Answers FAQ

Belly Fat Foods FAQs

Reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

Take the Belly Fat Foods Quiz First! Before reading this FAQ, challenge yourself and
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Q:Belly fat is the most dangerous kind of fat on the human body. True or false?

A:True.

Belly fat, or visceral fat, lies deeper in the abdomen. Unlike subcutaneous (just under the skin) fat, visceral fat has been linked to health problems such as in increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, and a higher need for gallbladder surgery.

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Q:Which is the better fat belly fighter? Diet soda or air-popped popcorn?

A:With just over a gram of fiber, 1 gram of protein, and 6 carbohydrates, one cup of air-popped popcorn is the better belly fat fighter.

It is cholesterol-free, virtually fat-free, and a filling five popped cups is just 100-150 calories.

One serving of popcorn contains about 70% of the recommended daily intake of whole grain. It also contains folate, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and vitamins B6, A, E and K. A serving of popcorn contains about 8 percent of the daily value of iron, with lesser amounts of calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

Choose popcorn that is air-popped. Adding salt, oil, or butter adds excess sodium, fat, and calories.

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Q:Alcohol increases abdominal fat and the risk of diseases related to obesity. True or false?

A:True.

Alcoholic beverages may contribute to weight gain, including belly fat. Alcoholic drinks contain calories but usually no nutrients, and drinking can impair judgment that can lead to poor food choices, among other things. Drinking in excess causes many health problems. Reduce or eliminate alcoholic beverages for a smaller belly and better health overall.

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Q:People who eat at fast-food restaurants more than twice weekly gain more weight. True or false?

A:True.

A study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) found that young adults who eat at fast-food restaurants more than twice weekly gain more weight and have a greater increase in insulin resistance in early middle age. After 15 years this translated to an extra 10 pounds, and twice the risk for developing type 2 diabetes, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Many fast food meals contain an entire day's worth of calories in just one meal.

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Q:How many calories are in a single pound of fat?

A:One pound of body fat is equal to about 3,500 calories.

In order to lose a pound in a week, you need to consume about 500 fewer calories per day, or burn off that many calories through exercise.

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Q:Abdominal fat disrupts the normal balance and functioning of some hormones. True or false?

A:True.

Visceral fat, the type that is located in the abdominal cavity, has been found to be biologically active. Excess abdominal fat seems to disturb the normal balance and function of hormones and other substances in the body. Visceral fat produces hormones such as adiponcetin, which may influence cell responses to insulin. Visceral fat also produces a chemical called a cytokine, which can increase the risk for heart disease. Other chemicals are thought to effect cell sensitivity to insulin, blood pressure, and blood clotting.

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Q:Calories from fat are better than calories from carbohydrates. True or false?

A:False.

It doesn't matter where calories come from – a calorie is a calorie. One gram of fat equals 9 calories, while 1 gram of carbohydrates or 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories. Whatever you eat, the key to weight loss and loss of belly fat is to eat fewer calories, and exercise more to burn more calories. Be careful when consuming low-fat or fat-free foods, as many of these foods may be high in sugar, and even high in calories.

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Q:If you eat twice as many fat-free cookies as regular cookies, you have decreased your caloric intake. True or false?

A:True.

Eating twice as much of a fat-free food as a regular food will likely increase your overall caloric intake. Fat-free foods are not necessarily low-calorie. Read labels and make sure that reduced fat foods are also reduced calorie foods.

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Q:A body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher is considered normal. True or false?

A:False.

A body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher is considered obese. BMI measures body fat based on height and weight for adults.

- A BMI less than 18.5 is considered underweight
- A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is in the healthy weight range
- A BMI of 25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight
- A BMI of 30.0 or higher is considered obese
- A BMI of 40.0 or more, or a person who is 100 pounds over the idea body weight for their gender, age, and height, is considered morbidly obese.

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Q:To beat belly fat, you should eat more fiber. True or false?

A:True.

Soluble fiber from vegetables, fruits, and beans can help reduce visceral (belly) fat. Eating foods rich in fiber can help you feel fuller, thus reducing your overall caloric intake. It may also help reduce blood cholesterol levels and can lower the risk for heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. It can keep the bowels functioning regularly, and help reduce constipation and diverticulosis.

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