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The One Drink to Give Up to Get Rid of Belly Fat, Says a Dietitian

Stop sipping on this one beverage to see you belly fat start to melt away.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Let's be real, no one likes belly fat, and it can be especially frustrating if you're working out, eating right, and still can't manage to shed those stubborn extra pounds around your midsection.

While being active and eating healthy are great places to start if you're looking to blast away some belly fat quickly, there's another simple change you can make to your diet that will help that weight fall off and stay off—change your drinking habits. More specifically, to melt belly fat, ditch the sugary soda you have with lunch (and probably also with dinner) that's nothing more than a glass full of empty calories. (Related: 100 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.) (Related: What Happens To Your Brain When You Drink Soda.)

"Soda is one of the biggest contributors of added sugar in a typical American diet. The high amounts of added sugars in soda raise blood sugar very quickly, stimulating the body to release insulin to lower blood sugar," explains Diana Gariglio-Clelland, RD, a registered dietitian on staff at NextLuxury. "Insulin is a fat-storage hormone, which can lead to extra weight gain, particularly visceral (belly) fat. This visceral fat around the vital organs is more dangerous than the fat that accumulates elsewhere on the body."

The American Heart Association recommends that men consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugar per day and that women have no more than 6 teaspoons (24 grams) in one day. When you consider that one 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola has 33 grams of sugar, you can see how easy it is to surpass the AHA's recommendation on a daily basis, thus adding an unwanted layer of fat to your belly.

What's more? If you're getting 33 grams of sugar just from a single can of soda, you're likely consuming much more than the suggested amount of added sugar on a given day, because, in addition to soda, you can find it in everything from yogurt to tomato sauce. See: 30 Worst Grocery Foods With the Most Sugar.

"Cutting back on any sugar-sweetened beverages, like soda, can help lower the risk of gaining belly fat," explains Holly Klamer, MS, RDN, and writer at My Crohn's and Colitis Team. "Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was associated with gaining weight specifically in the belly area in a 2016 study. Not surprisingly, people who drank the highest amount of sweetened beverages had the highest weight gain in the midsection."

So what's a soda-loving person to do? If you're serious about getting rid of your belly fat, swap out soda (yes, even diet soda!) for something a bit more healthy. "Giving up soda and opting for sparkling water or another beverage free of sugar can quickly add up and promote weight loss when coupled with other healthy lifestyle habits," Gariglio-Clelland notes. You can also check out these 25 Healthy, Low-Sugar Soda Alternatives!

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