Sugar is calorie-dense with virtually no nutritional value. So not only will these calories add up and cause you to pack on the pounds, but sugar also plays an especially tricky role in how our bodies store belly fat.
Research shows that an increase in the consumption of sugar, especially in sugar-sweetened beverages, can lead to more belly fat. Plus, sugar spikes your insulin levels, and too much insulin has been linked to obesity. This can also lead to insulin resistance, and a common symptom of insulin resistance is the extra storage of belly fat.
And while you should limit the typical culprits of sweets — candy, cookies, doughnuts, etc. — you should also pay attention to sneaky sources of added sugars. Registered dietitian Jeanette Kimszal said that added sugar can be found in "healthy" foods like granola, breakfast bars, yoghurt, and nut butters. "Having no added sugar is optimal, but striving for only 25 grams (six teaspoons) a day is recommended for those who want to lose belly fat," she told POPSUGAR. "If you have a health condition, you may want to limit your sugar intake to 15 grams (four teaspoons) a day."
Jeanette also said belly fat could indicate digestion issues and that your liver might not be metabolizing foods properly; decreasing the amount of sugar in your diet will improve liver function.