THE FLAW: “Eat this to zap belly fat!” “Drink that to erase cellulite!” We’ve all been pitched these empty promises, but this isn’t how the human body works. “It’s not possible to eat a specific food and directly target how our body stores fat or appears,” explains Roper St. Francis Healthcare dietitian Erin Castle. “There is research that connects certain eating habits with excess weight or fat tissue, but this by no means designates its location on our bodies.” Genetics, over which we have no control, also heavily influences body composition
THE FIX: Our bodies actually need fat, which aids in organ protection and energy storage. While visceral fat cushions the organs, too much can affect organ function and elevate the risk of chronic disease. Moderation is key to achieving the proper amount of body fat in the right places, especially when consuming alcohol, refined grains and high-fat animal products. “We need to include a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean meats and dairy, legumes and whole grains, though there isn’t a special amount of each that will guarantee changes in body composition,” says Castle.