Seven “Healthy” Foods That Will Increase Belly Fat

A particularly insidious cause of unexpected weight gain is what I call “Belly Fat Impostors.”

These foods dress up in healthy clothing, but behind the curtain they wreak havoc on your waistline.

Below are the seven impostors I find most egregious:

1) “Fat Free” Foods: Just because a food is labeled “fat free” does not mean it is healthy.

Lollipops are “fat free” but certainly not healthful. Often manufacturers take the fat out of certain products and simply add more sugar. I remember the “fat free” cookie craze of the late 1980’s – everyone who indulged simply became fatter.

2) “Organic” Food: The “organic” label means that the food you’re purchasing is free of preservatives and pesticides; however the nutritional facts should garner the same concern as any other food. Because it is trendy, I am seeing more and more junk food being labeled as organic.

So remember, a potato chip is still fattening whether it is organic or not!

3) Ground Turkey: Just because it’s turkey does not make it lean. Ground turkey often includes fat and skin, and can have more calories and fat than lean beef. So check the label and make sure you are getting only lean cuts.

4) Chain Restaurant Salads: Salads aren’t healthy by default. Like anything else, it depends on how they are prepared. Chain restaurant salads are often loaded with fats and sugars to the point where they contain more calories than a hamburger and fries. This is a delusion I see many people fall into. It is very important to ask your server for a calorie count of your salad and get your dressing on the side.

5) Frozen Vegetables with Extras: Like salads, watch out for what comes with your frozen vegetables. Often sauces are high in sugar and fat and simply take away the point of eating veggies in the first place. Make sure your frozen veggies are frozen with nothing else added.

Sugar free cookies are another diet trap

6) Sugar Free Cookies:

When manufacturers remove sugar, they often add more fat and/or artificial sweeteners to the mix. So over indulging can still have major waist expanding effects.

7) Veggie Chips: This is the trickiest of all. Once you fry a vegetable, it is no better than a potato chip. Fried batter is fried batter and once fried a vegetable loses most, if not all, of its nutritional value.

So there you have it, my top seven Belly Fat Impostors…

There are plenty more, and I would love to hear your additions. Please write down your favorite Belly Fat Impostors in the comment section below.

Dr. Steven Sisskind, M.D.
Dr. Steven Sisskind, M.D.

Steve Sisskind, M.D.

Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.

As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.

Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?

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  1. If I have stage four kidney failure will apple cider ginger hurt me in trying to lose weight.

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Pricilla,

      Thank you for writing in! I strongly recommend that you speak with your personal doctor before getting started on this. While Taking Apple Cider Vinegar may have plenty of health benefits. It may not be a good fit for everyone, especially those who have an underlying medical condition. Make it a healthy day!

  2. Talking about weight loss? It is not just a bunch of numbers. We gotta work on it coz it’s a matter of life n death. I have just found out that I got high blood pressure 2 weeks ago. It is controlled now with the medication I am taking.

    My doc checked my BMI as well, aside from my BP, to find out if I need to lose weight. Yup, sure do.

    She wants me to lose 6 kilos. If I lose these 6 kilos, I will have a chance to go back and live a normal life, as my blood pressure would go down back to normal . By then I don”t have to pop pills every morning.

    I just don’t know how to discipline my mouth not to eat too much. Especially carbo rich foods, too. I love my Mango Nectar juice a lot as well. I think I will have to break free from any sweet stuff from now on. Not into chockies but I am a sucker for a glass of this juice on the rocks, even at winter season, more often than not.

    I will have to start dancing my weight away because I have bad knees so I cannot go jogging. Even walking long distances is just too much for me. Dancing is the only exercise I can do as per doctor’s order.

    Got one question. Is apple cider vinegar n honey drink really good for u? It stimulates your metabolism to burn fat quicker n detoxes ur insides at the same time. So they say. Seen it on Utube. Just curious. I wanna try it so l can shed off my unwanted 6 kilos of fat. But ,because I am taking meds for my BP atm, so I gotta ask if it is okay to do so.

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi JayJay,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your concerns with us! Yes, Apple Cider Vinegar can help in your weight loss journey. We recommend up to 2 oz. of raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) per day. You can take it alone, with water, or it’s great to use as a dressing on your salad. Just mix in a little olive oil, ACV, concentrated fruit juice and your favorite herbs and spices, it’s super easy and healthy too! Also, apple cider vinegar and cinnamon, which have been shown in human studies to help reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes and improve insulin sensitivity. Cinnamon is one of the best anti-oxidants on the planet. It is the number one herb/spice for balancing blood sugar. As for keeping your focus or discipline, distract and redirect. I do this with my kids all the time. When they want to do something that I don’t want them to, I try to divert their attention. See if you can do that with your cravings. Dancing is an excellent form of exercise! I hope this helps! Make it a healthy day!

  3. I’m so scared to start another eating program. I’m 65 years old, have weighed up and over 500+pounds in the past, now I yo-yo between 350-390lbs. I’m not going to give you a sob story, I LIKE FOOD! I have no excuses, have tried hard to alter eating and drinking habits over several years now. Took over 3 YEARs to stop drinking diet sodas, took 3+ years to realize that I was addicted to hot dogs ! I know I’m long winded, maybe I’m seeking validation . Honestly, it is hard to start over, and try something new, but after studying this program, am going to adjust my thinking?, and start today. Thank you for giving me new ideas, new angles, new hope.

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Susan,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your story with us! I am so happy that you have decided to take control and make the journey to better health. Me and the RealCare Team are with you and are ready to lend a helping hand when you need it. We understand that losing weight is never easy and wanted to let you know that, should you have any questions or concerns, please never hesitate to let us know! Make it a healthy day!

  4. When i feel for a sweet tooth, I love Oatmeal Raisin Cookies how much should i eat in a week.

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Vesta,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your concerns with us! I certainly do know what you mean. Sometimes, the call of sweets is just too hard to ignore. I do suggest you have your Oatmeal Raisin cookies as a snack just before your cheat meal or as a dessert thereafter, so as not to negatively affect your weight loss progress. A piece or two should be fine but be sure to stick to your portions. Also, I ran across a healthy recipe for Oatmeal raisin cookies a while back and do suggest you do a quick online search and make a batch at home. By doing so, you get to cut out the extra additives and know that your cookie is made fresh. Hope this helps! Make it a healthy day!

  5. Dr. Sisskin,
    How bad is coffee creamer as far as belly fat? I usually use Coffeemate in my coffee a few times a day, and generally use the powdered kind.

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hi Lesley,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your concerns with us! Coffee creamer when taken in moderate amounts should not drastically influence your tendency to gain weight, especially around your belly. It is other diet and lifestyle habits that are key to maintaining a healthy physique (e.g., get plenty of exercise, achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, avoid smoking and, especially, limit alcohol intake and avoid eating excess carbohydrates). Hope this helps! Make it a healthy day!

  6. I have heard that glutton free foods are sometimes not healthy, because the glutton can be replaced with sugar or fat. Which glutton foods should one stay away from? Thanks for being there for us Dr. Steve.

    • Dr. Steve Sisskind

      Hello Esther,

      Thank you for writing in and for sharing your concerns with us! Did you mean gluten? If so, then yes, not all gluten free foods are healthy as they tend to substitute whole grains with refined ones and add a lot of sugars and fat to maintain flavor. I am posting an article I wrote about the subject below. Hope you enjoy the read! Make it a healthy day!

  7. It’s important to drink,6 to 8,glasses of water daily.for ppl

    • Actually you want to go by your body weight and drink half hour weight in ounces of water a day. For optimal hydration that is. Since every individual is in fact an individual meaning they are their own height and weight this is a much better standard for figuring out just how much you need.

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