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With warm weather approaching, it seems many people want to set new health goals. If you’re someone trying to shed a few pounds, especially around the stomach area, you might benefit from learning some “secret” eating habits that typically contribute to more belly fat – the sneaky kind. that you won’t even notice.

Losing belly fat is a goal that can potentially save you from further health complications. This is because belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is the type that grows around your abdominal organs and can lead to problems such as diabetes and heart disease if too much is carried on a body. long period.

Keep reading to learn more about healthy changes to make to your daily routine to lose belly fat, and for more healthy eating tips, be sure to check out 20 Food Combos to Triple Your Weight Loss.

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Eating processed foods can quickly contribute to belly fat, but dietitians say it’s also portion sizes that make a difference.

“Processed foods high in sugar, salt, and fat can contribute to excess belly fat,” says Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDNauthor of Finally full, finally thin and member of our advice from medical experts. “According to recent searchportions of fast food and packaged foods like chocolate and sodas are still up to 5 times larger than before, which may also contribute to increased belly fat.”

Vinaigrette
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Prepping a fresh, hearty salad can be a great choice on a hot day. But dietitians say some salad dressings can add fat, sugar, and calories without us realizing it.

“Many of us turn to salads for a healthier meal, especially when we want to get rid of belly fat,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements. “However, using high-fat salad dressings can add to your belly fat rather than get rid of it. This is true for both homemade salads and fast-food or store-bought salads. Standard ranch dressings contain about 130 calories for just 2 tablespoons, which is usually less than what is actually used. With 13 grams of fat, this dressing choice may negate the healthy salad decision. It’s best to skip the rich dressing in fat or opt for lemon juice or vinegar to reduce the fat you absorb.”

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Nut butter can provide you with many health benefits, but it’s always important to watch your portion sizes when trying to lose belly fat.

“Peanut butter is certainly a nutrient-dense food, but not all varieties are created with the same nutrient profile,” says Best. “Some manufacturers choose to use added ingredients like sugar, honey, or even chocolate to enhance flavor and texture. These result in a rapid increase in calories and fat in just one serving of peanut butter. “

“Second, even natural peanut butter should be consumed in moderation,” Best continues. “Often we’ll see the term ‘natural’ and assume that the food can be eaten without regard to serving size or quantity. In the case of peanut butter, these two characteristics can make it a food that could cause your belly fat to lock in weight loss and even contribute to weight gain in that area.”

RELATED: Your Favorite Peanut Butter Brand May Have This Sneaky Secret

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Yogurt can give you a ton of health benefits, but not all types of yogurt are created equal.

“The quality of yogurt is a big factor in whether or not it will add to your weight loss efforts,” says Best. “High fat or added sugar yogurts and other sweeteners can contribute to your belly fat. It is important to examine the nutritional profile of your yogurt before buying it and to opt for plain yogurt or one made with natural sweeteners. You’ll also want to find one that’s higher in protein, as this will help you stay full longer and prevent overeating.”

woman sleeping peacefully
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Although technically not an “eating habit“, poor quality sleep and high stress levels can affect your eating habits and food choices throughout the day.

“Stress can increase abdominal fat, in part because of increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone,” Young says. “Overeating the wrong foods is also quite common when under stress, and lack of sleep can also impact your mood, which may encourage many people to overeat processed foods high in sugar and fat. .”