Limit Some Fruits in Your Fight Against Belly Fat
Fruit is great for you, but you do have to keep in mind the glycemic index (GI) of the type you choose. Choosing foods with a lower GI can help promote the loss of belly fat. Most fruits are in the low range on the GI scale, but a few are higher, most specifically watermelon.
Because it has an elevated GI, watermelon may cause spikes in both blood sugar and insulin levels, which can trigger storage of belly fat. Watermelon isn’t all bad, however. Out of almost all fruits and vegetables, it contains the highest content of lycopene, which is a phytochemical that has been shown to protect the heart by decreasing the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Some studies have also shown a positive correlation between increased lycopene intake and a decreased risk of certain cancers, such as prostate cancer. Watermelon is also rich in the amino acid arginine, which has been shown to promote fat loss and increase muscle mass.
You don’t need to avoid watermelon, just watch how often you eat it and how much you eat at one sitting. For the best belly-flattening results, keep your watermelon intake to about 1 cup per day. This way you get all the great benefits of watermelon without too much impact on your insulin levels.
Other fruits that can contain a high GI include
Dried fruits with added sugar: When choosing dried fruit, buy brands that only contain fruit. Dried fruits that list sugar, cane juice, or corn syrup in the ingredients are loaded with added sweeteners that can raise your GI and promote increased belly fat storage.
Fruits that have been canned in heavy syrup: If you enjoy canned fruits, choose varieties canned in 100 percent fruit juice rather than those packed in syrups.
Fruit juices, specifically juices that aren’t 100 percent juice: Because juices contain limited amounts of fiber, they aren’t as filling as eating a piece of fruit. They also may potentially raise blood sugar and insulin levels higher than a piece of fruit would.
If you do have juice, drink it in moderation (approximately 1/2 to 1 cup per day). Also be sure to select a brand that contains only 100 percent fruit juice. If you love juice in larger quantities, try this trick: Dilute 4 ounces of juice with 8 ounces of water for a delicious and refreshing beverage with less sugar.
To identify and avoid these high-GI fruits, make sure you read labels.