Man about to eat fattening doughnut
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Can't resist fresh doughnuts? If you give in too often, they can bulk up your belly.

Better Bet: Stop at one. A glazed doughnut has 260 calories. The whole box packs 3,120 calories. A 200-pound man would have to run about 25 miles to work that off.

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Man eating ice cream
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Ice Cream

You do get some calcium from ice cream. But you also get 230 calories per half-cup, and that's just for plain vanilla, no toppings.

Better Bet: Look for the slow-churned kind. It's lower in fat, and many flavors have only 100 calories per half-cup.

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Man snacking on potato chips
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A serving of 15 chips has 160 calories. But who stops at 15? Add just 2 tablespoons of French onion dip and you've piled on 60 more calories and 5 grams of fat.

Better Bet: Fat-free popcorn. Six cups have just 100 calories.

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Bacon infused martini
4 / 21


This cocktail is as fatty as it is trendy. It's Scotch or vodka infused with bacon fat. Sometimes it's served with a strip of bacon. At around 284 calories a glass, that's more than in a doughnut.

Better Bet: Classic martini, in moderation. The alcohol still adds calories, but your heart will prefer the olive to a strip of bacon.

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Man drinking beer in backyard
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The average 12-ounce can of beer has about 150 calories. Those calories add up, just like anything else you eat or drink.

Better Bet: Light beer cuts your intake to about 100 calories a can.

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Man eating hot dog at stadium
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Hot Dogs

What's more all-American than cheering for your home team while noshing on a hot dog? Add extras, and the calories rise. One cheese dog has 390 calories and 8 grams of "bad" fat.

Better Bet: Peanuts. This classic ballpark snack is high in protein, fiber, and good fats.

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Steak cooking in butter
7 / 21

Fatty Red Meat

If you're the meat and potatoes type, you'd love a big, juicy steak that covers your plate. But a 16-ounce prime rib can have about 1,600 calories and about 60 grams of "bad" fat. That's without any sides or appetizers.

Better Bet: Lean meat, such as sirloin, tenderloin, or flank steak. The piece should be the size of your fist, not your plate.

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Sliced pepperoni pizza
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Meat-Topped Pizza

Pizza can be healthy. But if you like toppings such as pepperoni, sausage, ham, and beef, you could get more than 300 calories in one slice.

Better Bet: Instead, top pizza with veggies. You get extra fiber and nutrients, and up to 100 fewer calories per slice.

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Bacon double cheeseburger
9 / 21

Giant Burgers

If it looks big and loaded, it will bloat your calorie budget, too. Some have more than 1,000 calories and up to 75 grams of fat.

Better Bet: Stick to a single grilled burger made with lean ground beef or lean turkey, or a veggie burger.

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Close up of french fries
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Super-Size Fries

Want some fries with that? Most of us do, not knowing that a large order of fries can have as many calories as a burger.

Better Bet: Order a side salad or fruit cup.

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Yellow soda pouring into glass
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Too Much Soda

Do you know how many calories are in a serving? Or how many servings are in a bottle? One 20-ounce bottle of regular soda packs 250 calories.

Better Bet: Water. If you're seeking caffeine, try black coffee. A 20-ounce cup has almost no calories. Like milk? Make it nonfat to stay under 100 calories.


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BBQ pork sandwich
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BBQ Pork Sandwich

Tailgate party staples include beer, chips, and barbecue pork sandwiches on fluffy white rolls. The shredded pork may hit the spot before you settle in for the game. Yet each sandwich can have more than 600 calories, depending on the size.

Better Bet: Lean grilled chicken or burgers on whole wheat buns. Pair with healthier tailgate sides like baked beans and coleslaw.

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Fresh chicken wings
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Buffalo Wings

An order of boneless buffalo-style chicken wings packs about 100 calories per wing, not counting dips! Blue cheese sauce adds another 300 calories and 33 grams of fat.

Better Bet: Grilled chicken strips. Make wings a rare treat.

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Rack of ribs
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Rack of Ribs

A whole rack of ribs has 900 calories and a day's worth of fat. The tasty sauce adds calories, sugar, and sodium.

Better Bet: Have half a rack of ribs, and save it for a special occasion. Add a baked sweet potato with a squeeze of lime juice or sprinkle of cinnamon to round out the meal.


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Cherry danish on plate
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Breakfast Danish

One Danish pastry has about 250 calories and plenty of fat.

Better Bet: Fresh whole fruit and low-fat yogurt. Or whole wheat toast, topped with real-fruit spread, no butter.


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Man eating frozen dinner
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Huge Frozen Dinners

There's nothing wrong with convenience, but watch the size. Some dishes are very high in calories, sodium, and trans fats.

Better Bet: Read labels for lean frozen dinners made with whole grains.


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Man loading up plate at buffet
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All-You-Can-Eat Buffet

If you can't resist piling your plate, try to make smart choices. Load up on steamed vegetables and salad. Skip the fatty dressings and sauces.

Better Bet: Steer clear of buffets if you have trouble setting limits.


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Man eating yogurt
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Help Yourself to Yogurt

Not everything tasty pads your belly. In one study, yogurt (along with veggies, whole grains, fruits, and nuts) was among the foods not linked to weight gain. Another study linked eating dairy foods like yogurt to lower body fat and belly fat.

Bonus: Low-fat or nonfat yogurt boosts calcium. Look for those fortified with vitamin D. Most adults don't get enough of either of these nutrients.

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Man holding bowl of blueberries
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Go for Blueberries

There is no magic food that burns fat. But eating more of any fruit, in place of fattier or high-calorie fare, can help you lose weight. Blueberries, and other fruits, are rich in nutrients that are good for you and are naturally sweet.

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Green beans and apples
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Fill Up on Fiber Foods

They may be your best friend against belly fat. One study found that people who eat more soluble fiber gain less belly fat than others over 5 years. Just 10 grams a day of soluble fiber made the difference. That's about the amount in two small apples, a cup of green peas, and 1/2 cup of pinto beans.

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Man working out
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Get Some Exercise

Regular exercise can help you lose weight. Though you can't do exercises to spot-reduce, being more active will help your whole body, including your belly. If you're already overweight, shedding just 10% of your weight will improve your odds of staying healthy. Start out slow, and work toward at least 150 minutes spread  throughout the week.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 04/07/2020 Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on April 07, 2020


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(2)    Christian Schallert/Corbis
(3)    Corbis
(4)    Steve Pomberg/WebMD
(5)    Big Cheese
(6)    Steve Gottlieb
(7)    Fotosearch
(8)    Liane Cary/Age Fotostock
(9)    Food collection
(10)  John Kelly/StockFood Creative
(11)  Christian Kargl/Westend61
(12)  James and James/Brand X Pictures
(13)  Joff Lee/Fresh Food Images
(14)  Tim Hill/Fresh Food Images
(15)  White
(16)  Roy McMahon/StockImage
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(20)  Phillip Quirk
(21)  Comstock


Applebee’s: "Nutritional Information."

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream: "Our Flavors – Vanilla."

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Calorie King: "Ales and Beers."

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Dunkin’ Donuts: "Donuts."

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Mozaffarian, D. New England Journal of Medicine, June 2011.

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NPR: "Would You Like A Little Bacon In That Martini?"

Orville: "Fat-Free Popcorn."

Outback Steakhouse: "Nutritional Information."

Panera Bread: "Nutrition Calculator – Cherry Pastry."

Pepsi: "Pepsi Product Information – Mountain Dew."

Pizza Hut: "Nutrition Information."

Powerade: "Powerade Products."

Ruby Tuesday: "Nutritional Menu Guide."

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Self Nutrition Data: "Spiced Up Sweet Potato Fries."

Stancliffe, R. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published online June 29, 2011.

Starbucks:"Caffè Misto."

Swanson: "Dinners – Chicken Nuggets."

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Wendy’s: "Nutrition Facts & Personalize It."

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on April 07, 2020

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.