If you’re having trouble losing weight, it’s time to take a good, hard look at the foods on your plate. The ideal meal contains a balance of protein, healthy fats, and good carbs. But the wrong carbohydrates can weigh you down and make it more difficult to burn stubborn belly fat.
This is the one carb you should stop eating to lose belly fat once and for all, according to nutritionists.
Potatoes aren’t inherently bad. The veggie is packed with vitamin C, fiber, iron, Vitamin B6, and potassium, not to mention it’s one food that will fill you up fast and keep you full for hours.
But if you’re struggling to lose weight and get flatter abs, it’s also one food you might want to avoid.
According to Harvard Health, one study published in The New England Journal of Medicine followed 120,000 healthy, non-obese men and women and tracked what they ate and how much weight they gained over the years. They discovered that most participants gained 3.3 pounds every three years over a 13-year period.
And the foods that caused the most weight gain were:
It’s no surprise that potatoes came up twice on this list. French fries, especially, are filled with trans fat, which has been linked to belly fat and weight gain, as well as health problems like cardiovascular disease.
If you are eating your fries or potato chips all by themselves, or with a greasy hamburger on the side, you’re no doubt going to enjoy the delicious meal, but experts say all of that fat will go straight to your blood. And when you eat fried potatoes, they don’t count as a healthy veggie that can prevent that from happening.
“Fat goes fast into the bloodstream without a moderating effect. Vegetables help with digestion and metabolism because they have vitamins and antioxidants that help clean up the bad ingredients ingested,” Rasa Kazlauskaite, MD, an endocrinologist at Rush University Prevention Center in Chicago, told Reader’s Digest.
In his book Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy, Walter C. Willett, who chairs the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, warns that potatoes aren’t the healthiest option for everyone.
“Nutritionists and diet books alike often call potatoes a ‘perfect food.’ But while eating potatoes on a daily basis may be fine for lean people who exercise a lot or who do regular manual labor, for everyone else potatoes should be an occasional food consumed in modest amounts, not a daily vegetable. The venerable baked potato increases levels of blood sugar and insulin more quickly and to higher levels than an equal amount of calories from pure table sugar.”
When you decide to enjoy a side dish of potatoes (because no one suggests cutting this food completely out of your life), it’s a good idea to pay attention to how you’re cooking your potatoes and what you’re using as an added fat.
Air-fried sweet potatoes are a great option because they eliminate the need for oil completely. And if you do add oil, olive oil is packed with omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart, health, and waistline.