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The #1 Best Dinner for Flat Belly, Say Dietitians

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cobb salad

No matter how many crunches or planks you do, the reality is that you can’t achieve a flat belly through your fitness efforts alone—your meals matter just as much.

Experts say what you eat dinner time can have a major impact on your waistline, and in order to beat bloating and bust fat, you’ll want to fill your plate with lots of vegetables, which are low in calories but high in water and fiber, as well as some satiating lean protein and heart-healthy fats.

With all of that in mind, registered dietitians say the best dinner you can eat for a flat belly is a cobb salad. But not just any cobb, of course. Their slenderizing version skips the cheese and substitutes salmon, egg whites, and turkey bacon for a few of the traditional ingredients.

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How to make it

Here’s what you’ll need for one serving:

  • 5-6 oz. fillet of salmon (grilled, smoked, air fried, blackened, or roasted)
  • 1/4 avocado, cut into cubes
  • Two pieces of turkey bacon, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 hard-boiled egg with the yolk removed, chopped
  • 2 cups lettuce of your choice (romaine, spinach, or mesclun greens work well)
  • 2 Tbsp diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup light vinaigrette

RELATED: Get even more healthy meal ideas straight to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter!

Why a cobb salad?

There are a number of reasons why this dinner is such a smart pick for slimming down your waistline.

“While there’s nothing wrong with eating the whole egg, egg whites on their own are lower in overall calories and fat,” says Mackenzie Burgess, RDN and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices. “This makes them a great option for reaching a slight calorie deficit and helping reduce belly bloat.”

As counterintuitive as it sounds, eating foods that are naturally high in water—like leafy greens and tomatoes—can help your body to flush out excess water that it’s holding on to, thus preventing bloating. Fish is a low-carb protein source that’s easy for your body to digest, further helping you to feel full while avoiding gas and bloating.

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A benefit of protein-heavy meals is that they help you stay fuller for longer, which will help you if you’re trying to cut back on your diet,” says Michelle Hawksworth, RD for Muscle and Brawn. “Fueling up with protein also allows you to preserve muscle mass, so any weight you lose is purely body fat. Plus, this macronutrient has a strong thermic effect, meaning your body will have to work harder and burn more calories to digest it properly.”

But not all protein sources are created equal, of course. Erin Kenney, MS, RD, and CEO of Nutrition Rewired, says salmon is an especially good choice because research shows high-protein meals reduce cravings by 60% and boosts your metabolism, helping you burn an additional 80 to 100 calories per day. Salmon is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are associated with making you feel satiated and reducing inflammation. Salmon is also full of vitamin D, which is linked to decreased abdominal visceral fat.

Lastly, avocado is one powerhouse ingredient that you won’t want to skip on your cobb salad. Not only does it add a satisfying creamy texture, but it also helps you lose belly fat. Surprised? Even though avocados are notoriously high in fat, it seems that the specific kind it contains—monounsaturated fat—can have a positive impact on your body composition. In fact, a 2021 study in The Journal of Nutrition found that eating avocados reduced participants’ visceral fat—a dangerous type of belly fat that can increase your risk of certain chronic diseases.

Top off your salad with a light vinaigrette, says Burgess, and you’ve got yourself a bloat-busting dinner that will keep you satisfied all evening long while warding off belly fat. Here’s a pro tip, though: Make sure to look at the sodium content on the dressing—or better yet, just make your own at home— as salt can cause your body to retain water, thus contributing to bloating.

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For more flat belly tips, read these next:

Healthy diet

This Popular Supplement Falls Short on Health Claims, Says Report

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apple cider vinegar acv vitamin gummie

It’s one of the most well-known wellness trends there is: taking apple cider vinegar, or ACV, shots. Experts, influencers, and everyday people claim that this living vinegar can provide countless benefits, from regulating blood sugar, to supporting weight loss, to even lowering cholesterol levels. So it’s no wonder that companies would want to capitalize on these health claims and find ways to make it easier for consumers to get apple cider vinegar into their diets.

One way companies came up with is through apple cider vinegar supplements, with one brand, Goli, bursting onto the scene in 2019 with an Apple Cider Vinegar gummy.

But today, the National Advertising Division (NAD) released their recommendation that Goli “discontinue or modify its advertising to avoid conveying the unsupported message that the amount of ACV contained in its gummies is associated with the health benefits of traditional liquid ACV.”

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The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the non-profit BBB National Programs provides independent self-regulation of product marketing claims to “guide the truthfulness of advertising across the U.S.”

What are the benefits of apple cider vinegar?

Anecdotally, many people find ACV to be a beneficial supplement, and there are countless studies that support certain benefits.

“There is some data that suggests ACV, when taken in an appropriate quantity, can offer some health benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity. However, more high-quality studies are needed in order to make specific claims. Some studies suggest that vinegar, and not apple cider vinegar specifically, offers some potential health benefits,” says Lauren Manaker, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian on our medical expert board.

As Manaker notes, because the current studies are small or performed in animal models, current research does not conclusively support ACV’s health benefits.

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Why does NAD recommend Goli stop marketing its gummies as having the same health benefits as ACV?

NAD has been reviewing many of Goli’s marketing claims for about a year, dating back to March 2021 when the division recommended that Goli discontinue its skin health claims.

In its recent report, NAD determined that Goli’s use of the terms “Apple Cider Vinegar” and “ACV” in its advertising “reasonably conveys the message that the product provides the nutritional and health benefits of traditional apple cider vinegar.”

However, NAD claims that this message is not supported due to the fact that “the health benefits associated with apple cider vinegar are tied to a much higher amount of acetic acid, the ‘active’ ingredient in ACV, than is present in the suggested intake for Goli’s ACV Gummies.”

READ MORE: Supplements You Should Give Up in 2022, Say Dietitians

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How does liquid ACV differ from ACV gummies?

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The decision by NAD is based on the fact that ACV gummies are very different from liquid ACV in both form and function.

Most ACV gummies do not contain a high enough concentration of apple cider vinegar as a liquid dose.

For example, one two-gummy serving of Goli ACV gummies is said to contain 1 gram of ACV, which the company claims is the equivalent to one dose of liquid apple cider vinegar. However, this concentration is significantly less than what studies on ACV typically involve, and those studies only use liquid ACV.

Following the recent proceedings, Goli has agreed to permanently discontinue the claim that two gummies are equivalent to a dose of liquid ACV, and the company will also cease to claim that these gummies contain “All of the Age Old Benefits of Traditional ACV.”

Another big difference between gummies and liquid ACV is the presence of “the mother.”

Liquid apple cider vinegar can come with “the mother,” which is the combination of yeast and bacteria formed during fermentation. This is the cloudy substance you may see in your bottle of ACV. This substance contains polyphenols (plant-based antioxidants) and other potentially beneficial compounds; however, ACV gummies may not necessarily contain the same compounds.

“Certain gummies claim to contain the mother in their composition. However, it is unclear what effect the processing of the supplement has on the function of ‘the mother,’” says Manaker.

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For example, Goli says that they “source a top-quality Apple Cider Vinegar powder for our product, made with real apple cider vinegar that contains the mother at time of manufacturing,” and they are careful to avoid saying that the mother is present in their processed supplement.

At this time, there are no studies on the efficacy of ACV in gummy form.

While there are small studies that examine the benefits of liquid ACV, there are currently none on a gummy version.

“Unfortunately, there are no studies evaluating the effectiveness of ACV gummies. Assuming taking this ingredient in gummy form can have the same health effects as taking it in liquid form may be over-reaching. We can’t say for sure until we have quality clinical trials to evaluate the effects,” says Manaker.

If you want to reap the benefits Goli claims, there are ways to do so without taking this supplement.

“People may take Goli AVC gummies for a healthy immune function, heart health, and antioxidant support (all benefits listed on their website), but these benefits may not be because of the vinegar,” says Manaker. “In addition to ACV, these gummies are made with synthetic forms of vitamin B12 and folic acid, so people may experience outcomes like more energy because of the additional vitamins they are putting in their body.” In other words, you’re basically taking a B-complex vitamin when you have Goli ACV gummies.

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Manaker recommends that people lean on products that have adequate evidence to support their use, but more importantly, you should focus on your diet to improve your health.

“People can easily take in antioxidants by making a point to consume a balanced diet filled with fruit, veggies, nuts, and beans. For heart health support, evidence-based solutions like sipping on green tea may be a more effective solution. And for weight management goals, there is nothing quite like following a balanced diet and including physical activity in your day to help maintain your ideal weight,” she says.

“Another option is to explore a high-quality multivitamin that not only contains B vitamins (like Goli provides), but also other nutrients that people are oftentimes deficient in, like vitamin D to support a slew of health goals. There are plenty of solutions out there that have quality data to support its use and they can be fantastic options to lean on instead of taking an ACV gummy every day,” says Manaker.

Editor’s Note: Although Goli reached an agreement with NAD on certain points, the supplement company will be appealing the decision, “because it ‘disagrees’ with NAD’s findings that its advertising conveys unsupported implied messages, that its recommended dosage claim is in dispute before the NAD, and with NAD’s exercise of jurisdiction ‘over these issues and over other advertising that is at issue in pending federal litigation.’”

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The #1 Worst Food for Arthritis, Says Dietitian

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Additional reporting by Leo Andreoli.

Picking out the #1 worst food to eat if you have arthritis isn’t easy, and that’s because an arthritis diagnosis comes with a lot of variables.

For one, what makes one person’s joint pain worse may be totally different from what exacerbates another’s, according to Heidi Turner, MS, RDN, CD, an integrative registered dietitian nutritionist with Food Logic, who specializes in autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.

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Secondly, there are various types of arthritis, each of which may be made worse by something different in the diet. Four common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis, which is a wearing down of the cartilage in the joints due to aging; rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks healthy cells and causes inflammation typically in the hands, wrists, and knees; gout, which usually affects one joint at a time, often starting with the big toe, and ankylosing spondylitis; or ankylosing spondylitis (AS), which reduces the flexibility of the spine.

RELATED: Telltale Signs You Have Arthritis

“Everybody’s different; one person with osteoarthritis can eat a food (and feel fine) while another can have a really bad reaction to it,” says Turner.

With that in mind, to find the #1 worst food for arthritis, the solution is to try an “elimination diet,” that is, eliminating foods to identify those that make you feel better when you stop eating them. Read on to learn more about how to try an elimination diet to pinpoint the foods that worsen arthritis symptoms as well as the most likely culprits, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss The #1 Best Juice to Drive Every Day, Says Science.

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While an elimination diet will help you find the worst foods for your arthritis, Turner says processed and high-sugar foods are generally the worst foods for sufferers of any type of arthritis for the same reasons they are harmful to your overall health. “Foods that contain a lot of chemicals and preservatives, high-starch foods, sugars, highly-processed grains, things like that will encourage inflammation and are what you want to get out of your diet first and replace with whole foods,” she says.

fried foods
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New research from Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine suggests a connection between an unhealthy gut microbiome and rheumatoid arthritis. The trillions of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract are impacted by what you eat, and an imbalance of healthy and unhealthy bacteria may make RA symptoms worse, according to the study.

What are those foods that cause an unhealthy gut? Inflammatory foods like saturated and trans fats, fried foods, corn oil, and baked goods. “If you’re working with a lot of gut issues, then you might try to take out those known inflammatory foods, including gluten and dairy,” says Turner.

nightshade vegetables
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Some people with arthritis find that eating tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, and peppers trigger arthritic swelling and stiffness. “Eating nightshade plants can irritate the joints; I see that quite a lot in my practice,” says Turner.

The inflammatory reaction may be due to a buildup of a bitter-tasting chemical found in nightshade plants called solanine, according to the Cleveland Clinic. However, giving up nightshades come with a downside: you’d miss out on some highly nutritious foods, the Cleveland Clinic notes.

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The form of arthritis known as gout occurs when there is too much uric acid in the body and crystals of uric acid accumulate in the joints, causing swelling and pain. Uric acid is the result of the breakdown of chemical compounds in certain foods called purines. “Gout is its own little beast,” says Turner. The worst foods to eat if you have gout are “foods high in purines like organ meats, alcohol (especially beer), sardines, and sweet beverages like soda and juices with high fructose corn syrup,” she says. Even certain vegetables, like cauliflower and asparagus, are higher in purines than others and may cause inflammation in a joint.

Because foods can affect people so differently, eliminating certain inflammatory foods and monitoring how your body reacts may be the best way to identify those that worsen your arthritis symptoms, says Turner. Other tactics to try, she says, are adopting a paleo diet or Mediterranean-style diet. Both include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats, and fish and shun added sugars and processed grains. To learn more about the health benefits of this style of eating, read What Happens to Your Body on the Mediterranean Diet.

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