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6 Foods & Drinks That May Be Giving You Cellulite

Having cellulite woes? Certain foods and drinks might be the likely culprits.
FACT CHECKED BY Jordan Powers Willard

Dimples on either side of your smile are a desirable trait—dimples on your bum or thighs, not so much. Cellulite—the dimpling fat that tends to accumulate on the belly, legs, and bottom—can be the bane of swimsuit season for many women. In fact, 80–90% of adult women have this type of fat on their bodies, according to the Cleveland Clinic. (Additionally, the Cleveland Clinic notes that less than 10% of men reportedly experience cellulite.) But why does this happen, and are there any particular foods and drinks that are more prone to give you cellulite?

Unlike other types of fat, cellulite pushes against the connective tissue in your skin, creating a signature dimply, puckered look. Though medical science has yet to reveal all the causes for cellulite, experts believe that hormones and genetics play a major role in its development. Also, the more body fat you carry on your frame, the more prominently you may notice the "cottage cheese" appearance of cellulite. (Although, lean people can experience it, too.) Fortunately, cellulite isn't dangerous to your health—but it's not terribly attractive, either.

Scan the internet for cellulite "cures," and you'll quickly amass a wealth of supplements, creams, laser treatments, and injections. The FDA has even approved a handful of cellulite treatments. Unfortunately, there is still no proven way to completely eliminate the dimply fat. The most effective (and least expensive) solution for reducing cellulite likely lies in a combination of diet, exercise, and weight loss.

Though research is limited on the interplay between diet and cellulite, certain foods and drinks are likely culprits. Some evidence points to foods and beverages high in fat, refined carbs, and sodium as the top offenders. Here are six foods and drinks that might increase your odds of developing the unsightly cellulite fat.

Regular soda

Soda and belly fat

Some researchers have theorized that insulin resistance could be a contributing factor to the development of cellulite. It's well known that vascular damage often occurs in people with diabetes, and since cellulite may be partly a vascular condition, blood sugar issues could prompt the fat to press against the skin on your belly and rear.

One clear offender when it comes to blood sugar: regular soda. Loaded with high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners, it won't do your blood glucose any favors. A 2016 study in Circulation directly linked sugar-sweetened beverages like soda to an increase in belly fat.

Ice cream

woman eating ice cream sundae

A high-fat diet doesn't just add calories that contribute to weight gain—it could also make you prone to unsightly cellulite. Full-fat dairy foods like ice cream are an ample source of both calories and saturated fats.

Again, the dietary fat-cellulite connection may have to do with the pressure your blood vessels exert on overlying fat. According to a 2009 study, a single high-fat meal impaired vascular function! Overdoing it on ice cream and other high-fat dairy treats could create extra pressure in your blood vessels, leading to more prominent appearance of cellulite.

White bread

white bread with butter

It might not always taste salty, but bread is a sneaky source of sodium, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breads and rolls are among the top 10 sources of sodium in the American diet. And if you choose white bread, all that sodium gets a cellulite-promoting partner in crime: refined carbs.

Eating a diet high in these simple processed carbs has been linked to a higher likelihood of obesity because of their effects on insulin. To minimize the chances of weight gain and cellulite, whole wheat bread makes a better choice.

Canned soup

assorted canned soups

Another top sodium source, canned soup can supply a huge percentage of your Daily Value in a single serving. Retained fluid from too much sodium could make cellulite look worse—so check soup labels carefully!

25 Cozy Soup Recipes That Are Perfect For Weight Loss


Hungry woman looking for food in fridge

They may be delicious, but pastries like cakes, donuts, and danishes harbor the trifecta of not-great nutrients for cellulite: fat, refined carbs, and sodium. Of course, the occasional apple fritter won't immediately make your belly dimple up, but making these treats a habit could have consequences for cellulite.


margherita pizza in traditional wood oven

It's no surprise that pizza isn't a friend to your efforts to lose body fat of any kind, cellulite or otherwise. But not only do frozen and restaurant-delivered pizzas contain high levels of calories and saturated fat, they also serve up sodium galore. Mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce, and cured meats like pepperoni and sausage can create an epic salt storm.

You probably know that sodium causes your body to retain fluid. And as fluid builds up in your blood vessels, it could push on cellulite fat cells, making them more noticeable. For a healthier choice, try DIYing your own pizza with reduced-sodium red sauce and veggie toppings.

Sarah Garone, NDTR
Sarah Garone, NDTR, is a registered nutrition and dietetic technician, and a health, nutrition, and food writer. Read more about Sarah