Want a Flat Stomach? Stop Eating These 6 Foods

Sometimes, a few simple tweaks are all it takes to give your diet a boost. For example, there are foods that you can avoid to help you lose weight and minimize abdominal bloating, which not only causes physical discomfort but is a barrier to getting the abs of your dreams. Whether it’s from bloat or you’re carrying those last few pounds around your middle, do yourself a favor and cut these six foods out of your diet now.

1. Soda

soda in a fridge

Soda can cause you to look bloated. | iStock.com

Not only can drinking it regularly make you gain weight from all those extra calories, but carbonated drinks can cause excessive bloat — even those without calories can still cause gas to get trapped in you stomach. If you’re feeling bloated, drinking peppermint tea may help.

2. Alcohol

four different alcoholic drinks in glasses

Too much alcohol will make you bloated and drunk. | iStock.com

While studies show that regular, moderate consumption of 5 to 30 grams a day of an alcoholic beverage can reduce the risk of heart disease in men by 51%, it presents two problems: First, similar to sweets, it has a high caloric content with little nutritional benefit, and second, drinking one drink often leads to drinking more. A single night out can mean consuming hundreds or even thousands of extra calories that you would normally not have consumed. It can also cause you to make bad eating choices, and those calories will add up and cause you to pack on extra padding around your middle.

3. Refined carbohydrates

bagel with cream cheese

Refined carbohydrates can cause a spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels. | iStock.com

Pasta, bagels, cereal, and rice — dude, chill out on the carb-loading. If your choice carbs are made of white flours, start to weed those out of your diet because they get digested very quickly, causing a spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels. The Huffington Post notes that since insulin is known as a “fat storage hormone,” the more insulin circulating in your blood, the more likely your body will convert the carbs you eat into fat and will store them not just in your stomach, but everywhere else. Switch to whole-wheat flour, and instead of loading up on carbs, add more lean proteins like chicken breast or salmon.

4. Dairy


It’s no surprise that dairy will make you bloated. | iStock.com

While dairy is a great source of calcium, if you’re looking for a flatter stomach, you may want to avoid it. You may be allergic and have a lactose intolerance that can cause gas and bloating when you consume anything containing dairy. If you suspect you may be lactose intolerant, pay a visit to your doctor. WebMD says that it can help to choose aged cheeses and yogurts, which are lower in lactose.

5. Processed food

Processed meal

Stay away from the frozen TV dinners. | iStock.com

Processed food tends to be very high in sodium and fat and subsequently low in fiber, which is why it’s so damn delicious and also why it causes bloating. Foods that contain a high amount of sodium, such as canned soups, frozen dinners, and condiments, can cause the body to retain more water, says Rosanna Lee, a nutrition educator and community health promoter based in Toronto, to The Huffington Post. She adds that, because our bodies are trying to balance out our electrolytes by diluting salt in our bodies, bloat often happens as a result. Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., author of The Flexitarian Diet advises in WebMD to get in the habit of reading food labels and look for labels that specify low to no sodium. The Institute of Medicine recommends that you not consume more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

6. Cruciferous vegetables

raw broccoli on a sheet pan

Broccoli can cause a lot of bloating. | iStock.com/Eric_Urquhart

There’s a good reason why Sheldon put an end to cruciferous vegetable night on The Big Bang Theory: Veggies like kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli have been found to cause bloating. These healthy foods are also packed with nutrients and vitamins, so don’t cut them out entirely. You might just want to avoid them if you’re hitting the beach sometime soon.