fatty fish tended to have less belly fat and lower triglyceride levels. Similarly, eating lean fish was tied to lower waist circumference and triglyceride levels in women (18).

What’s more, fish is high in protein, which may promote abdominal toning.

Research suggests that higher protein intake may be associated with less belly fat and could help reduce appetite and increase weight loss (2, 19, 20).

Legumes

Legumes are a family of plants that include lentils, beans, peas, and peanuts.

They’re typically a great source of essential nutrients like protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, and zinc (21).

In particular, eating more protein has been linked to improvements in body composition and reductions in belly fat (19, 20, 22).

Meanwhile, increased fiber intake is associated with weight loss and decreased belly fat (23, 24).

Tea

Green tea has been studied for its potential to rev up weight loss and fat burning.

This is largely due to the presence of catechins like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a compound shown to increase the number of calories burned throughout the day (25).

One review of six studies noted that regular green tea intake led to a decrease in belly fat, weight, and waist circumference (26).

Black tea is also rich in flavonoid compounds that can stimulate weight loss.

Other teas, such as white, oolong, and herbal varieties, may also be beneficial.

In fact, a study in 6,432 people determined that tea drinkers tend to have lower body weight and waist circumference than people who don’t drink tea (28).

Summary Fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, legumes, and tea are all nutritious additions to an ab-building diet.

Want Six-Pack Abs? 15 Foods That Help Get Rid of Belly Fat

Crunches? Check. Planks? Check. You’ve done every core workout under the sun, so where are the promised six-pack abs? If your muscles are still hiding under a pesky layer of belly fat, it might be time to reconsider your diet choices. Luckily, it’s not too late to change your ways and uncover your abs before beach season has come and gone. Cut back on the carbs, as Muscle & Fitness advises, and stick to only eating them in the morning or right before a workout. And don’t forget to skip the junk food!

When it comes to what foods you should put in your body, reach for any of these 15 options to speed your way to six-pack abs.

1. Broccoli

Broccoli is a veggie to always have on hand. | iStock.com

If you’re trying to kill your gut, dark green veggies like broccoli are a necessity. Broccoli may have the potential to make you feel a little bloated at first, which seems pretty counter-intuitive if you’re trying to slim down. But since this low-calorie veggie is packed with fiber and nutrients, research shows it will fill you up and help you lose weight. You can’t spot-treat your midsection to reduce flab, so losing weight in general will help you achieve the six-pack of your dreams. For the same effect, chow down on some kale, spinach, or other dark green veggies.

2. Eggs

Eggs are a great food for fighting belly fat. | iStock.com

Eggs have been your longtime fitness friend. Since they’re packed with protein, a morning omelet or scramble is a great option before a workout. But did you know eggs also contain a nutrient called choline that boosts your metabolism? According to Eat This, Not That!, research has shown eating eggs for breakfast makes it easier to lose weight and shred those abs. If you want to maximize on eggs’ sculpting potential, hard boil a few and bring them to work as an afternoon snack.

3. Green tea

Green tea is great for your middle. | iStock.com

Instead of reaching for that protein shake right after the gym, consider steeping some hot tea. Research suggests green tea may greatly aid in weight loss, which is good news for your emerging six-pack. The reason for this miraculous phenomenon? According to a meta-analysis published in the International Journal of Obesity, green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate, a natural chemical compound that causes the body to use fat as fuel. And of course, since it’s a zero-calorie beverage, you can drink as much green tea as you’d like without worrying about adding weight.

4. Yogurt

Protein-packed yogurt can help uncover six-pack abs. | iStock.com

Dairy is another crucial element of an ab-sculpting diet. Research has shown that incorporating this calcium and protein source into your daily meals will help you eliminate fat, especially around your stomach. In fact, one study published by the International Journal of Obesity found consuming yogurt greatly reduced belly fat in obese participants. Half of the participants got their calcium from yogurt while the other opted for supplements. Both groups were also put on diets to cut 500 calories per day. After 12 weeks, those who consumed the yogurt lost a lot more weight, most of which was from their midsection.

While dairy is a great option for trimming down, The Huffington Post Canada reminds readers to beware added sugar. Stick to products like unsweetened Greek yogurt or skim milk over flavored, sweetened options.

5. Lean meat

Turkey breast is an awesome source of lean protein. | iStock.com

When it comes to meat, the leaner the better. This added protein helps you stay full and keeps you from overeating during subsequent meals. In fact, protein has been shown to boost post-meal calorie burn significantly, which is great news for your long-awaited six-pack. Go for options like lean turkey, chicken, or salmon. In addition to the protein benefits, turkey breast contains nearly one-third of your daily requirements of niacin and vitamin B6.

6. Bananas

Bananas are good for trimming belly fat. | iStock.com

There seems to be a never-ending debate in the fitness world about bananas. But when it comes to uncovering your abs, bananas are key. They increase bacteria in the stomach that reduces gas build-up, plus all the potassium cuts down on water retention (aka, no more ab-hiding belly bloat). Throw some bananas in your oatmeal, or bring a few to the gym as a pre- or post-workout snack. Your gut will thank you.

7. Split peas

Split peas are filled with fiber. | iStock.com

When it comes to blasting belly fat, fiber is key. Kristen Hairston, M.D., tells WebMD that those who eat 10 grams of soluble fiber a day build up less fat around the abdominal cavity — and that’s without even making any other dietary changes. Greatist recommends eating a nice big bowl of split peas to take care of all your fiber needs. Split peas offer 16.3 grams of fiber per cup — more than enough to fulfill the quota Hairston suggests.

Unsure of how to incorporate split peas into your meals? Try making a delicious soup or looking at some Indian recipes for flavorful inspiration.

8. Canola oil

Canola oil can help you more than you may think. | iStock.com

We usually think of olive oil as the healthier alternative to canola, but research suggests when it comes to belly fat, that container of canola oil you have sitting in your pantry may come in handy. Penny M. Kris-Etherton, professor of nutrition at Penn State, says the monounsaturated fats found in canola oil can decrease abdominal fat. You can’t spot-target fat reduction, but Kris-Etherton says in a press release, “monounsaturated fatty acids seem to specifically target abdominal fat,” so this one is worth a try.

In Kris-Etherton’s study, 101 participants who had abdominal obesity or increased weight circumference were given a specific amount of canola oil to incorporate into their diets every day. After a month of their assigned oil diets, participants generally had about a quarter pound less belly fat than they did before the diet began.

9. Collard greens

Incorporate some collard greens into your diet. | iStock.com

Not a huge fan of dairy? You can still get your calcium in the form of greens. You may be surprised to know one cup of chopped and cooked collard greens provides 27% of your daily value of calcium, which is quite significant. Studies show calcium is associated with less abdominal fat, so it’s important to incorporate it into your diet if that coveted six-pack is what you’re after.

This mineral can also aid in reducing cortisol, the stress hormone that can lead to weight gain if overproduced. It can also help your body more effectively use estrogen, which can lead to less fat accumulation in the belly area. If you’re not a fan of collards, then kale would be another great option for plant-based calcium.

10. Nuts

Nuts are good for warding off belly fat. | iStock.com/Amawasri

There’s no magical belly-melting secret to nuts, but they are a rich source of protein and fiber — two key ingredients to getting that six pack. Health explains almonds, cashews, and pistachios should be your go-tos, as they provide omega-3 fatty acids, that necessary protein and fiber, and fewer calories than other nuts. You can snack on 23 almonds or 49 pistachios and get 6 grams of protein.

Need another reason to snack on almonds? They have more calcium than any other nut, a mineral we’ve mentioned before that’s particularly great for your waistline.

11. Chia seeds

Add chia seeds into your diet for a real boost. | iStock.com

Chia seeds aren’t just for sprouting hair on your favorite childhood decor anymore. These seeds are taking the health world by storm because of their benefits, and if you’re looking to drop tummy weight, incorporating them into your diet can really help. Muscle & Fitness explains this food is rich in fiber and calcium — two things we know are great for blasting belly fat.

The seeds are also 20% protein, so sprinkling them over a salad or making a delicious chia pudding for dessert are great incorporation methods. You’ll feel fuller for longer, drop a few pounds, and finally see those stomach muscles that have been hidden for so long.

12. Fish

Fish continues to prove it’s one of the healthiest foods out there. | iStock.com

We all know fish is high in protein and full of healthy fats, but there are a few fish in particular you should stick with if you’re looking to lose weight. Eat This, Not That! explains halibut boasts an impressive amount of protein. Oysters should be another go-to, as they provide 21% of your recommended daily value of iron.

Of course, wild salmon also makes the list. This fatty fish is known for its high omega-3 content and its ability to aid in weight loss. One fillet will keep you full for hours due to its high protein content. General weight loss means you’ll be shedding belly fat and exposing those six-pack abs in a flash.

13. Hot peppers

Bring on the spice for belly fat loss. | iStock.com

There’s good news for hot sauce lovers — incorporating chili peppers into your meals is a great way to blast away belly fat. Julieanna Hever, author of The Vegiterranean Diet, tells Redbook spicy peppers contain a compound known as capsaicin, which can help you feel more satisfied after eating. Capsaicin also helps you burn more fat by improving your body’s control of insulin, says one review found in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.

If raw peppers in your dishes prove to be too much for you, try sprinkling cayenne over your meals or even adding dried chili flakes into your tea for a kick. You’ll accelerate your weight loss and reveal that six-pack in no time.

14. Whole grains

Whole grains are good for weight loss. | iStock.com

You’ll want to switch that loaf of white bread in your fridge to whole grain for six-pack abs. One study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition instructed half of participants to eat whole-grain-rich foods in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet, and the other group was told to consume refined grains alongside a reduced-calorie diet. After 12 weeks, both lost weight, but the group who ate grains had significantly less body fat around their abdominal region than the other group.

Unsure of how to incorporate whole grains into your diet? Aside from switching your bread, Rodale’s Organic Life suggests adding bulgur, brown rice, and buckwheat to your meals. And skip out on anything that’s “multigrain” or “wheat” — this sounds healthy, but they might not be 100% whole grain.

15. Blueberries

Blueberries can fight an expanding waistline. | iStock.com

Fresh berries are a favorite once summer comes, but you may want to stock up on the frozen varieties all year round to reap the fat-fighting benefits. Blueberries have low energy density, SFGate explains. This means you can take in an abundance of the fruit without worrying about eating too many calories — an entire cup is only 84 calories, which is great news for those trying to lose belly fat. And, because blueberries are more than 80% water, you’ll be more hydrated and fuller between meals, too.

This little fruit packs a punch in terms of fiber as well. This means you’ll be keeping your appetite in check.

Additional reporting by Lauren Weiler

Carrying a spare tire around your belly? You’re not alone: Fifty-four percent of U.S. adults now have abdominal obesity, up from 46 percent in 2000, according to a recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. If you fall into that category (male abs are considered fat if the waistline measures more than 40 inches), it’s time to consider cutting down your consumption of these five foods:

Refined grains
Not sure what a refined grain is? It’s foods like white rice, white bread, and regular white pasta. The unrefined stuff (whole wheat, brown rice, and quinoa) is always healthier. Pennsylvania State University researchers found that people who ate whole grains in addition to keeping a healthy diet—of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and protein—lost more weight from the abdominal area than the group of people who kept the same healthy diet but ate all refined grains.

Potato products
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine followed the weight changes of more than 120,000 men and women for up to 20 years. The participants were checked every four years, and on average they gained 3.35 pounds each time—so almost 17 pounds by the time the study was finished. The foods associated with the greatest weight gain? You guessed it—potato chips and potatoes.

Red and processed meat
The same 20-year study found that people who ate more red and processed meat gained weight, too—about one extra pound every four years. In another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers worked with more than 370,000 people and found that folks who ate the equivalent of a small steak a day gained about five pounds in five years.

Frosting
Those cupcakes your coworker makes for special occasions? Yeah, don’t eat them. While the FDA has basically declared war on trans fats, store-bought frosting still contains a not-so-healthy dose of the stuff. How bad can trans fats be? Researchers at Wake Forest University gave groups of monkeys two different diets; one group ate trans fats and the other ate unsaturated fats. The results: The group eating trans fats upped their body weight by 7.2 percent in six years, and the other only gained 1.8 percent. Not only did the trans fats add new fat, they were also responsible for moving fat from other areas to the belly. Check for trans fat in other foods like pre-made baked goods, snack foods, and frozen pizzas.

Diet soda
It’s easy to get fooled by the zero-calorie label, yet sodas made with sugar substitutes are believed by many to play a role in weight gain. A new study published this month found that people who drank diet soda gained almost three times the amount of abdominal fat over nine years as those who didn’t drink the no-cal stuff. Sure, that study only looked at adults ages 65 and older, but consider this: Recent research from the Weizmann Institute of Science found that mice drinking water with artificial sweeteners (saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose) became vulnerable to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance—two things known to lead to weight gain.

GQ’s Ultimate Guide to Getting Shredded Abs

Look no further.

By Emily Abbate

10 Foods That Help Reduce Bloating & Will Make You Feel Back To Normal In No Time

Feeling like you’re bloated isn’t a great feeling. Not only does it often appear without rhyme or reason, but it also can cause physical discomfort when your clothes feel too tight, or you just feel way too full — like you do after a big meal — to function like a human. Bloating can be caused by a myriad of factors ranging from water retention to simply having eaten a food that produces too much gas in your digestive tract — but whatever its cause, it’s not a fun thing to deal with. Luckily, however, there are some ways to counteract the discomfort: For starters, there are some foods that can reduce bloating.

Much of the time, bloating is caused by the processes that occur during digestion and characterized by the accumulation of gas in the intestine. But here’s the funny thing: Despite the fact that eating and drinking certain foods can lead to bloating, consuming other foods can actually reduce the feeling, or make it go away entirely.

It won’t be an immediate relief sort of situation, but incorporating some or all of these foods into your diet will definitely offer a noticeable difference over time. Here are a few of the foods that can help relieve that gassy, full feeling — or prevent it.

1. Water With Lemon

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Because water retention can lead to bloating, it might seem counteractive to drink more water. You’re already retaining water, wouldn’t more just add to it? Wrong: As SF Gate reports, retaining water is the body’s way of holding on to fluid so that you do not become dehydrated. So it’s especially important when you are bloated to push fluids through your body, not eliminate them. That way, your body is no longer is in fear of dehydration and will let go of the excess water it’s storing.

And while you’re at it, do yourself one better and add a lemon to that glass of water: lemons, being a natural diuretic and a gentle laxative, can reduce the amount of salt retained in your body. Add lemon juice to warm water for maximum effect.

2. Celery

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According to Livestrong, the vitamins that reside in the stalks of this vegetable have been known to decrease fluid retention. That’s one of the reasons celery is commonly used as a digestive aid to regulate bowel movements and control intestinal gas. But, keep in mind that when you’re bloated, it’s best to lean toward cooked veggies over raw, as the fiber structure is broken down when vegetables are cooked, making them more easily digestible. So, cook the celery into a soup, and get eating!

3. Watermelon

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Almost all melons are beneficial to your health in some way, but watermelon is by far the juiciest: it consists of 92 percent water, which, again, is instrumental in reducing that bloated feeling. According to Good Housekeeping, watermelon also has natural diuretic properties, which will help you pass more liquids in a shorter timeframe, thus reducing your bloating quicker.

4. Rosemary

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According to the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, rosemary has been traditionally used to treat all kinds of ailments, including muscle pain, spasms, and alopecia. But did you know that the herb is also used to treat indigestion that can lead to bloating? Consuming a sprig on its own would be a little weird, so steeping some in your next cup of tea or combining it with some celery to make a broth is a good way to get what you need from it.

5. Beans And Lentils

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Taking in too much sodium and not enough potassium and fiber can keep you suffering from bloating on a regular basis, so lowering your sodium intake and amping up your potassium levels can be the fastest way to reduce bloating. Dietary fiber-rich lentils are an excellent choice for aiding your digestion when bloated, and potassium-packed beans, like white beans, soybeans, and lima beans are actually the highest-fiber vegetables you can get. And the gravy on top of those beans? They are naturally high in both estrogen and protein and can assist in relieving period-induced bloating.

Now that all sounds great, but I know you’re still thinking, “How can beans truly help me with bloating if they are known to make you gassy?” And you’d be totally right. They do make you gassy. Initially.

You see, if you aren’t used to eating beans on a regular basis, they can give you a gassy feeling. But if you slowly work them into your diet, your body will adjust to the compounds that cause the gas. And then you will only see the benefits of the bean.

6. Rice

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Certain foods, especially some carbohydrates, are either completely indigestible or can only be partially digested in your stomach. These foods are to blame for gas buildup and therefore contribute to bloating. According to the American College of Gastroenterology, rice and rice flour are a good substitute for starches like like wheat, oats, corn, and potatoes, as rice is fully digested in the small intestines, giving it the least chance of forming gases in your gut.

7. Yogurt

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If you want to try using yogurt to fight bloating, you first need to make sure you know what you’re looking for in that yogurt: active cultures. According to Doctor Oz, this is because consuming yogurt that contains active cultures on a regular basis increases your levels of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium — known as “good” bacteria — in your digestive tract. Doing this will keep things moving in your digestive tract, and prevent your belly bloat. Your best bet is plain yogurt, but you can mix a little fruit into it too.

8. Banana

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Though we’ve talked about gas playing a big part in bloating, sodium is also a cause. According to the CDC, because there is so much sodium in processed foods, it is much easier to consume large amounts without knowing it. That sodium dehydrates you, which thus causes your body to retain water. Potassium, however, counters those effects. Keeping an eye on your overall potassium-sodium level is important for water balance in the body. If you suspect today’s bloat is a result of last night’s salty dinner, add a potassium-rich sliced banana to your diet to bring back the balance.

9. Papaya

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Inside of this tropical fruit is a substance called papain, which, according to Livestrong, is a proteolytic enzyme that promotes digestion. Now, I know it may not be the most popular fruit or easy to find in your standard grocery store, but the papaya is still worth considering, especially as you can easily pop some slices into a breakfast smoothie.

10. Cucumber

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Cucumbers are a great way to fight off bloating. The high water and high dietary fiber content in cucumbers can cause increased urination, which will make you feel less full. Also, according to Healthline, increased water consumption can fight off bloating, so cucumbers are a solid way to go.

While bloating can feel uncomfortable, working one of these foods into your diet for a day or two will help alleviate the feeling — and it doesn’t hurt that all of the options taste pretty good, too.

This article was originally published on June 19, 2014 and was updated on July 2, 2019.

April 15, 2003 — Don’t dump dairy delights when dieting. That’s the word from researchers who found that adding yogurt to a low-calorie diet helped people lose belly fat.

University of Tennessee scientist Michael Zemel, PhD, put 34 obese people on a low-calorie diet. Sixteen of them got pills with 400 to 500 mg of calcium per day. The other 18 people ate a higher calcium diet — enough yogurt to give them 1,100 mg of calcium per day.

After 12 weeks, everybody lost a lot of fat. The comparison group had six pounds less fat, and the yogurt group lost about 10 pounds of fat. But those who ate Yoplait Light yogurt in the General Mills-sponsored study looked different from those who didn’t. The yogurt eaters’ waists shrank by more than an inch and a half. The comparison subjects lost about a quarter of an inch from their waist size.

Body scans showed why. Sixty percent of the yogurt eaters’ weight loss was belly fat, while only 26% of the comparison group’s loss was belly fat.

“Not only did yogurt help the study participants lose more weight — the average weight loss was 13 pounds — they were about twice as effective at maintaining lean muscle mass,” Zemel says in a news release. “This is a critical issue when dieting. You want to lose fat, not muscle. Muscle helps burn calories, but it is often compromised during weight loss.”

Zemel’s earlier research shows that calcium — especially dairy calcium — slows down the body’s fat-making process. He says that dieters should eat three servings of fat-free or low fat dairy products every day.

“The moral of the calcium story is to not dump dairy when you’re dieting,” Zemel says. “Not only is it critical to keep your calcium levels high so you won’t lose bone density, it will also help you maintain your muscle mass and increase you fat loss.”

It’s unclear if the source of calcium affects fat loss — whether it makes a difference if the calcium comes from the diet (dairy products) or from calcium supplement pills.

Zemel presented the study findings at this week’s Experimental Biology 2003 meeting in San Diego, Calif.

I love sitting down to a bowl of rich, creamy Greek yogurt. It’s so satisfying for my stomach and I love the way its velvety texture feels on my tongue. Yum! But which is the best yogurt for weight loss?

Yogurt is usually perceived as healthy, but that’s actually a myth unless you choose the right types. Not all yogurt is good for weight loss since a lot of them are loaded with added sugars.

There are 7 brands that stand out among the rest, and I’m happy to share them with you today!

Here’s what we’ll talk about in this post.

  • Why it’s a myth that yogurt is good for losing weight – unless you use this one type
  • Which brands and kinds of yogurt are the best for weight loss (including an infographic of the best 7 brands!)
  • How many grams of sugar your yogurt should NOT go over so you shrink your waist and not expand it
  • What flavors of yogurt to look for, which ones to AVOID, and a NON-DAIRY option

Best yogurt for weight loss

Generally, I advise people to cut back on or eliminate dairy when trying to lose weight. This is because dairy does have lactose, which is a form of sugar.

It can be easy to have too many low-fat dairy products. This happens when you have them on all sorts of food that work against weight loss (think pizza or grilled cheese), or just when you add unnecessary calories to healthy food with low-fat cheese or sour cream. (1)

Some people are more sensitive to dairy than others, and it could cause skin breakouts or make it harder to lose weight. But it’s not true for everyone. (2)

However, I think yogurt is a dairy product worth keeping in your rotation if it agrees with you because the benefits are so good and especially if you are vegetarian because it can be an excellent source of natural vegetarian protein.

Greek yogurt is the only dairy yogurt that I recommend since it’s so rich in protein. Non-dairy yogurt doesn’t have as much protein, but it still has some and it has gut-healthy probiotics.

Greek dairy yogurt is thicker, lower in lactose, and has double the protein of regular dairy yogurt because the liquid whey is strained out. (3)

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I like Greek yogurt as a vegetarian source of protein and a quick grab and go option. It helps you lose weight with healthy protein and probiotics that support gut health and healthy digestion.

It also has calcium and Vitamin D to support healthy bones and healthy fats. (4)

In fact, it’s one of the top 5 belly flattening foods!

Can yogurt help you lose belly fat?

Yes! But to get the belly fat-burning results, you need to be picky when choosing your yogurt.

  • Look for Greek yogurt that is higher in protein (at least 10 grams per serving) and healthy fat, low in sugar (no higher than 6 grams) and has fewer ingredients (avoid extra fillers and definitely artificial sweeteners and sugars.) (5)
  • One surprising thing about the best yogurt for weight loss is that you want fat! Dairy high in the fatty acids found in full-fat dairy helps control hunger and shift the metabolism in healthy ways according to recent studies. (5)
  • As far as flavors, plain is always best because it’s unsweetened. The creaminess and luxurious texture and flavor will satisfy you alone. Of course, you can always add in fresh berries or a small amount of other fresh fruit.
  • If you want to add crunch or other flavors you can add unsweetened almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or even 80% or higher dark chocolate.

Healthy fats in dark chocolate, nuts, and seeds can help you feel full and boost metabolism!

  • Avoid “fruit on the bottom” or any flavors with added chocolate, cookies, etc. This is because the fruit that comes in the yogurt cups is usually canned and covered in sugary syrup and preservatives. (5)
  • Some brands are low enough in sugar that vanilla is okay, but watch the sugar! You want sugar below 6 grams or else your weight-loss will be slowed. Too much sugar means it’s not the best yogurt for weight loss.
  • If you can afford it, spring for grass-fed once in a while since it has high Omega 3s.

Get recipes for foods with high Omega 3s, fiber, and lean protein here!

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Healthiest yogurt brands 2019

Plain flavor is the best yogurt for weight loss because it has fewer extra ingredients and no added sweeteners. You can use vanilla flavor for a little sweetness using the brands I show below. Non-dairy yogurts usually don’t have as much protein as dairy yogurt and tend to have more fillers and sweeteners; however, Cocoyo Living Coconut Yogurt is a good option because it’s unsweetened but still creamy.

Don’t forget your easy snack framework guide to make snacking easy, delicious, and calorie-busting!

Have you found any yogurt brands that have dreamy texture and flavor, and are low sugar, high protein? Please share in the comments!

If You’re Looking for an Indulgent Mix-In

EAT THIS: Vanilla Lowfat Yogurt with Chips Ahoy!® Cookie Pieces

Per 4 oz container: 120 calories, 3 g fat, 16 g sugar

This yogurt is impressively low cal for a cookie-strewn treat. While it does have a bit more sugar than we’d ideally like to see it’s relatively low when you compare it to the competition. Save 120 calories and 5 grams of sugar by picking YoCrunch over Chobani.

NOT THAT: Chobani Greek Yogurt Flip, Almond Coco Loco

Per 5.3 oz container: 240 calories, 10 g fat, 21 g sugar

While the majority of the extra calories and fat in this breakfast treat come from the almonds, the chunks of chocolate and coconut flavored yogurt are loaded with sugar. Matter which option you ultimately choose, these chocolate and candy filled yogurts should only be once and awhile treats— not daily dishes. Avoid granola, too—it’s one of the 11 Foods Diet Experts Won’t Touch—click here for the other 10.

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If You Like Chocolate Varieties

EAT THIS: Chobani Greek Yogurt Chocolate Dust

Per 2 oz container: 60 calories, 1.5 g fat, 6 g sugar

When it comes to indulgences, it’s all about portion control. Chobani hits the nail on the head with this kid-sized chocolaty bend. You could eat more than three of these 2 ounce containers of yogurt before you’d take in the sugar-equivalent of Yoplait’s similar variety.

NOT THAT: Yoplait Whips! Chocolate Mousse Style

Per 4 oz container: 160 calories, 4 g fat, 22 g sugar

How Yoplait packs so many calories and sugar in such a small container, we may never know. A half cup of chocolate soft serve actually has less sugar than this yogurt, and wouldn’t you rather just have that? We know we would.

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If You Want Something Savory

EAT THIS: Blue Hill All Natural Yogurt, Butternut Squash

Per 6 oz container: 100 calories, 2.5 g fat, 6 g sugar

Most flavored yogurts turn to fruits and desserts for inspiration but savory yogurts are starting to shake up the food scene. Blue Hill gets in on the trend while keeping sugar and calories in check. And squash is one of our Best Produce For Weight Loss.

NOT THAT: Chobani Greek Yogurt, Pumpkin Spice

Per 5.3 oz container: 130 calories, 3 g fat 12 g sugar

While Chobani’s savory yogurt isn’t too awful, it does have twice the amount of the sugar of Blue Hill’s which is why we place it on the “Not That” side of our list.

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If You Want a Touch of Honey

EAT THIS: Stonyfield Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt Honey

Per 5.3 oz container: 120 calories 0 g fat, 17 g sugars

Kudos to Oikos for using honey to turn this into a lightly sweetened treat without making it a sugar-packed breakfast blunder. Plus, it’s bursting with 13 grams of hunger-busting protein, and we totally love that! And, depressed? A touch of honey is a good thing; it’s one of the 11 Foods That End Bad Moods.

NOT THAT: Fage Total 0% with Honey

Per 5.3 oz container: 170 calories 0 g fat, 29 g sugars

Bite for bite Fage’s, honey sweetened yogurt has more calories and sugar than Stonyfield’s. Plus, it’s the sugar equivalent of 11 hershey Kisses, making it a definate “Not That!”

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If You Need a Lactose-Free Yogurt

EAT THIS: Lifeway Lowfat Cherry Kefir

Per 8 oz container: 140 calories 2 g fat, 20 g sugars

Kefer is 99 percent lactose free, making it a great yogurt alternative for most intolerant individuals. Plus, this it’s easy to eat on the go, loaded with 11 grams of protein and has more probiotic bacteria than traditional yogurts. We overlook the slightly high sugar count because the drink is low in calories and serves up so many additional health benefits. Double down on health benefits by grabbing a kefir with one of the Best Fruits for Fat Loss.

NOT THAT: Yoplait Lactose Free Cherry

Per 6 oz container: 170 calories, 1.5 g fat 26 g sugar

While this yogurt lacks the lactate that upsets your stomach, it doesn’t bring any other nutritional benefits to the table. Packed with more sugar and less than half the protein in Lifeway’s smoothie, this container is better left on supermarket shelves.

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If You Prefer Things Plain Jane

EAT THIS: FAGE Total 2%

Per 7 oz container: 150 calories, 4 g fat, 8 g sugar, 20 g protein

Not just creamier and more delicious than the nonfat variety, the little bit of milkfat in 2% Fage allows your body to absorb the fat-soluble vitamins in the yogurt. Plus, you can’t get a much purer ingredient list than this: milk, cream, and cultures (oh my!).

That’s only one of the reasons this is one of 6 Foods Doctors Swear By.

NOT THAT: Greek Gods, Nonfat Plain

Per 6 oz: 100 calories, 0 g fat, 14 g sugar, 9 g protein

A plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt with more sugar than protein? No thank you.

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If You’re Cutting Back on Fat

EAT THIS: Chobani Simply 100, Blueberry

Per 5.3 oz container: 100 calories, 0 g fat, 8 g sugar, 12 g protein

It’s rare to find a fruit-flavored yogurt with more protein than sugar. This one’s also gluten-free, kosher, and free of artificial ingredients. Add it to your shopping cart, along with this cottage cheese, milk and peanut butter—Our Weight Loss Essentials.

NOT THAT: Dannon Light & Fit, Strawberry Cheesecake

Per 6 oz container: 80 calories, 0 g fat, 9 g sugar

This fat-free, low-sugar yogurt features fructose on the ingredient list twice, along with Sucralose, aspartame and artificial coloring. If you have to search for any mention of actual fruit on the label of a fruit yogurt, leave it on the shelf!

Put cash back in your wallet with these 10 Insider Tricks that Save You Money at the Supermarket.

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LOOK FOR EAT THIS, NOT THAT! MAGAZINE, filled with 50+ weight -loss recipes, 148 food swaps and 62 super saver tips. It’s our best-ever guide to the supermarket and eating out—on stands now at these retailers!

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If eating a cup of yogurt a day is causing more gas and bloating than ever, you aren’t alone. It turns out that what appears to be a simple, healthy addition to your diet may actually take a bit more research than comparing prices in the dairy aisle. We’ve done a lot of the research for you, but it’s wise to check with your healthcare professional before making dietary changes.

All yogurt is not created equal

Good-for-you choices

Prevention advises that “plain Greek yogurt, which usually has around 12 grams of sugar and plenty of protein, is a good bet.”

Yogurt with active cultures (probiotics)

Consuming probiotics can yield benefits that are great for gas sufferers. According to Dr. Mary Jane Brown, who is also a registered dietitian, “‘hese benefits are thought to result from the ability of probiotics to restore the natural balance of gut bacteria.”

‘Best bets’ yogurt choices

Greek yogurt is thicker than ‘regular’ yogurt because it drains once more than conventional varieties. More importantly, Greek yogurt contains more protein and calcium – and fewer carbs and calories – than regular yogurt. Visit these links to read nutrition facts for Chobani (Greek) and Dannon plain, non-fat yogurt.

If you’re accustomed to thinner yogurts, the switch may take a bit of getting used to. You can try:

  • stirring in a few tablespoons of non-fat milk
  • adding a serving of puréed fresh fruit
  • drizzling in an ounce or so of low-carb fruit juice

It may take a bit of experimentation to find the right flavor and quantity of juice. Vegetable juice is typically lower in carbohydrates than fruit juice, but most of us aren’t up for kale and vanilla yogurt! Consider stirring beet juice into berry-flavored yogurt. Alternatively, this handy chart has info on the carb count of most popular juices.

Which ingredients make your fave a poor choice?

Yogurt used to be just one item on the breakfast menu, but it often serves as a meal substitute. The added fruit and grains create handy grab ‘n’ go options for busy consumers. However, if you’re troubled by excessive gas, the initial feeling of satiation can quickly turn to intestinal discomfort.

LiveStrong cautions: “Yogurt may … include … sweeteners, various flavorings, fruit, preserves or a stabilizer. For longer shelf life and a less bitter flavor, cultured yogurt may be heated, but this will kill the beneficial bacteria.”

Watch out for:

  • added sugars
  • granola
  • rice
  • starches, guar gum, carrageenan

One last heads-up, courtesy of LiveStrong: “Look for the “Live & Active Cultures” seal from the National Yogurt Association to ensure that the yogurt hasn’t been heated and that these bacteria remain in your yogurt.”

Health benefits of including yogurt in your diet

Yogurt and aging

There’s emerging scientific evidence that adding yogurt to the diet is “a feasible approach to enhance older adults’ nutritional status.”

Other studies show promising benefits for those who suffer from common GI conditions (“lactose intolerance, constipation, diarrheal diseases, colon cancer, inflammatory bowel disease”).

Yogurt’s role in decreasing cardiovascular disease

Scientists report that eating about a cup (7 ounces or so) of yogurt daily “might be associated with a lower incident risk of CVD.”

Do gender differences increase the likelihood of bloating?

It’s not your imagination; a study of Caucasian Americans, which adjusted for age and gender, indicates that women are likely to experience bloating and “visible distention” than men. Other studies show similar results among women of all age groups.

Foods that help ease the bloat

You don’t have to give up mix-ins and flavor in order to keep yogurt in your breakfast or snack rotation. Mix-in fans can try swapping sunflower seeds for grains. Instead of granola that’s loaded with carbohydrates and fat, top off your bowl with low-carb granola. If you love thick, creamy yogurt, go Greek and stay away from carrageenan and other thickeners.

Remember to consult your healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet. If you suspect that your intestinal issues stem from lactose-, fructose intolerance or absorption issues, try switching to an unsweetened cultured non-dairy product made from almonds, coconut or soy.

Two CharcoCaps® capsules will help promote digestive comfort.* CharcoCaps® dietary supplement, Anti-Gas Detoxifying Formula will let you enjoy your favorite foods and beverages with less worry.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug

Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Yogurt and belly fat

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