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There are a lot of foods out there that seem to be—and may even claim to be—healthy. In reality, though, they may actually be detrimental to your weight loss plans. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to nutrition labels while shopping and consider how overeating healthy food can result in the same amount of calories and unhealthy side effects as processed refined foods. As it turns out, there are a few dinner meals that experts say you should stay away from, even if they seem like a good option, because they can result in visceral fat.
To discover some of the worst healthy-seeming culprits out there, we spoke to Lisa Richards, a nutritionist and the creator of the Candida Diet. She said that the four “healthy” dinner foods that you may need to cut out to lose visceral fat include brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and whole wheat pasta. While they may be healthy and beneficial in small doses, if you eat these dinner foods in excess, they can spike your blood sugar levels and result in insulin resistance. Learn more about the health effects of each of these meals and some healthy alternatives below!
Even though brown rice is a whole grain that is high in fiber and can help reset your gut health, Richards says that “it’s still a carbohydrate that can spike blood sugar levels and contribute to insulin resistance.” Not only can insulin resistance lead to the accumulation of visceral fat, but it can also cause elevated blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia). Over time, hyperglycemia can result in prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes. “If you’re trying to lose visceral fat, it may be helpful to reduce your intake of carbohydrates, including brown rice,” she adds.
Instead, Richards suggests eating a cauliflower rice stir-fry with lean protein. “Cauliflower rice is a low-carbohydrate alternative to traditional rice that’s high in fiber and nutrients,” she says. “Adding a lean protein, such as chicken or tofu, can help you feel full and satisfied.” Yum!
Similar to brown rice, quinoa is another whole grain that is rich in protein, fiber, and healthy carbs that can help you shed pounds. “However, like brown rice, it’s still a carbohydrate that can spike blood sugar levels and contribute to insulin resistance,” Richards warns. “To lose visceral fat, it may be beneficial to reduce your intake of carbohydrates, including quinoa.”
Richards recommends trying a delicious stir-fry with vegetables and tofu or shrimp. “This meal is low in carbohydrates and high in fiber and protein. The vegetables provide vitamins and minerals, while the tofu or shrimp provides protein and healthy fats,” she says. Experts agree that tofu is the best plant-based meat replacement for weight loss.
Now, we love sweet potatoes, but, as they say, too much of a good thing. “Sweet potatoes are nutritious root [vegetables] that [are] high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals,” Richards notes. “However, they’re also a carbohydrate that can spike blood sugar levels and contribute to insulin resistance.” That’s why if you’re trying to lose visceral fat, she recommends limiting your intake of carbohydrates, like sweet potatoes.
A healthy dinner meal that Richards can’t recommend enough is a grilled chicken breast with roasted vegetables. “This meal is high in protein and fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied,” she raves. “The roasted vegetables are low in carbohydrates and rich in vitamins and minerals.” Some healthy vegetables you can consume are butternut squash, zucchini, and bell peppers.
Whole Wheat Pasta
Lastly, Richards warns that whole wheat pasta, while high in fiber and low in calories, can still spike your blood sugar levels if eaten in excess. “Whole wheat pasta is a whole grain pasta that’s high in fiber and nutrients. However, it’s still a carbohydrate that can spike blood sugar levels and contribute to insulin resistance,” she says. “If you’re trying to lose visceral fat, it may be helpful to reduce your intake of carbohydrates, including whole wheat pasta.”
So, instead, she suggests opting for a grilled salmon with a spinach salad for dinner. “Salmon is a good source of protein and healthy fats, which can help reduce inflammation and support weight loss,” she notes. And, the spinach salad is high in fiber and low in carbohydrates!
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, these whole grains and nutritious veggies are healthy in recommended dosages, but Richards says that they should not be eaten in excess. If you do, this could result in insulin resistance which can make it difficult to reduce visceral fat.