Work out all you want, but without the cooperation of a carefully considered diet, you're much less likely to see noticeable results when it comes to toning or firming your physique. And while you may think you have an overall understanding as far as which foods and beverages constitute a "healthy" diet, you may be surprised to learn that certain items thought to be beneficial when it comes to transforming your body could be inhibiting you from reaching your goals.
To shed more light on the array of surprising foods that may be standing in your way in terms of toning up, London nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert, BSc MSc ANutr, shared her tips—specifically for achieving a flat stomach— as far as what to avoid with Femail Food & Drink. Many of the items on her list are commonly associated with bloating, which is the opposite of what you're trying to achieve when you're working hard to improve your body image.
While dairy, "junk food," and fizzy drinks are less shocking, you'll want to reconsider a few of the common foods on Lambert's list below.
Though apples are rich in fiber and antioxidants, they are not the ideal fruit to snack on when trying to reduce bloat in the belly area. Lambert explains, "they are known to cause bloating and other digestive issues for some people," as the mix of fiber and fructose ferments in the large intestine, which may result in gas. Instead of forgoing the fruit altogether, she suggests reaping the benefits by baking or cooking apples, which is easier on the digestive tract.
"Even though they're usually eaten in small quantities, onions are one of the main dietary sources of fructans—soluble fibres that can cause bloating," according to Lambert. Raw onions, therefore, may cause discomfort and irritation during digestion due to these fructans. Like apples, the digestive effects of onions can be reduced by consuming them cooked or baked instead of raw. She also suggests substituting alternative spices or fresh herbs for the same type of flavor.
Since lentils are so high in fiber, you might assume they'd be considered a healthy food option, but for the same reason, they can lead to bloating, being that fiber-rich foods lead to an overproduction of gas. Alternatively, Lambert shares that "if you can't be without your lentils, it's worth noting that light colored lentils are generally lower in fiber than darker ones, and therefore, may cause less bloating."
Which foods on her list surprised you most? Tell us in the comments below, and shop our healthy-eating essentials to get started.