Eating Habits Secretly Increasing Abdominal Fat

Eating processed food can be a quick contributor to abdominal fat, but dietitians say it's also the portion sizes that make a difference.

Eating large portions of ultra-processed foods.

"Processed foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat can contribute to excess abdominal fat," says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and a member of our medical expert board.

Making yourself a fresh, hearty salad can be a great choice for the warmer weather. But dietitians say that certain salad dressings can sneak in added fat, sugar, and calories without us noticing.

Using fatty salad dressings.

"Many of us turn to salads for a healthier meal, especially when wanting to get rid of abdominal fat," says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements.

Nut butter can provide you with plenty of health benefits, but it's still important to watch your portion sizes when trying to lose abdominal fat.

Eating peanut butter in large amounts.

"Peanut butter is a food that is certainly rich in nutrients, but not all varieties are created with the same nutritional profile," says Best.

Yogurt can provide you with a ton of health benefits, but not all types of yogurt are created equally.

Eating peanut butter in large amounts.

"The quality of yogurt is an important factor in whether or not it will add to or take away from your weight loss efforts," says Best. "Yogurts made with high fat or added sugar and other sweeteners can be contributing to your abdominal fat.

While technically not an "eating habit," getting poor quality sleep and staying in a state of high stress can affect your eating patterns and food choices throughout the day.

Stressing out and getting poor sleep.

"Stress can increase abdominal fat, in part, due to increasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol," says Young.