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Blast Off Belly Fat

• Many people avoid dairy, even yogurt, because they think it will make them fat, but they may be missing the boat and not shedding the bloat. Get this:

According to the November ’13 Health, animal studies suggest that probiotic foods like yogurt can “increase production of intestinal hormones responsible for making you feel more sated and may also slightly speed up your metabolism.”

Plus, a long-term Harvard University study from 2011 found that “regular yogurt eaters gradually lost weight during middle age rather than gaining it the way most people do.”

Greek yogurt is best for bodybuilders, as it’s packed with protein, but steer clear of ice-cream-like frozen yogurt, which is sugar-laden fat feed.

• You will love this study reported on at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine Web site. Researchers at the University of Granada have shown that “higher consumption of chocolate is associated with lower levels of total fat (fat deposited all over the body) and central fat (abdominal).”

Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, especially catechins, which have many healthy properties—including antioxidant proliferation and reduction of inflammation, both of which can help reduce belly fat. Catechins also positively affect the stress hormone cortisol and the fat-storage hormone insulin, both of which are linked to belly fat. Still, you should not overdo chocolate consumption.

In the journal Nutrition the researchers say, “In moderate quantities, chocolate can be good for you…but you can have too much of a good thing.” As for the best chocolate for fat-loss and health effects, the article says 1) the darker the better; 2) stay away from chocolate that’s made with soy, soy lecithin, palm oil, natural flavor, yeast, polyglycerols and other chemicals; 3) no refined sugar is necessary to make a great-tasting chocolate bar; 4) preferably, cacao should be organic.

There was no mention of whether eating chocolate while drinking red wine amplified the benefits—but I’m going to go with it.

—Steve Holman


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