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Breakfast Foods to Avoid for Belly Fat Loss, Says Science

Limiting your consumption of these foods can help you meet your health goals more easily.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

For many people, breakfast is the most exciting meal of the day. You get to roll out of bed, make your favorite cup of coffee, and treat yourself to a nice meal to help jumpstart your day.

And while there are plenty of delicious and healthy options out there to choose from, there are also some breakfast foods that may cause more harm than good.

Research points out some specific breakfast items that are known to lead to potential health complications, including an increased risk of abdominal fat. Although it's perfectly healthy and necessary to have some amount of fat around your stomach, too much of it can be dangerous because it sits around your abdominal organs.

Here are some of the foods you may want to limit if you're trying to avoid more belly fat, and for more healthy eating tips, check out The Worst Coffee Habits for a Flat Belly, Say Experts.


Processed meat


Before you reach for the bacon or breakfast sausage, you may want to know that processed meat is one of the worst foods for belly fat.

In a report from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, processed meats were said to have a positive correlation to weight gain, only behind chocolate bars and crackers, and even more so than pancakes or waffles.

The 2020 dietary guidelines from the International Journal of Obesity suggest greatly limiting your consumption of processed meat (along with sugar-sweetened beverages and alcohol) in order to maintain low levels of visceral fat.


White bread toast

white bread

White bread and other refined carbs can easily lead to more weight gain, especially around the stomach area. A report from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that while whole grains were associated with less visceral fat, white bread had the opposite effect and was positively associated with an increase in visceral fat tissue.

Switching to whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates can significantly improve not just bodyweight but your overall health in general, which is why some of the healthiest places in the world eat these grains on a daily basis.

RELATED: 6 Breakfasts Enjoyed By The Longest-Living People in The World


Fast food breakfast

mcdonalds egg mcmuffin and hash brown on tray
Moab Republic/Shutterstock

Fast food is easy and affordable, but it, unfortunately, comes with a long list of health-related consequences. For one, fast food can be high in trans fats, which when consumed regularly have been found to lead to things obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. In fact, most research suggests we eliminate trans fats from our diets completely.

Trans fats can specifically lead to more weight gain in the abdominal area, which was discovered after a study on postmenopausal women in Nutrition & Diabetes.

Another study focusing on Iranian adults concluded that fast food consumption was related to an increase in metabolic syndrome, which includes conditions like abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.


Sugary cereal


Consuming too much added sugar is a quick way to derail your weight loss goals, and many popular cereals are loaded with it.

According to a study found in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, added sugar was associated with a greater increase in visceral fat tissue, which is the dangerous type of fat that sits around your abdominal organs.

If not kept in check, too much visceral fat can lead to health complications like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

RELATED: The Unhealthiest Cereals on the Planet


Specialty coffee drinks

Starbucks frappuccino

Coffee by itself can actually be beneficial to weight loss. If consumed black or without a lot of cream or sugar, it can help by boosting your metabolism and energizing you throughout the day. Unfortunately, specialty coffee drinks that many of us get in the habit of ordering at our favorite cafe are full of sugar and added calories from fat.

Beverages made with added sugar, such as specialty coffee drinks, soda, and sugary fruit juices have been linked to a number of health problems, including weight gain and abdominal obesity. Harvard Health even emphasizes that drinks with added sugar can sometimes be worse than sugar-heavy foods because these beverages come with little to no nutrients whatsoever.

If you're going to go for the specialty coffee drink, try asking for less sweetener or add some yourself so you can control the portions.

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha