7 Foods That Cause Belly Fat

Written by Andrew Brewer. ⚕️Reviewed and fact checked by our medical team.


When it comes to weight gain, not all foods are created equal. Studies examining the impact of specific kinds of food on the body have come to the conclusion that some foods are just better for you than others.

For instance, there are foods that trigger a slow down of metabolism, causing dangerous belly fat to accumulate faster than other foods. Since belly fat is linked to hypertension, diabetes, and other lethal heart and brain diseases, cutting out foods that cause belly fat is the best course of action.

Here are 7 foods causing belly fat that you would rather avoid starting today :

Key Takeaways

  • Certain foods can cause the accumulation of dangerous belly fat, which is linked to a range of health problems including hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • Some of the foods that cause belly fat include bagels made from white flour, sugary drinks, fruit juices that contain high fructose corn syrup and fatty red meats like ribeye.
  • It’s important to avoid foods that contain trans fats, which are found in processed foods like pizza, donuts, and packaged bread.
  • To reduce the risk of belly fat, it’s recommended to choose healthier options like whole grain bread and pasta, lean cuts of meat, and baked vegetable fries instead of French fries.
  • Avoiding cheese, which is high in saturated fats, can also help reduce the risk of visceral fat development.
  1. Bagels (White Flour)

These carbohydrate-laden confection has long been a breakfast menu staple, but do you know what’s known as ring of goodness is actually doing serious harm to your waistline?

Recent studies have revealed that refined grains like white flour has a pronounced impact on the development of visceral (belly) fat and subcutaneous fats than whole grains.

So skip the bagels.

In fact, skip anything with refined grain in order to avoid adding extra pounds to your midsection.

And that includes white breads, pasta, and white flour. Instead, you can opt for carbohydrates made from whole grains. Whole grain bread and pasta is available in most grocery stores now and taste identical to your old unhealthy favorites. Make sure that you are also exercising portion control when eating carbohydrates, as overeating will negate the effects of healthy grains.

  1. Fruit Juice and Soda (High Fructose Corn Syrup)

The numbers don’t lie: sugary drinks cause belly fat. The sweetener that is primarily used in soft drinks today is nothing but high fructose corn syrup.

You may think that nutritionists over exaggerate how devastating the effect of corn syrup can be on your health. In a testing environment, researchers gave a pair of rats food augmented with this variant of corn syrup over a few weeks, and noticed that these rats gained abnormal amounts of weight compared to rats who ate regular food. The scary part is that almost all of the fat gained was visceral, or belly fat.

The message is loud and clear: steer clear of the soda and fruit juice and your waistline will thank you. There is more high fructose corn syrup lurking in the grocery stores than in the juice section. It is used in bread, condiments, apple sauce, and other packaged and processed foods.

  1. Diet Soda (Artificial Sweeteners)

We all know that soda is bad for your health. The sugary drinks rot teeth and enlarge fat stores in the body like no other beverage. But what many people don’t know it that sugar-free ‘diet’ sodas are actually no better.

The science behind soda shows that the rush of liquid sugar signals the body’s insulin production, turning all of the extra sugar into fat almost immediately. Unfortunately substituting sugar alcohols and other artificial sweeteners for regular sugar does not make the insulin problem go away.

Artificial sweeteners taste like sugar because at a molecular level, these sweeteners are nearly identical to sugar. In fact, the body views the sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners the same way that it treats sugar and releases insulin in response, locking all of your blood sugar into fat storage. In essence, artificial sweeteners can cause belly fat the same way high doses of sugar can.

  1. Pizza (Trans Fats)

Trans Fats, once considered safe and delicious, were widely used in processed foods before research revealed that it plays a pivotal role in the development of belly fat. In studies scientists found that monkeys that were fed trans fats gained excessive amounts of weight—even when they were not consuming high levels of calories.

That means even individuals who are dieting will gain weight if they are eating diet foods  containing trans fats!

The message is clear: If you’re serious about weight loss, avoid trans fats entirely. This means no pizza: it is singlehandedly one of the larges sources of trans fats in the standard American diet.

Other foods with trans fats include packaged breads, donuts, and more. Cutting these foods out from your diet will not only reduce your risk of belly fat, but it will also decrease your bad cholesterol levels and the risk of several cancers.

  1. Ribeye (Fatty Red Meat)

The ribeye and other red meats may be delicious, but the fat that is marbled through the meat is a potent contributor to visceral fat and can lead to several metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity. Fatty red meat in general has been linked to high cholesterol, hypertension and risk of stroke.

Instead of choosing the cuts of meat that are high in fat you can opt for the leaner cuts of meat. For starters, replacing red meats with poultry and fish sound like a good deal. Leaner meat contains less fat and more protein, which means lower risk of cancer and heart disease.

  1. French Fries (Fried Starches)

These fried spuds go great with hamburgers and baked beans, but French fries also go hand-in-hand with increased belly fat. Harvard conducted a 20 year study on people who ate fried food regularly and found that the subjects gained an average of 15 pounds from French fries alone over the course of the study.

Instead of fries, choose healthy veggie options. Baked potato fries, for instance, are far healthier option than French fries, so feel free to enjoy the baked option! In moderation, or course.

  1. Cheese (Saturated Fats)

America has a love affair with cheese since the 1960’s. It’s melty, creamy, and goes great with everything. Unfortunately it is one of the primary contributor to the obesity in the United States.

Saturated fats, like the ones found in cheese, directly contributes to the visceral fat development in the abdomen. Diet scientists and researchers recommend that saturated fat make up less than ten percent of your dietary calories, so cutting down on the cheese will drastically help reduce your belly fat.


  • What are the foods that cause belly fat?

The seven foods that can contribute to belly fat include sugary drinks, processed foods, alcohol, saturated and trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and excess salt.

  • Why do sugary drinks cause belly fat?

Sugary drinks such as soda, energy drinks, and fruit juices contain high amounts of sugar, which can lead to an increase in belly fat. The excess sugar is converted into fat in the liver, accumulating in the abdominal region.

  • How do processed foods contribute to belly fat?

Processed foods often contain calories, unhealthy fats, and added sugars. These ingredients can lead to weight gain and contribute to the accumulation of belly fat.

  • Can alcohol consumption cause belly fat?

Yes, consuming excess alcohol can lead to an increase in belly fat. Alcohol is high in calories and can also affect hormones that regulate fat storage and metabolism.

  • What is the link between saturated and trans fats and belly fat?

Saturated and trans fats can contribute to weight gain, particularly in the abdominal region. These fats can also lead to inflammation and insulin resistance, which can further contribute to the accumulation of belly fat.

  • How do refined carbohydrates contribute to belly fat?

Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and rice, are high in calories and can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. This can lead to weight gain and the accumulation of belly fat.

  • How does excess salt intake contribute to belly fat?

Excess salt intake can cause water retention, leading to bloating and the appearance of belly fat. Over time, this can contribute to the accumulation of belly fat.

Andrew Brewer

Andrew Brewer

Andrew Brewer started Fastingapps.com to give people the guidance that he never received when he was first starting. His goal is to make your goals achievable and to offer you only the best fasting apps that the internet has to offer. You're not on your own - Andrew and the entire family of reviewers at Fastingapps.com are here with you every step of the way!