The Worst Drinks for Belly Fat, According to Science
We're going to say it—targeting that dreaded belly fat isn't the easiest. And it's more than just doing countless ab exercises. It's all about what you're putting in your body, too. Some foods are likely contributing to belly fat, and the same can be said for drinks.
Yes, what you're sipping on can be adding more belly fat. This type of fat is called visceral fat and it can be dangerous to your overall health, as it surrounds your organs. Visceral fat is not only linked to heart disease and diabetes, but some studies have also found a connection between higher amounts of visceral fat and breast and colorectal cancers, dementia, and asthma.
No one wants that!
So to best help you out, we rounded up the biggest beverage culprits. These are the worst drinks for belly fat you'll want to avoid. Instead, be sure to stock up on any of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
By now, it's no secret that soda—both regular and diet—is nothing but trouble for your overall health. You're simply sipping on pure sugar, as one regular can of Coca-Cola, for example, is packing 39 grams of sugar. And that's bad news for your waistline.
See, one study in the Journal of Nutrition found that those who drank sugar-sweetened beverages like soda every day had a 10% higher volume of visceral fat than those who did not drink soda. Plus, another study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that over nine years, people who drank diet soda gained almost three times as much belly fat as those who didn't drink diet soda. Researchers concluded that the consumption of artificial sweeteners actually leads to more sugar cravings, and causes people to eat more calories.
Instead, sip on seltzer instead to get your carbonated fix, says Eat This, Not That! medical board expert, Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN.
Frozen Coffee Drinks
Don't panic—your morning cup of Joe is safe, as long as you're not adding sugary flavors, syrups, and whipped cream to it. That's right, all those frozen coffee drinks are a problem when it comes to your waistline. These drinks tend to be high-calorie and packed with sugar, a major contributor to belly fat. One study found that nearly 70% of coffee drinkers had their morning beverage with caloric add-ins including sugar and creamers. Yikes!
Bonci recommends going for a DIY Frozen coffee drink made with low-fat milk, cinnamon, and even a sprinkle of cocoa.
If you're going for the fresh-squeezed stuff, then you're in the clear. Natural sugars aren't the problem here. But you might be surprised to uncover that tons of bottled fruit juices are actually loaded up with added sugar. Sadly, that means these drinks are indeed contributing to belly fat. When the juice craving hits, Bonci says it's best to pour 1/2 cup of the juice into a glass and then fill the rest with sparkling water.
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Once upon a time, a milkshake was simply milk and ice cream. Now, it's much more common to find restaurant milkshakes that are loaded up with cookies, candies, and tons of sugary toppings and mix-ins. These drinks are simply dangerous, coming in at more than 1,000 calories! Not doing your waistline any favors, that's for sure. . .
If you want to indulge, Bonci says it's best to go for the kids-size option, so share the regular-size with a friend.
A medium-sized McDonald's sweet tea is packing as much sugar as you would get from nearly three Original Glazed Krispy Kreme Donuts. Not ideal! It's been proven by many studies that excess sugar consumption has been linked with larger fat deposits around the heart and in the abdomen, both of which are risky for your health.
Brands like Yoo-Hoo are not actual chocolate milk; they're chocolate drinks. The first ingredient listed is water, followed by high fructose corn syrup. And that's where the trouble comes in. One study found that drinks containing high-fructose corn syrup are linked to obesity. The study explains that fructose is absorbed in the body differently than other sugars, which affects insulin levels and metabolism, and can lead to weight gain.
Be sure you're sipping on actual chocolate milk!
It can get a bit boring to sip on just water all the time. So a flavored, colorful water drink seems ideal. Well, that's just not the case, as drinks like Vitaminwater have as much sugar as a soda! When in doubt, it's best to stick to plain water that you add actual fruit to instead. That won't contribute to any belly fat. And, in fact, can aid weight loss.