Tired of struggling to lose that hard-to-get belly fat? Consider a scenario in which you are paying close attention to your diet, eating a lot of whole foods while avoiding bacon double cheeseburgers, chocolate milkshakes, and other sugar-rich coffee beverages. How can you still acquire abdominal fat when you are eliminating all of the obvious high-calorie meals? It’s possible that your drinking habits are to blame.
Drinks may appear to be safe, but they can be a sneaky source of extra abdominal fat on your body. Simply because beverage calories tend to sneak in, you’re taking in a lot more calories than you realize. They don’t fill you up the way food does and there is no chewing involved. However, that does not mean you should ignore them.
We surveyed nutritionists about the most common drinking patterns that may be inadvertently promoting abdominal fat under your nose.
1 — Starting the day with juice.
It appears to be a wonderful and healthy way to start your day, with fruit rather than refined sugar, including vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, wheatgrass, and garlic in the mix. And no added sugars! Isn’t it a fantastic way to begin your day with some freshness?
One disadvantage of fruit juice, even 100% juice, is that it won’t calm your stomach rumbling because there is no fiber in it, according to Silvia Carli. Green Machine, the “boosted smoothie” from Naked (not to be confused with Coca-Cola’s “Boosted”) is a commercial juice beverage that incorporates all of those natural components without any added sugars.
“Naked juices are chock-full of fruit, but in liquid form, leaving no fiber for the good bacteria in your gut and a lot of sugar,” Carli points out. “Yes, it’s natural sugar, but it’s still sugar!”
How much? A 270-calorie bottle contains 53 grams of total sugar, which is1 gram more than you get from a 16-ounce bottle of Coke. Instead, she suggests drinking water and eating whole fruit.
2 — Ordering sweet tea or soda at lunch.
People might not realize that a sweet drink that goes down fast and easy has more calories than the portion of their meal that must be eaten with a fork, according to one study.
“Sugar-sweetened drinks are calorie-dense, and they might raise blood sugar and fat in the belly,” according to Susan Bowerman, RDN.
Replace those sugar-sweetened beverages with low- or zero-calorie alternatives like unsweetened tea and water to help reduce your calorie intake.
Water consumption has been shown to increase the metabolism of the body, allowing it to burn fat more efficiently.
3 — Drinking diet but consuming high-calorie foods.
Even if you go for a diet beverage with no calories, Bowerman says that people tend to combine low-calorie beverages with high-calorie fast foods such as burgers and fried chicken.
If you are eating French fries, which are high in saturated fat, you could eventually gain weight as a consequence of it, but not the diet soda itself. Furthermore, drinking beverages that are made with artificial sweeteners has been linked to an imbalance in your gut’s good and bad bacteria.
4 — Drinking a lot of cocktails.
They call it a beer belly for a reason, but that doesn’t mean you can drink anything you want as long as it’s wine spritzers or tequila shots.
“Alcohol is a calorie source that your body does not recognize as satiating hunger and fueling your body, which is why we refer to them as ’empty calories,'” says Zoe Schroeder. “So these empty calories come in, and then your body is like, ‘OK well I have this extra energy now; I’ll just store it at fat.'”
When you consume mixed beverages like screwdrivers and margaritas, you may end up consuming a lot more energy calories than usual.
High-calorie mixers and sweetened beverages that are used in cocktails might leave people over their required calorie intake without them even realizing it, according to Schroeder. Because the calories aren’t recognized as fuel, they don’t register as such. According to her, alcohol consumption reduces fullness and promotes hunger.