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5 Belly-Fattening Holiday Foods Men Should Avoid

Contrary to popular belief, it's not only women that are afflicted with bodily woes. While men may not be obsessing over thunder thighs or back fat, they're likely concerned about love handles and are feeling the pressure to have a six-pack. In a Fitness Magazine survey, 48 percent of male participants said their abs are the part of their body they'd like to change most.

The bad news is, men are more likely to store fat in their midsection than women due to hormones, according to WebMD. And having a lot of belly fat increases one's risk of sleep apnea, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

We know it's easy to let your diet slip over the holidays with the smorgasbord of tempting, calorific treats everywhere you go. But if you don't want to end up with a spare around your middle to start off 2014, here are some foods men should definitely be avoiding to bust belly fat.

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The liquor will be flowing this holiday season, from staff parties to family get togethers. And with the cool temps, there's nothing like a hot toddy to warm your bones. But alcohol is particularly dangerous when it comes to belly fat. That is after all where the term "beer belly" comes from. When you drink, your liver is busy burning the alcohol and isn't able to metabolize fat. So sidestep the buttered rum and mulled wine. Just a cup of the former can pack 300 calories, 13 grams of fat, and is loaded with cholesterol.
Red Meat
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We all know red-blooded males love their red meat. While women are more likely to seek comfort in a chocolate bar when they're stressed, men would prefer a nice steak. Researchers at McGill University in Canada found just the sight of red meat helped calm men down. But holiday foods like pot roast, beef wellington, and swedish meatballs can be packed with bad fats and sodium. Doctors recommend slashing your saturated fat intake to reduce abdominal fat. And just one serving of beef wellington can contain half your days recommended value of saturated fat!
Another belly-fattening, saturated-fat dense food we love is cheese. From cheese balls to cheese fondue, the salty treat is just what we crave to balance all the holiday sweets. With something like cheese fondue, it's easy to overindulge, losing track of portion control. Same with bite sized cheese balls. But beware of hors d'oeuvres plates floating around as each cheese ball can contain 500 calories! That's just a little less than two slices of pumpkin pie!
Yes, we know. Telling you to stay away from pie during the holidays is like telling you to give up pizza during football season. There's nothing like homemade pie from an old family recipe to get you in the holiday spirit. But with flaky, buttery crusts, whipped topping, and ice cream on the side, you're talking serious calories. Apple and pecan pie, two seasonal favorites, can be sneaky containing seemingly healthy ingredients like nuts and apples. But a slice of pecan pie has around 500 calories with near half coming from fat! What's more is it's loaded with waist-widening saturated fat--a quarter of your daily value in a slice.
From warm, creamy spinach artichoke dip to the southern goodness of pimento cheese, it's easy to get carried away and throw portion control out the window with these delicious finger foods. You're gathered around the kitchen island talking with family, and before you know it you've inhaled hundreds of calories. One serving, just two tablespoons, of the dip contains 15 percent of your daily value of saturated fat and a whopping 80 calories from fat! Doctors recommend just 20-35 percent of your calories to be from fat. And just one serving of pimento cheese contains 20 percent your daily recommended value of saturated fat. That's almost the same amount of saturated fat as a Snickers candy bar! If you're itching for a dip, try some salsa instead or grab some high-protein hummus.
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