The Truth About Food and Losing Belly Fat: Debunking Popular Claims

This video discusses the different opinions about the best foods to lose belly fat and why there is confusion regarding these foods. The video highlights several errors in reasoning, false premises, and flawed arguments made by different sources. For example, it challenges the claim that certain foods can burn fat, stating that fat is burned when not eating. It also addresses misconceptions about foods such as bananas, yogurt, berries, and complex carbs, highlighting the importance of understanding their impact on blood glucose, insulin, and satiety. The video critiques a study on chickpeas, pointing out the limited scope and flawed assumptions made by the researchers. Overall, the video emphasizes the need for a deeper understanding of why certain foods are recommended for weight loss.

Author Icon

Our Summaries are written by our own AI Infrastructure, to save you time on your Health Journey!

How does this happen?

Key Insights:

  • There are different opinions about the best foods to lose belly fat because people often confuse belly fat with fluid retention or other factors.
  • The concept of a „superfood“ that will magically burn fat is false. Burning fat happens when you are not eating.
  • Bananas, although a good source of potassium, should be consumed in moderation for those trying to lose belly fat due to their high carbohydrate content.
  • Yogurt can be beneficial for gut health, but flavored yogurts with added sugar are less beneficial than plain yogurt with added natural sweeteners.
  • Antioxidants in berries do not deliver more oxygen to muscles, but they are beneficial for reducing oxidative stress in the body.
  • Complex carbs like oatmeal, brown rice, and whole grain bread are often praised for their fiber content, but fiber does not lower insulin levels.
  • Chocolate skim milk, despite being low in fat, contains high amounts of sugar which can contribute to insulin resistance and belly fat.
  • The focus should be on how foods affect blood glucose and insulin levels, and how long they keep you full to create a calorie deficit.
  • Studies comparing foods may show relative benefits, but it does not mean the food is inherently good. Individual responses may vary.
  • Statistical averages cannot predict individual outcomes, and the context of the study may not apply to everyone.


Hello Health Champions. How come there are so many different opinions about the best foods to lose belly fat? And here’s the strangest part. How come the items on the list of best foods can also be on somebody else’s list of worst foods. That’s why it’s not enough to have a list. You have to understand why the food items are on that list. So today I want to take a look at some of these popular items on various lists and talk about why or why not they might help you lose belly fat.

First, we have the claims that people make that they talk about foods as burning fat. These foods burn fat, well, it’s kind of the opposite. Eating food stores fat and some foods will store a lot of fat and other foods will store less fat. But the time that you can burn fat is when you’re not eating. Throughout this video, I’m going to go through 10 different errors in reasoning, errors in logic, false physiology, and simply false premises.

Number one is that they’re trying to make us believe that there’s some superfood, that there’s something in food that will help you burn fat and magically just melt pounds away. When in fact, the way that you burn fat is if you eat something that allows you to go longer between meals.

Bananas was on several lists, and on one particular one, they were talking about how it’s full of potassium and therefore it helps you get rid of sodium. And while there is a relationship between sodium and potassium in the body, they’re kind of working against each other. This is certainly not the way to get rid of sodium or balance minerals in your body by force-feeding yourself bananas.

And what they were claiming though is that if you can reduce sodium, then you will reduce fluids in the body and thereby reduce belly swelling and get a smaller belly. Well, the problem here, of course, is you’re only eliminating water and not fat. So they’re basically confusing belly fat with fluid retention. The bigger problem here is that you’re also getting 20 grams of carbs in your average banana, which will give you six grams of fructose and six grams of glucose. And this fructose is what’s the main cause of belly fat. It causes fatty liver, it’s very difficult for the liver to burn through in large quantities, and glucose of course will spike your blood sugar and trigger insulin.

So does that mean bananas are a bad food? That is not what I’m saying, but we have to understand who should eat a banana and when. So if you have belly fat, then chances are you also have a fatty liver, and then bananas are a terrible idea. However, if you are lean and insulin sensitive and physically active and maybe not so old, then you can certainly have a few bananas once in a while. But this list and this video is about people who are trying to get rid of belly fat, so then no, bananas are just not a great idea.

False premise number two is to confuse belly fat with fluid retention, thinking that losing fluids would actually do something about your belly fat.

Next on their list was yogurt, and they’re saying that yogurt has good bacteria. So if you increase the good bacteria, then that will help reduce the bad bacteria. Bad bacteria causes bloating. So again, that has nothing to do with belly fat, just like previously, they’re confusing belly fat, and in this case, they confuse it with gas and bloating.

So while it is true that yogurt can have some good bacteria and it is beneficial, while it has nothing to do with belly fat, it can be beneficial. The problem is most of these flavored yogurts have very little good bacteria but they have tons of sugar that more than offset the beneficial effect because the sugar feeds the bad bacteria. So if you’re going to have yogurt, then you want to get whole, plain yogurt and you want to flavor it yourself. You put some fresh berries and you sweeten it with stevia or monk fruit. And then you want to make sure that you try to find the most sour yogurt that you can find – plain, because the more sour it is, the more of the good bacteria it’s going to have. It’s sour because the bacteria ate the sugar and turned it into lactic acid.

So flawed argument number three is that they’re confusing gas with belly fat.

Next, they were making an argument for berries, and they said berries are full of antioxidants. Antioxidants will help deliver more oxygen to the muscles, and therefore, they assume you can make more energy, and your cardio workout will be easier, and you can reveal your ab muscles. So what’s the problem here? Well, antioxidants do not deliver more oxygen. Antioxidants, the word should give you a clue, antioxidants, they interfere, they’re opposing the action of oxygen. So if you’re getting these in the form of fruits and berries, that’s not a problem because antioxidants are necessary in a balanced form. The body uses them to reduce oxidative stress and free radicals. But more isn’t better, and they certainly don’t deliver oxygen to muscles. If you get large amounts through synthetic supplements, they will actually interfere with oxygen utilization in the body.

Again, I’m not saying that berries would be a bad thing. When it comes to fruits and berries, then they are actually the best. They’re much better than other fruits because they’re very low in sugar, they’re very flavorful, very concentrated nutrition, and you can even have some of these on a low carbohydrate diet in moderation. But again, they will not help you burn belly fat.

So in addition to the factual errors, flawed premise number four is thinking that a cardio workout will reverse a metabolic problem. Belly fat is about insulin resistance and it’s about liver, and exercising a muscle will not burn the fat specifically out of the liver.

And no list is complete without complex carbs. It’s almost like a mantra. We’ve heard it so many times – oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain bread. They’re great for you. They’re necessary. They help you lose weight. And they claim that it’s usually because they have fiber, and this fiber is filling and this fiber helps reduce insulin. Well, this is factual error number five, that fiber does not lower insulin. Fiber is neutral to insulin. It has no effect on insulin. What they’re trying to say is that a food with fiber is going to raise insulin less than the same type of food without fiber. But that is not saying that fiber lowers insulin, right? That’s a flawed premise. That’s a factual error. Foods don’t lower insulin.

Next, they compare it, and they say that, you know, complex carbs, these things are better than Frosted Flakes. You should feed these things to your kids because they’re better than Frosted Flakes. Well, here’s problem number six – comparing something doesn’t make it good. That is saying that just because arsenic is less poisonous than mercury then arsenic must be a health food. Frosted Flakes being bad does not make complex carbs a good thing. There are many better choices than that.

I had to laugh when I saw this one – chocolate skim milk. They’re saying a glass teams carbs with protein to build muscle. Certainly not my favorite choice to build muscle. They’re saying further, it’s low calorie, and then muscle burns calories, so obviously, this would be the perfect food to work out and build muscle and then have those muscles burn calories. What they’re failing to say is that it also has 27 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving or 240 milliliters. Now compare that to Coca-Cola. The same amount of Coca-Cola has 22 grams of sugar. So it seems like Coca-Cola would be the healthier choice in this case. What they also failed to mention is that this sugar will increase blood sugar, which drives insulin, and insulin is one of the contributors, one of the main causes of belly fat. And as if that wasn’t enough, sugar also contributes to fatty liver, which is at the root of belly fat and visceral fat. And of course, they had to make it skim milk because the fat would be the only thing that could slow down this insulin response. So the worst of all combinations.

So flawed argument number seven is to argue about calories while you’re adding tons of sugar, which makes the problem worse and causes a fatty liver.

And a very popular argument is that these foods contain something that has been shown to be beneficial. So black beans, for example, contains fiber, and this fiber goes down to the gut, and the gut bacteria turns it into butyrate. They have found that isolated butyrate increases calorie burning in mice. And that might be a good thing, but it may or may not be offset by the fact that half a cup of beans also provides 19 grams of carbohydrate, which in a few minutes will turn into glucose. So it’s not the worst form of carbohydrate but this glucose, before it is done and processed through the body, it will trigger a large amount of insulin.

They make a similar argument for lentils; they say they have fiber, and these specifically apparently help bacteria produce acetate, which is another short-chain fatty acid. Butyrate and acetate are both short-chain fatty acids, and they said this has been linked to reduced appetite. And again, that might be a good thing, but half a cup contributes 15 grams of carbs that turn into glucose.

The problem, argument number eight, is that they fed these mice isolated butyrate, they didn’t actually feed them the beans. We don’t know what would have happened in the mice if we fed them the carbohydrate along with it, plus we don’t know if there’s any carry-over between mice and humans in the case of butyrate. Furthermore, they’re kind of implying that the beans and the lentils would be the only or the best way to get these items. Well, acetate is acetic acid; you get that from vinegar, so you could have the vinegar either white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, and you get this acetate without any carbs. And where do you think butyrate comes from? Well, the name is because it was first discovered in butter, and that’s where they called it butyrate. In fact, in this household, we often say, „Could I have some ‚butyr‘ with my broccoli.“

I’m not opposed to science, but oftentimes we get just too much in our heads, and we pay so much attention to the details that we can’t see the forest for the trees. So I hope you’re starting to see that it’s not about all these things that end up on the list; they claim things that are not important. It’s not about the fiber or the acetate or the butyrate or the carotenoids, the flavonoids, pectin, phenylalanine. It’s about the other things. And it’s not about whether it’s better than Frosted Flakes, and I swear to God I actually saw this one – russet potato is better than donuts and cake. I’m not kidding.

What it is about is how do these foods affect your blood glucose in the moment and long-term? How do they affect your insulin? And more importantly – most importantly – how do these foods keep you full? How long can you go between meals as a result of eating these foods? It is about calories in, calories out. You always have to produce a calorie deficit, but the only easy way to create a calorie deficit is to eat something that lets you go longer till the next meal. Otherwise, you’re always going to be deprived.

So the next question we’re going to ask also is: Is this real food, or are we just focusing on the details, the macros, the micro molecules? Is it real food? Does it actually have some of the things that I need to repair and replenish my body? Can I build a body with this food?

Next one I saw was that „research says“ and they referred to a study. They said legumes are good for diabetics because they help stabilize blood glucose. And they specifically looked in the study about chickpeas, and chickpeas are a legume. They are full of complex carbs; they’re high in fiber, and they have a low glycemic index, meaning they raise blood sugar relatively slowly. It included 19 people; mildly overweight, no metabolic syndrome. Their weight was on average 161 pounds, 73 kg. Waist was on average 35 inches, 89 cm. Their average fasting glucose was 83 mg/dL or 4.6 mmol/L, and their insulin on average was 7.8 and their HOMA-IR 1.6. HOMA-IR is homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance. It’s a formula; they put some numbers in, and an ideal number is 1.0. So these people had 1.6.

So I’m telling you this up front, and then we’re going to come back and look at this briefly. They divided the people into three groups where one ate chickpeas, one ate toast and jam, and one ate whole wheat. And they figured it out so that these had the same amount of carbs and the same amount of calories. They took measurements at certain intervals, and at 120 minutes (two hours), they measured glucose levels, insulin levels, and they calculated HOMA-IR.

So the people who ate chickpeas, the glucose after two hours was 86, the toast and jam was 88, and the whole wheat was 88. So after two hours, they were roughly the same, but their insulin levels were hugely different. So the people who ate chickpeas had 9.5, toast and jam had 20.9, and the whole wheat people had 21. So this one was pretty low, and these were very similar. Then they calculated the HOMA-IR based on this, and it reflected the insulin, so these chickpea people had 2.2 versus 4.7 and 4.9. So huge differences.

And keep in mind, normally when you calculate HOMA-IR, you do it fasting, so you can’t compare these numbers to a fasting level. These are just relative to each other. And when we look a little closer at this, and we see how the blood sugar varied at certain time intervals, we see that the people who ate the chickpeas, they all started on average at the same baseline, and then it rose a little bit. By 60 minutes, it was already down significantly, and at 120, it was basically back to baseline. And at 180 minutes, it was a little bit lower than baseline, slightly lower. And when we compare that with the toast and jam and with the whole wheat, we see that those curves went very close together, with the whole wheat being a little worse in that it rose a little bit higher and it went a little bit lower. And this is what I talk about very often, that the more insulin you stimulate, the greater the rebound effect, so people can actually be insulin resistant and hypoglycemic at the same time. So it’s not a good thing to start a little bit over 80 and end up at 70. Food should not have that effect on you.

So this looks like a slam dunk, right? This study is clear as could be, it’s a total win for the chickpeas. That must be a fantastic food for diabetics. And I’m not saying that it is or that it isn’t, but does the study actually say that? And this is the flawed premise number nine, that they’re assuming that chickpeas are great, but all they’re finding out is that chickpeas are better than toast and jam. That’s what the study says, so yes, you should not eat toast and jam, but it doesn’t tell us anything about chickpeas relative to other foods.

Let’s come back to the study data and talk about flaw number 10. And this guy is trying very hard to figure out what number 10 is. So it is that they’re trying to find out about how legumes are for diabetics, how do they affect insulin resistant people? But these people are not very insulin resistant. These people are probably not even as unhealthy as average. They’re mildly overweight. They have excellent fasting glucose. They’re not fantastic on their fasting insulin, but they’re only very slightly insulin resistant. So their HOMA-IR is 1.6, compared to an ideal of 1.0, whereas a diabetic or someone who is very insulin resistant could have glucose of 120, 130, and their HOMA-IR would be something like an 8 or a 10. When I see people who come in with insulin resistance and stubborn weight, meaning they’ve tried a bunch of stuff, they can’t lose the belly fat, they’re going to have HOMA-IRs in the 8 to 10 range. Their insulin is not going to be 7 or 8, it’s going to be 20-something. So they’re studying about insulin on a population that doesn’t really have a problem with insulin. And they’re assuming that the conclusions, the results, are going to be applicable to people who are insulin resistant.

And next, we also want to mention, this is kind of flaw number 11, is that there are 19 people in here, and then they averaged everything out. So what if there were actually two out of these 19 people who were fairly insulin resistant, and what if these two people had absolutely no benefit or no difference from eating the chickpeas? Then their numbers would still be included in the average, and these people would have no benefit, but the study would still just show the average. So flaw number 11 would be that you’re taking an average, you’re taking a statistical average, and you’re assuming that it’s going to apply to the individual. And that is never the case. You can never predict the individual case based on a statistical average.

If you enjoyed this video, you’re going to love that one, and if you truly want to master health and understand how the body really works, make sure you subscribe, hit that bell, and turn on all the notifications so you never miss a life-saving video.