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Drinking Habits Causing Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians

These simple habits may be leading to unwanted belly fat.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Losing unwanted abdominal fat is no easy task, but it can significantly improve your overall health. A specific type of belly fat, known as visceral fat, can actually wrap around your internal organs and lead to many different health issues.

"High levels of abdominal or visceral fats in the body expose you to higher risks of cardio and heart diseases," says Nataly Komova, RD a registered dietitian and fitness expert for Just CBD, "and men and women over 50 have a higher risk of abdominal fat and obesity risks."

So how can you begin to lose abdominal fat if this is something you want to do? Our dietitians share their advice on certain drinking habits that you may want to limit or avoid if you're trying to lose belly fat, as well as some alternative options. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don't miss Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians.

1

Drinking soda.

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"Drinks that are high in added sugars, like soda, can increase calorie levels and spike blood sugar," says Komova, "and they can also slow down calorie burning, leading to the accumulation of more visceral fats."

And while you may reach for the diet soda to avoid the added sugar, research actually shows that diet soft drinks can lead to belly fat as well. In fact, a study from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that diet soda consumption was associated with an increase in abdominal fat in older populations.

2

Drinking too many fancy coffee drinks.

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Drinking your coffee black or with small amounts of cream and sugar is usually harmless when it comes to abdominal fat. However, Komova warns that drinking "fancy" coffee drinks on a regular basis can make it harder to lose belly fat.

"Regular intake of coffee, especially when stressed, can increase cortisol hormones, which trigger belly fat formation," she says, "so with tons of added sugar, it can increase calorie levels and therefore increase abdominal fat formation and accumulation."

READ MOREThe Unhealthiest Coffee Drinks in America

3

Consuming a lot of sugary, high-calorie alcoholic drinks.

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When you drink alcohol, you're already consuming empty calories. And while this alone isn't a problem in moderation, it's important to watch what type you're drinking, or what you're mixing your alcohol with.

"When selecting an alcoholic beverage, opt for low-calorie and low-sugar options over mixed drinks because these tend to have a high sugar content and only provide extra calories," says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements.

And when you're making your selection at the store, Best recommends a healthier, pre-made option. "There are many pre-made beverages on the market that are low in calories and better for weight control, at around 100 calories per drink."

4

Sipping on too many juice drinks.

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Drinking fruit juice, especially 100% juice, can be a part of a healthy, balanced diet. But Blanca Garcia, RDN a registered dietitian at Health Canal, warns that not all juice drinks are created equal, and it's important to be mindful of how many juice drinks you consume because they can lead to unwanted abdominal fat. Contrary to 100% juice, juice drinks are those that have a lower percentage of real juice—the rest of it is made up of added sugars. Think cranberry juice cocktail or fruit punch (Read more: The #1 Worst Juice To Drink Every Day, Says Science.)

"The sugar and low-fiber content of juice drinks can contribute to high levels of simple sugar, which is easily absorbed into the body, [thanks to the addition of sweeteners like cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup]. That excess of sugar can be converted to fat and stored for later use, most likely in the abdominal area," says Garcia.