No matter what anyone tries to tell (or sell) you, there is nothing easy or fast about getting six-pack abs.There are no magic pills or secret workouts to make them appear overnight. However, obtaining the abs of your dreams is possible with proper nutrition, exercise and hard work. Try these four nutrition tips to help you earn your six pack.
1. Reduce Added Sugar
It’s no surprise that sugar is the most popular ingredient added to foods in the US, but can you believe that the average American eats 3 pounds of sugar per week.
Most of this sugar comes from foods with added sugar such as soda, candy, and baked goods. Sugar is also added to many processed foods like ketchup, crackers, bread, soups, cereals, peanut butter, cured meats, and even salad dressings. You can reduce your sugar intake drastically by avoiding packaged foods and checking labels for hidden sugars like high-fructose corn syrup and dextrose.
Eliminating soda, juice drinks, and sweets can be the hardest part for many. Enjoying a little of what you love can help you steer clear of feeling denied. If you’re going to give in, then try to keep your indulgence to under 150 calories.
2. Avoid White Starches
All carbohydrate foods raise the level of glucose in the blood. The glycemic index of a food tells us to what extent a food raises the glucose level. High-glycemic foods digest and absorb into the bloodstream quickly, which causes large, rapid changes in blood sugar levels.
White starches typically have the highest glycemic levels. When starches like white rice, white pasta, white potatoes, and white bread are consumed any glucose not immediately needed by the cells is stored in your liver and muscles for future use. Any starches that are consumed beyond the storage capacity can be converted to and stored as fat, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Try swapping out white rice with brown rice, white pasta with quinoa pasta, white potatoes with sweet potatoes, and white bread with sprouted grain bread.
3. Drink More Water
For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, a study presented at an American Chemical Society meeting found that drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner can help you lose weight and keep it off.
Researchers aren’t positive how water helps us lose weight, but they hypothesize that it’s because drinking water before meals make us feel full and prevents overeating. Also, downing more water may stop you from consuming beverages with calories like soda.
4. Eat Protein at Every Meal
Protein may be the No. 1 key to losing weight. It’s more satisfying than carbohydrates or fats, and thus helps us feel full after a meal. People who don’t eat enough protein may actually eat more food and still have an appetite afterwards.
In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, dieters who increased their protein intake to 30 percent of their diet consumed 450 fewer calories per day and lost an average of 11 pounds during the 12-week study.
When most people think about protein, images of beef, chicken, milk, and eggs may come to mind. However, there are numerous high quality sources of protein in the grocery store that you can use to get protein at every meal.
Vegetables like green peas, kale, and spinach not only contain protein, but are also high in fiber. In the dairy aisle, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are great sources of protein. You’ll even find protein in grains like oats and quinoa.