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Six Pack Abs And Diet: What The Heck Do You Eat?

Average: 3.1 (17 votes)
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Sugar, saturated fats, red meat, cheese and milk...are these foods hindering your effort to get six pack abs? Find out what to eat to get shredded.

Six pack absThis is part 2 of the Eating Clean series.

Listen up!

If you want to get lean and have those abs pop, you must reduce or eliminate sugar from your diet.  When sugar is in the program, it stops the ability to release stored fat for energy.

If you read part one of this series you may recall the body can only process 3-6 grams of simple carbohydrates at one time.  This is equivalent to 1 TBSP of sugar.  Sugar is in all dairy (lactose), fruit (fructose), candy (refined sugar) and yes in alcohol too.

All the hard work you do in the gym will not reveal your abs until you eliminate sugar.  If you feel like a hamster on a treadmill and are fed up with doing endless crunches for minimal results, it is time you turn to your kitchen.  If you are in this category, I want you to stop reading this article right now and go into your kitchen to take a closer look at what could be hindering your progress.

Open the refrigerator and cupboards and start reading some labels.  What do you find?

Most cereals that are considered ‘healthy’ are not; their sugar content is usually high and they are processed.  Milk and yogurts are also unsuspecting culprits too.

Are you drinking juice with your breakfast?  How many grams of sugar does it have in one serving?  Remember your body can only process 3-6 grams of sugar at one time.  Over consumption of simple carbohydrates is the leading cause of weight gain.  High sugar intake has also been linked to diabetes.

To really wrap our heads around this, let’s take for example one 8 oz. serving size of plain non-fat Greek yogurt.  It has approx. 9 grams of sugar in it.  Now add 1 cup of blueberries to your Greek yogurt, and you are consuming over 21 grams of sugar in one serving, so 15 grams of sugar will store as fat.

Again if your goal is to get lean, then you must reduce or eliminate sugar from your diet.  The only exception to this rule is your post-workout nutrition.

After vigorous exercise, your body is like a sponge and it is primed to accept simple carbohydrates.  Your glycogen stores have been depleted, and you need to replenish them quickly.  This is your one window of opportunity to enjoy those simple carbohydrates, and it will not store as fat.

Simple carbohydrates can be identified on food labels as raw sugar, brown sugar, turbinado, etc. They are found in most juices, sodas, ice creams, candies and cakes.  White flour-bleached, processed and refined flours can be identified on food labels as enriched, unbleached, durum, semolina, white rice, white pasta and white bread.  Again avoid these, with the exception of your post workout nutrition.

What Else Could Be Hampering Your 6 Pack Progress?

Not all fats are created equal.  Avoid saturated fats, whole milk, red meat, butter and cheese.  Trans fats are partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, most margarines, vegetable shortenings, baked goods, commercially prepared French fries and onion rings.  These unhealthy foods put stress on the pancreas and increase buildup of fat deposition.

Therefore the calories must be kept clean in order for your abs to be revealed.  If you follow those guidelines and are still not able to reveal your six pack, you are in a caloric surplus and will need to cut down on your daily caloric intake.

So What The Heck Do You Eat?

Now that you know what to avoid, it is time to fill the refrigerator with nutritious choices.  Foods that are organically grown, free of chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics or steroids are best. This list will help you stock up on some ab-friendly food for the refrigerator.

Protein - select from lean sources such as chicken breast, turkey breast, egg whites, fish, shellfish, and lean pork.  Limit red meat such as veal, bison, lamb and lean beef to once a week.  Some vegetarian sources could include nuts, seeds and legumes such as beans, chick peas and lentils.

Fats - all cold water fish, walnuts, pistachios, almonds, macadamia, pecans, flaxseed, avocado, and olive oil.

Complex carbohydrates - could include whole wheat, rye, barley, spelt, millet, brown rice, oatmeal and quinoa, sweet potatoes, yams and squash.

Fibrous carbohydrates - choices could include a variety of green vegetables including green beans, asparagus, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach, artichokes, kale, collard greens, arugula, okra, peppers, zucchini, celery, mushrooms and eggplant.

The list is endless; you just have to be creative!

Now you have a better understanding of how your body processes sugar, and you have taken an inventory of your refrigerator.  It is time to make some changes!

I bet you have answered your own question as to why you can’t lose that last ounce of belly fat.  Spend some time in the kitchen focusing on planning and preparing your meals for the week.  Make these simple changes and in the long run; your abs will thank you for it.  Let me know how it goes!

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    In 2000 my health was significantly deteriorating due to an autoimmune disease. I got sick of being sick and took matters into my own hands.
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Comments (62)

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Matt
Posted Tue, 12/04/2012 - 16:21

Lol this makes me not want abs at all

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may
Posted Thu, 12/06/2012 - 03:18

Damn fructose! i work out ALOT, my body bulks up and i'm always left looking in the mirror wondering why i'm not losing fat, especially the lower part of my abs.
I'll admit i eat way too much fruit everyday, but i never understood the bodies sugar process until reading his now!
feeling like abit of a fool, i will keep this in mind.
THANKS

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Jason
Posted Fri, 12/07/2012 - 10:39

Thanks for the follow-up article. You mention that it is OK to enjoy simple carbs during your post-workout meal. Can you be more specific please? How long after the workout will my body be "primed to accept" these simple carbohydrates? And lastly, how much is too much during your post-workout meal? I really enjoy my fruit but when I cut for the summer, I will be eliminating sugar and I want to do it right. Thanks in advance for answering my inquiries.

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Christian
Posted Sun, 09/22/2013 - 18:09

Simple cards is like white rice, potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes.

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Lisa H
Posted Tue, 10/29/2013 - 14:50

Hi Christian,

Simple carbs would be those that are higher on the gi index such as white rice, potatoes, cream of rice, bagels, and white bread. Hope that helps.

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Dimitri Thevenin
Posted Thu, 12/27/2012 - 16:35

How much simple carbs would I want to have after a workout to restore my glicogen. In other words, how many cookies?? I love cookies and they kill me. lol

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mnsjason
Posted Thu, 12/27/2012 - 17:55

Hey Dimitri! I include about 75g of carbs in my postworkout shake. I follow this up with a big meal about an hour and a half later.

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Andy
Posted Wed, 01/02/2013 - 19:37

Ok, so avoid sugar completely? I thought just the bleached processed crap. I usually eat fruit and drink 100% grape juice with creatine because I was told I needed 28-36G of sugar in order for the creatine to be absorbed into my muscles. Abdominals are one muscle group that I really do care about. From my understanding from the reading I should only take in sugar after a workout? Right now I am currently drinking my juice/creatine mix pre-workout... HELP! am I understanding this correctly?

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Lisa H
Posted Fri, 01/04/2013 - 06:33

Hi Andy

Yes, you are correct. Continue to have your creatine with grape juice it is better absorbed. Other than post work out avoid sugars if your goal is to get lean.

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craig
Posted Wed, 02/27/2013 - 22:24

I take a little dissolved glucose powder with my creatine instead of juice. Also I take a fenugreek capsule which I've read can also help with creatine up-take.

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Joseph
Posted Thu, 01/03/2013 - 22:18

Only sugar right.. what about salt and other stuff..

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Patrick
Posted Wed, 02/06/2013 - 15:54

Joseph,
Too much salt is also not good. It contains sodium. The reason people have double chin, gaining face fat is the reason of consuming too much sodium contain food i.e. in Potato chips or any kind of munchies we love. I love Cheetos flaming hot. I used to eat one small pack a day until I came to know about sodium and what it does. It took me over 3 months to reduce my face fat with a lot of consumption of water and no to any munchies. You look overweight even though if you are in shape but have a big face. But this does not mean consuming no salt at all.

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ali
Posted Sun, 01/06/2013 - 07:45

i have to say that i somehow object,im so skinny and everything gets digested fast,and i dont gain weight,so tell me how skinny are supposed to diet,do u want them to diet,my friend is skinny and he works out in gym and he eats what ever he wants and his abs have started to show without flixing after 7 to 9 weeks from training,diet is for people who have fat not for skinny,i believe we should just avoid eating at late and then directly sleep only,but skinny should be free in what they eat thats from my point guys :)

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Andreia
Posted Wed, 03/27/2013 - 15:08

Ok,so let's say I eliminate sugars to my post workout meal and my goal is to lean out.If I reach my goal and cut some body fat revealing my abs,would I be able to add back sugars from fruit and dairy more than once per day or this will hide my abs again?

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Lisa H
Posted Mon, 04/01/2013 - 13:09

Hi Andreia,
The best time to keep your sugar is post workout. Once you get those abs they are hard to keep! So keep track of how your body reacts as you slowly reintroduce fruit and dairy.

Keep @ it! You will get them!
Lisa H

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spike
Posted Mon, 04/08/2013 - 14:04

Hi, sorry but this means that i shouldnt be eating fruits like apples and banana? i should only eat this as post workout training? thanks a lot!

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Lisa H
Posted Wed, 04/10/2013 - 08:59

Hi Spike,
If a six pack is your goal I would limit the fruit to pre and post workout.

Good luck to you,
Lisa H

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Christian
Posted Sun, 09/22/2013 - 18:12

I always eat a banana after workout. Nothing wrong with fueling your body before pre/post WO. I believe if you need to eat any fruit it would be with your biggest meal of the day (breakfast).

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Lisa H
Posted Tue, 10/29/2013 - 14:47

Hi Christian,

Agreed, you've got to fuel your workouts and recover from them. And there is nothing wrong with a banana, great choice!

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Brandon Dodd
Posted Tue, 04/09/2013 - 11:31

iv always had abs and iv always been really muscular. like im buff bro. i never worry about any of that stuff i just eat 7 times a day, and run every morning, and workout every evening. that is alot better than watching what you eat....

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spike
Posted Thu, 04/11/2013 - 10:51

Hi again and thank you a lot! i have another question im eating a kind of light marmalade that it claims to have 0 sugar on it, but it says that contains 65% of strawberry... i should be worried ? im eating this only with my breakfast and just a little with my whole wheat bread

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Lisa H
Posted Wed, 04/17/2013 - 06:00

Hi Spike,
No problem. I wouldn't worry too much over that. You should be fine.

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Julie
Posted Sat, 04/20/2013 - 18:17

Hi! I've been eating clean, I cut out sugar n only sprinkle a little of seasoning on my chicken breast for flavour but somedays my 4 pack pops out n somedays it don't, is it because I eat too much fruit? I eat 3 to 4 bananas, handful of grapes n 1 apple a day. For breakfast I eat 2 to 3 omelets n dinner 1 chicken breast n veg on the side. I jog for 1/2 an hour n do core exercise with no weights n if I have time I do the same routine at night. What am I doing wrong? I'm 46kg n lost 4kg in 2 wks n so result quickly but now my abs aren't popping out anymore, is it the fruit?
Thank you, Julie ,)

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Lisa H
Posted Wed, 04/24/2013 - 04:38

Hi Julie,
I would eliminate some of the fruit and add in more clean foods. You might want to center the fruit around your exercise times. Also be sure to include some protein with the fruit. I would also suggest adding weight training to the program. I think this will give you more of the desired look you are going for. Make sure you eat enough clean calories. You are more than welcome to email me and I would be happy to help you a little more.

Best wishes
Lisa

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Julie
Posted Sat, 04/20/2013 - 18:19

G

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Nauman
Posted Sun, 05/05/2013 - 00:54

Hi Lisa, is it ok to have foods that are rich in proteins and fibrous carbohydrates as fully cooked in normal cooking oil?

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Kareem
Posted Thu, 05/16/2013 - 17:49

What type of milk I should I drink because I've been drinking 2% milk for years...Should I change milk?

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Lisa H
Posted Tue, 05/21/2013 - 09:50

Hi Kareem,
I would keep your 2% use it for pre and post. You could try almond milk for the other times, if sugar is a concern.
Lisa

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Alison K
Posted Sat, 05/25/2013 - 02:54

Hi Lisa,
In the morning I generally have a side of 3 or 4 strawberries and a handful of raspberries with my breakfast. I then do my workout about an hour later and after that I have my protein shake blended with a banana and almond milk. Should I be cutting out the fruit for breakfast or is this ok because it is eaten an hour before I workout? I tend to need a bit more sugar than the average person otherwise I get a bit dizzy, so should I even bother worrying about it?
Thanks!

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Lisa H
Posted Sat, 06/01/2013 - 05:03

Hi Alison K,
I would keep the fruit; it sounds like it is working for you. My best advice would be listen you your body. If it is working keep it!
Best of luck to you
Lisa

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Chris
Posted Fri, 05/31/2013 - 17:14

Hi Lisa I just started working out, and I have high metabolism and pretty damn skinny.My goal is to get really cut define abs and muscles. I don't want big muscles I like my wieght the way it is, but I'm so confused on what I should eat. My diet consist of Ramen Noodles,Rice.bread,Fruits,spinach,chicken,fish and cookies which I recently stopped eating.
Is there any food you know for sure is good to eat before and after work out? and how often should I eat?Also I'm told when you eat you NEVER eat to try and get full, just small amounts through out the day. lately I've been only eating like an orange and some water which sucks but I'm scared to get bloated after working so hard in the gym.

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Lisa H
Posted Sat, 06/01/2013 - 05:09

Hi Chris,
If you are really skinny you need to focus on eating more right now to gain muscle. Worry about the abs later. Focus on progression in the weight room. If you'd like you can email me and I'd be happy to help you a little more.
Best of luck to you
Lisa

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Josh
Posted Thu, 03/13/2014 - 22:06

Hey Lisa, my name is Josh and since I was 18 (I'm 21 now) I've been on a quest to acquire a 6 pack. I am 165 pounds at 6 feet. I'm not sure what my body fat % is but I'd say I have "washboard abs". I'm trying to get to a point where my abs are more visible. I just need some ideas on what to eat throughout the day. I like bagels and cream cheese, cereal, french bread, and lean pockets for breakfast (probably all awful for a lean diet), sandwichs for lunch (whole wheat bread with honey ham/salami and a little mayo/mustard, or peanut butter and banana), and I have run out of ideas for what to eat for dinner so I usually resort to eating out even though I know it's bad for me. I'd really appreciate any advice you could give me on dieting. I'm only 21 and I'm a college student so my budget for food isn't what I'd like it to be. Thanks so much!

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Eros
Posted Sun, 06/02/2013 - 19:45

I have lost 20kg in 2 months by drinking orange juice and eating fruit every morning pasta midday a yogurt in the evening and vegetables and meat, chicken or fish at night, doing boxing 3 times a week.. fruit is the best that can shape your body i disagree

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rico
Posted Wed, 07/31/2013 - 00:15

hello Lisa. i have a quick question .OK Ive been trying to study my abs (books, you-tube etc...) and i figured i should run more. get protein maybe omg3 maybe .im not sure what brand or if i should get it at all .im 5'5 120 and i want to get lean and have a six pack... i try n work out 4 days a week, my job is very active and i don't know what to eat every three hours. especially for breakfast . please help !!

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Lisa H
Posted Fri, 08/02/2013 - 06:12

Hi Rico,
If you are 5'5 and 120 lbs I would focus on building some quality muscle. I think this will give you more of the look you are going for. Feel free to email me @ lisakhostetter@gmail.com, and I would be happy to help you.

Best of luck

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Christian
Posted Sun, 09/22/2013 - 18:15

Hi Lisa
Is it true that brown rice or any good complex carbs will prevent me from getting abs? I was looking at the eating diet of that one big black guy from Expendables. Super ripped hardly eats bread or carbs. I always thought complex carbs are your power fuel foods.

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Lisa H
Posted Tue, 10/29/2013 - 14:43

Hi Christian,
You are right complex carbs are a great source of fuel! I would suggest listening to your body. If you are trying to achieve that 'look' consume your carbs around your workouts (pre/post), ditch any processed foods and eliminate sugar.

Don't forget you need to fuel your workouts. Ultimately, depending on your physique; you may have to pack on some more muscle/weight before you decide to shred to achieve your desired look.

Stay consistent with your diet, training and keep a food log. You'll get there!

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Michelle
Posted Thu, 10/17/2013 - 09:44

Does this mean no fruit ??? What do you snack on the. Between meals

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Lisa H
Posted Tue, 10/29/2013 - 05:22

Hi Michelle,

You might want to try some nuts, a protein shake, or even a half of a turkey/chicken sandwich, depending on your caloric needs.

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Andy
Posted Tue, 11/26/2013 - 09:18

hey guys i m 6ft.. my weight is 75 kg..
i have belly fat(not much a few) . shuld i start abs exercise or not :/ ?

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innocent
Posted Sat, 12/07/2013 - 15:00

Thanks a lot for sharing this piece of info to those of us who do not know.......God bless you.

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Lisa H
Posted Mon, 12/09/2013 - 06:12

Hi Innocent,

Thanks so much. Glad you found it helpful.

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Innocent
Posted Fri, 12/13/2013 - 10:44

Lisa, I want to know the kind of drink to take, because it looks as if almost all the drink has got sugar in them with the exception of alcoholic drinks, and you stated we should cut sugar out of our lives if we want to reduce belly fats........counting on your usual cooperation.

Innocent.

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Lisa H
Posted Sun, 12/15/2013 - 05:47

Innocent,
If you are serious about getting rid of belly fat then water is your best bet. Don't forget it is the overall picture, one soft drink or fruit juice won't make or break you. Alcohol has empty calories and sugar too, so I would avoid it.

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Rizwan Ansari
Posted Sat, 12/14/2013 - 12:48

I have to use on whey protein is best for my bady

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prajith
Posted Sat, 12/28/2013 - 04:35

Hi all,

i have skin fat. trying for six packs. Im 5'8 68kg

what diet should i follow.

i have to get rid of my loose skin. Please help me

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Maja
Posted Fri, 01/17/2014 - 06:41

Does this mean that if I stick to these foods only I can actually eat as much as I want to?
And what would be a good breakfast then? I have read that I should eat fruits for breakfast, but this is so contradictory. Please, please help. I really want to start eating clean but I pretty much have no idea what I'm doing.
Thanks

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LisaH
Posted Sun, 01/19/2014 - 05:38

Hi Maja,

You will still need to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight. But you can eat a lot more clean foods for far fewer calories and you won't be starving. My best advice for eating clean is stick to foods that are in their most natural state; avoid foods in packages which are usually highly processed. You can contact me directly at lisakhostetter@gmail.com and I'd be happy to help you a little more.
Best of luck!

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Stephen
Posted Tue, 02/04/2014 - 07:32

Hi Lisa,
This is a great article and helpful comments section. I'm working to 'reveal' my abs over the next few months with a high intensity cardio and weights programme. I've been working out at gyms for years doing a variety of fitness plans. I thought I knew quite a bit about eating cleaning, however the thing that stands out for me reading this article is the mention of fruit. I often have fruit in the morning on porriage oats and then as a snack between meals throughout the day. I love fruit, however I'm keen to reveal my abs and reduce my body fat. Should I stop eating fruit or at least restrict eating fruit to before/after workouts? I suppose it makes sense cutting fruit to workout times and it is a form of suger and will likely be burned off during any workout. I'd really appreciate your advice on this. Thank you! :-)

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