This article has been updated since its original publication date with more expert information.
While some weight gains aren’t all bad and even sometimes necessary for our health, visceral fat is another matter. This type of fat, experts warn, cannot be seen with the naked eye and wraps around the abdominal organs deep inside the body. To avoid this, it is imperative to create a balanced diet and avoid eating certain foods and carbohydrates every day. We consulted health and nutrition experts for more information.
Read on for more details on the 3 carbs to avoid (white flour, white rice, and other processed foods) from Lisa Richards, Registered Nutritionist and Creator of The Candida Diet and Dr. Gabriela Rodríguez Ruiz, MD, PhD, FACS, Bariatric certified. surgeon at VIDA Wellness and Beauty.
READ MORE: 5 Processed Foods Dietitians Want You To Cut From Your Diet In 2023 Because They Cause Visceral Fat
How Refined Carbs Lead to Visceral Fat
White flour, white rice and other processed foods all fall into the category of refined carbohydrates, says Richards, and these should be avoided if your goal is to avoid unnecessary weight gain. “Refined carbs have many negative side effects on our health, and belly fat is just one of them,” she explains.
White and enriched breads in particular, have undergone a refining process where “beneficial fiber and nutrients are removed,” notes Richards, and “eventually replaced with synthetic versions.” These refined carbs, she adds, lead to “rapid sugar spikes and inflammation, which stunt weight loss and damage health.”
Rodríguez agrees and insists on “avoiding White flour, White riceand processed foods made with these ingredients.” Specifically, she says, since white flour has been refined, it is “easily digested and turned into sugar, which raises insulin levels and leads to fat storage.”
Processed foods made with white flour are also “high in calories and low in nutrients,” she points out. “You don’t get full soon after eating them, which can lead to overeating without you even realizing it,” she warns, and it can contribute to weight gain.
White rice is another carb to avoid, says Rodríguez. It considers it to be a high glycemic index food, which means that it causes a rapid rise in blood sugar. This, too, she says, can lead to “insulin resistance and fat storage, especially in the abdominal region.”
White rice is high in carbs but low in fiber, and she explains that a one-cup serving provides 242 calories, 53.4 grams of carbs, and just 0.6 grams of fiber. “A low-fiber diet has been linked to weight gain and obesity because it doesn’t provide the satiety (fullness) that fiber provides,” she adds.
What to eat instead
To avoid these carbs and the associated weight gain, Rodríguez recommends eating whole grains, like brown rice and quinoa, and beans. “Incorporating more vegetables and fruits into your diet can also help because they’re high in fiber and water, which keeps you feeling full,” she says. Additionally, she considers oranges and pineapples to be “particularly good for helping to reduce visceral fat, as they are full of nutrients, fiber and vitamin C.”
A rule of thumb, Richards concludes, is to watch the ingredient list and avoid breads that start with “enriched.” A high-protein diet, she suggests, can help reduce and prevent belly fat. “Lean protein both boosts metabolism and increases satiety,” she says, and “increased metabolism will lead to weight loss.”
Having a feeling of fullness, she continues, “will prevent overeating and indulging in high-calorie, high-sugar foods.” Some protein-rich foods she advises eating to lose belly fat and avoid it include “lean poultry, fish, nuts, eggs, low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, chia , lentils and quinoa”.
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