There’s an old saying: Abs are made in the kitchen—meaning, your diet plays a greater role in burning belly fat than your workout does. And a scientific study supports that notion. When scientists in Brazil analyzed 33 clinical trials, they determined that diet controls 75 percent of weight loss. Of course, that doesn’t mean exercise isn’t an important part of the fat-burning formula. But if you want the fastest results, working out isn’t enough; a smart eating plan is the foundation of the most effective fat-melting programs. The best place to start: These five proven superfoods fromThe NEW Abs Diet for Women.
1. Almond and Other Nuts
All nuts are high in protein and monounsaturated fat. But almonds are the king of nuts. A handful of almonds provide half the amount of vitamin E you need in a day and 8 percent of the calcium. They also contain 19 percent of your daily requirement of magnesium—a key component for muscle building.
2. Beans and Legumes
Black, lima, pinto, garbanzo—you pick the bean (as long as it’s not refried—refried beans are loaded with fat). Beans are a low-calorie food packed with protein, fiber, and iron—ingredients crucial for building muscle and losing weight.
3. Spinach and Other Green Vegetables
You know vegetables are packed with important nutrients, but they’re also a critical part of your body-changing diet. For instance, one serving of spinach supplies nearly a full day’s worth of vitamin A and half of your vitamin C.
4. Dairy (Fat-Free or Low-Fat Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, and Cottage Cheese)
A University of Texas study found that dieters who consumed between 1,200 and 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day lost nearly twice as much weight as dieters getting less calcium. Get your daily fix by drinking a glass of milk sprinkled with chocolate protein powder!
5. Instant Oatmeal (Unsweetened, Unflavored)
Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, meaning that it attracts fluid and stays in your stomach longer than insoluble fiber (like vegetables). A Penn State study also showed that oatmeal sustains blood sugar levels longer than many other foods, which keeps insulin levels stable and ensures you won’t be ravenous for the few hours that follow.