Many dieters like to oversimplify things into calories in vs calories out. While its true that if you expend more calories than you take in you will lose weight, the type of calories you consume have a MAJOR impact on your overall body composition. If two people of equal body weight both consumed the exact same number of calories per day, one consisting primarily of proteins and healthy fats, and the other consisting primarily of carbohydrates, you would see a very dramatic difference in body composition (and overall health) over time.
A few specific dietary changes can reduce cellulite in many women. A simple reduction in bad fats and sugars can do wonders for improving body composition and regulating estrogen levels.
Cellulite Diet Plan
Here are a few of your key diet goals when it comes to reducing cellulite:
- Replace bad fats with good fats, and eliminate trans fat completely.
- Replaced refined carbohydrates with lean protein and high fiber complex carbohydrates.
- Drink at least 2 liters of water every day and avoid sugary drinks.
- Take a multivitamin daily as well as flax or fish oil capsules.
Fast food, canned foods, and refined carbs all load the body with chemicals, trans fat, and sugars that convert to fat, slow down metabolism, and increase water retention which makes cellulite more visible. By removing these foods from your diet and making some simple adjustments (no weight loss required) you will see significant improvements in your body composition and a reduction in cellulite with no exercise required.
All carbohydrates are the same. This is a big one. Just like fats, not all carbs act the same in the body after being consumed. Refined carbohydrates, or “simple” carbs, make up the majority of the carbohydrates in the American diet, and as far as the body is concerned they are equivalent to sugar. They are digested quickly, causing insulin levels to spike up, and provide a fast source of energy, but they quickly convert to body fat after the initial spike because the body has no need for all the extra calories. Some common sources of simple carbs that may surprise you include fruit juice, most bread, white rice, cereals, and potatoes. These carbohydrates provide little nutritional value other than calories.
The next time you go shopping, take a look at the ingredients list in your favorite food products. If you see the words “bleached”, “refined”, or “processed” what you’re really eating is essentially sugar. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are digested slowly over time and provide a sustained release of energy without the insulin spike. This is primarily due to the fiber content. Examples of complex carbohydrates include quinoa, brown rice, whole grains, and many green vegetables. Not only do simple carbohydrates lead to increased fat storage, they are also unhealthy for the heart and can lead to diseases like type 2 diabetes.
Eating meat is bad for you. In recent time, eating meat has become demonized for a number of reasons and it is commonly thought that a vegetarian or even vegan diet is a healthier alternative. While it is true that some meats are unhealthy when consumed in large amounts (particularly fatty red meats), protein is an essential part of your diet and most people consume too little in comparison to bread and grains. Protein contains branch chain amino acids, which are the building blocks of just about every part of your body. Your muscles, skin, brain, and even your blood can benefit from a high protein diet.
While there are other sources of protein besides meat, many of them do not contain a full amino acid profile, which means the body cannot fully utilize them for rebuilding muscle and tissue. Some plant-based protein sources have also shown to have negative effects on the body. Soy protein, which is the staple of most vegetarian diets, has shown to cause estrogen imbalance in people who consume too much of it. And as we discussed previously, excess estrogen is one of the primary culprits behind cellulite. A diet high in lean proteins like fish and poultry helps build muscle and keeps you feeling fuller than a diet high in carbohydrates, which leads to lower overall calorie consumption.
Eating fat makes you fat. This is one of the most common dietary myths of all time. While it is true that certain fats are bad for you, there are many types of dietary fat that can improve your heart health, give you sustained energy, and keep your body functioning properly. Your brain, skin, organs, and muscles all need essential fatty acids to perform at their best.
Contrary to popular belief, fat is a great source of energy because the body digests it slowly over time without spiking your insulin the way carbohydrates do. Not only that but including healthy fats in a carb-heavy meal can slow down the digestion of the entire meal, meaning a sustained release of energy with less of it being stored as body fat.
Many of the healthiest societies on earth consume high amounts of fat in comparison to the typical American diet, which is heavy on carbohydrates. This is not to say that consuming excessive amounts of fat is healthy, but research is showing that dietary fat is not what we once thought it was, and that the FDA recommended diet which is composed primarily of grains may be the culprit behind many of America’s obesity and a slew of other health problems.
But which fats are good and which are bad?
Bad Fat vs Good Fat
Fat is as essential to your diet as protein and carbohydrates. Without healthy fats, your body simply can’t function. For example, many vitamins require fat in order to dissolve into your bloodstream and provide nutrients. However, fat is more calorically dense than protein or carbs, and the the excess calories from eating too much fat of any type can lead to weight gain.
All foods and oils contain a mixture of fatty acids, but the predominant type of fat they contain is what makes them “good” or “bad.”
What are Bad Fats?
There are two potential types of bad fats; saturated fat and trans fat. While not all saturated fats are bad, both of these types of fat have potential to harm your heart and both can lead to rapid fat storage in the body. Most of the foods that contain these types of fats are solid at room temperature, such as:
- processed butter
- nut oils
- certain vegetable oils (like canola oil)
This type of fat is primarily animal-based and is commonly found in fatty meats and dairy products. Some typical sources of saturated fats include:
- fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb
- dark chicken meat and poultry skin
- high-fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream)
Health experts are still at odds on the health effects of saturated fat, but studies have shown that diets high in saturated fat can increase blood cholesterol levels which increases your risk of heart disease.
Trans fat is short for “trans fatty acids,” which appear in foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils. These are the worst fats for you and have no nutritional value. They quickly turn into body fat and contribute to heart disease, among many other health problems. You can find trans fat in:
- fried foods (french fries or any deep-fried fast foods)
- butter or margarine (stick and tub)
- vegetable shortening (canola oil is the most “sneaky” offender)
- baked goods (cookies, cakes, pastries)
- processed snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn)
Like saturated fat, trans fat raises bad cholesterol and surpasses good cholesterol. But it also quickly converts into body fat, not unlike refined carbohydrates. Good fats can provide a slow burning, steady source of energy to your body whereas trans fats are quickly turned into excess body fat.
What Are Good Fats?
Monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat are healthy fats that can provide sustained energy to your body over longer periods of time, similar to complex carbohydrates. As a general rule of thumb, healthier fats tend to be liquid when they’re at room temperature.
This type of helpful fat is present in a variety of common foods. Research has consistently shown that eating foods that contain monounsaturated fat can decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and also help reduce your overall body fat percentage. Some of these foods include:
- nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans)
- certain oils (olive oil, peanut oil, soybean oil)
- natural peanut butter and almond butter*
*Most peanut butters contain partially hydrogenated oils, which are the worst type of fat you can ingest. When shopping for peanut butter (or any other “butter”) keep an eye out for anything hydrogenated.
Plant-based foods and oils are the primary source of this type of fat. Like monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat can decrease your risk of heart disease and are easily used for energy in the body, rather than being stored as excess fat.
A specific type of this fat, called omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown to be particularly beneficial to your heart, skin, and muscles. Omega-3s not only lower your blood pressure, but can improve the function of your heart, organs, muscles, and skin. The following types of fish contain omega-3 fatty acids:
For those who don’t like fish, you can also find omega-3s in flaxseed, walnuts, or fish oil capsules. In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, you can find polyunsaturated fat in the following foods, which contain omega-6 fatty acids:
- roasted soy beans and soy nut butter*
- seeds (sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds)
- certain vegetable oils (sesame oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil)
- soft margarine (some margarines also contain trans fats, however)
- according to recent research, a diet high in soy proteins can cause an overproduction of estrogen. Therefore, consumption of soy products should be limited. Estrogen imbalance is one of the key contributors to cellulite.
Healthier fats are an important part of your diet, but it’s still crucial to moderate your consumption of them, because all fats are more calorically dense than protein and carbohydrates. Try replacing unhealthy fats with healthy fats whenever possible but don’t take this as a green light to eat as much fat as you like.
In today’s fast paced world, we often consume a lot of bad calories without knowing it because convenience foods are usually overly processed. But by making a few simple substitutions to your weekly shopping list, you can make a big difference without much effort and without having to stop eating the foods you love. The goal here is to improve the nutritional value of the foods you’re already eating.
Replace butter with a butter substitute. Butter and margarine are the most common sources of trans fats. Several decades ago, scientists discovered that if they injected vegetable oil with hydrogen, it would turn solid and stay that way, even at room temperature. Trans fats tend to harden inside your body, where they jam up your arteries, making it difficult for blood and oxygen to circulate. Not only is this dangerous for your heart, but it can also cause skin tissues to weaken, making skin rippling all the more pronounced. Replace butter and margarine with a substitute with no trans fat like Smart Balance or unprocessed grass-fed butter. Believe it or not, grass-fed butter is a good source of fatty acids like CLA. Conjugated linoleum acid actually supports weight loss and is commercially sold as a fat-burning supplement.
Replace sugary drinks with low calorie options. One of the leading causes of obesity in America and worldwide is sugary drinks like soda, juice, and sports drinks. Has your cellulite gotten progressively worse each passing year? That’s because your body is producing less collagen. This is a natural part of aging and there’s no way to completely reverse the effects, but cutting back on sugar will help A LOT. If you absolutely need a caffeine fix, drink plain black coffee or tea. But remember, consuming too much caffeine increases the production of cortisol in the body which is one of the hormones that can contribute to cellulite. Try to limit your caffeine intake as best you can. If you absolutely need a soda, drink a diet soda sweetened with Sucralose.
Replace fatty meats with lean meats. A high protein diet is good for your muscles, skin, and hair, but fatty meats like beef and pork are loaded with saturated fats which are bad for the heart. While lean fish and poultry are usually the better choice, there are often alternatives to fatty meats like bacon, sausage, and burgers that taste just as good with far less calories. For example, replace pork sausage with chicken sausage. Replace hamburgers with turkey burgers or 95/5 lean beef. Replace regular bacon with turkey bacon. These replacement foods often taste just as good as the original and won’t slow you down.
Replace processed breads and grains with unprocessed whole grains. If you see the words “bleached,” “refined,” or “enriched” on your bread, pasta, or other grain based products, that means it’s been processed, making it nutritionally equivalent to eating sugar. In general, try to avoid foods that contain white flour. You may not think of things like white bread as an indulgence like you would ice cream or cake, but the body converts refined carbohydrates into sugar and then glucose. This makes it nutritionally equivalent to eating a pile of sugar, a nutrient that damages collagen, making cellulite look far worse than it actually is.
Replace peanut butter with natural peanut butter. Peanut butter can be a tasty source of good fat and protein. Unfortunately, most peanut butters are made with partially hydrogenated soybean oil. Hydrogenated oils contain trans fat and should be avoided whenever possible. Many other common food products use hydrogenated oils as well. If you see that on the ingredient list, get rid of it.
Replace canned or packaged meals with fresh, whole foods. A standard serving of deli meat contains almost 1/3 of the daily recommended intake of sodium. Canned foods can be even worse. And processed cheeses often contain nearly half a gram of salt in a quarter-cup serving. So what does this all this have to do with cellulite? High sodium foods like deli meats, bacon and cheeses cause water retention. Retaining water not only makes you look bloated and makes cellulite more visible, but it raises your blood pressure which can cause heart problems.
Replace salad dressings with organic, fat-free options. Most people think salads are good for you, regardless of what you put on top of them. Unfortunately, most salad dressings are made primarily of unhealthy, bad fats and are loaded with calories. Some brands may try to confuse you with the serving size, but rest assured you are consuming way more fat and calories than you thought. Next time you’re shopping for dressings, look for fat-free alternatives or dressings made with pure olive oil.
Avoid fast food completely. Ok, this one isn’t a replacement. Fast foods need to be cut from your diet not just because it causes cellulite, but because is is terrible for your overall health. Fast food restaurants cook their food in unhealthy oils that are loaded with trans and saturated fats and use loads of preservatives to keep food looking “fresh” for long periods of time. If you have no choice, many chains now offer a low calorie menu. When ordering, be sure to tell them to hold all dressing like mayo and sour cream. This can eliminate hundreds of calories without sacrificing the entire meal.
You can still eat the foods you like in most cases, as long as you make some simple healthy replacements and you will see results. This program doesn’t even require you to to reduce your calorie intake, but rather your goal should be to make the calories you do consume healthier. This can greatly improve body your composition, regulate problem hormones, and improve your overall health even if you don’t exercise at all.
Remember, fat isn’t the enemy. In fact, good fats like Omega 3’s are a more efficient form of energy than carbohydrates. They are heart healthy and provide sustained energy throughout the day, as compared to simple carbs which are almost immediately stored as body fat after they are consumed. Again, try not to associate dietary fat with body fat as many people still do these days.
Once you get in the habit of swapping out the bad fats and refined carbohydrates for lean proteins and whole grains, it becomes second nature and you won’t even miss the junk. You’ll also notice you have a lot more energy, more sex drive in the bedroom, and a leaner, tighter looking body.
10 Foods That Fight Cellulite
Below are the ten best foods you can eat to fight cellulite. These are nutrient packed foods that help rebuild muscle, damaged collagen, and other critical tissues in your body that wear down as we age and make cellulite worse. Add these to your diet and watch your skin glow, your cellulite shrink, and your booty look better than ever.
#1 Lean Fish
Lean fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel have the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids you’re going to find and are packed with nutritious protein. If you’re concerned about toxins in fish (particularly mercury), the FDA says up to 12 ounces a week is fine. Some fish contain more toxins than others, so its best to eat a variety and not just tuna. In addition, studies show adding fish to your diet can also help reduce the inflammation associated with psoriasis and even eczema.
#2 Nuts, Grains, and Seeds
A handful of walnuts (~1 ounce) gives you about the same amount of omega-3 as 3.5 ounces of salmon. Flax seeds sprinkled on your meal (or taken as a supplement) also offer a nice supply.
Sunflower seeds are also full of cellulite-busting nutrients including vitamin E, potassium, and zinc. They are a good source of selenium, with one cup providing more than a third of the recommended daily intake. Furthermore, sunflower seeds are a good source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is crucial for the proper absorption of zinc from the intestines, and also plays an important role in the metabolism of proteins and helps strengthen and repair connective tissue. However, keep in mind that seeds and nuts are high in calories, so they should be consumed in moderation.
#3 Olive Oil
Your skin needs healthy oils for proper lubrication, and olive oil is one of the healthiest (and tastiest) options. Use olive oil in place of salad dressings, cooking oils, butter, and other fats in your recipes.
While all fruits are great for healthy skin, they are also high in sugar so you need to choose wisely. Bananas are one of the foods with the highest potassium-to-sodium ratio, which makes them a good snack for women with cellulite. Sodium increases water retention which causes bloating and raises blood pressure, while potassium has the opposite effect. Furthermore, bananas are known to promote healthy blood flow in the body. Healthy blood circulation ensures that skin cells receive the nutrients they need.
Veggies are my favorite source of carbohydrates because they are lower in sugar than fruits and are packed with powerful antioxidants. Generally, you want to go for vegetables with deeper, darker colors as these tend to contain the most nutrients. Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are must haves.
#6 Whole Grains
While bread, in general, should be avoided when possible, the key here is to replace white flour and other refined baked goods and cereals in your diet with whole grains. Refined carbohydrates are not only nutritionally empty and bad for your heart, they are linked to an inflammatory reaction that can be harmful to skin.
Be it white, green, or black, studies show the polyphenols found in tea have anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial to skin. One study published in the Archives of Dermatology found drinking 3 cups of tea a day cut eczema symptoms for 54% of those who tried it. Tea is the best replacement for coffee, soda, and other sugary caffeinated drinks because it provides an energy boost without all the negative side effects. Brew a big batch of green tea at the start of the week and throw it in the fridge. Whenever you’re craving a sugary soda or juice, have some tea instead and watch your cellulite melt and your health improve.
Buckwheat is a slow-burning, easily digestible whole grain that, in addition to being a complete protein, is also rich in B vitamins, lysine, and fiber. B vitamins help convert calories to energy and Lysine is an amino acid that helps repair body tissue and collagen. The next time you’re craving bread, go for one that uses buckwheat flour rather than white flour.
Egg whites are an excellent source of lactose-free lean protein and are very low in calories and fat. The egg yolk, on the other hand, is a highly debated nutritional topic because it is high in cholesterol and fat. Today, most nutrition experts agree that egg yolks aren’t nearly as bad as we once thought, because dietary cholesterol has very little influence on your actual cholesterol levels, and the yolks are a highly concentrated source of many important vitamins and minerals, including iron, iodine, zinc, and vitamins A, D, E and B12.
In addition to providing protein and a slew of vitamins and minerals, eggs can help you lose weight. Research conducted at the Rochester Centre for Obesity in America found that eating eggs for breakfast could limit the calorie intake throughout the rest of the day by more than 400 calories. This is because eggs can make you feel full for longer.
Rosemary is a spice that stimulates circulation, making it beneficial in the treatment of cellulite. It also improves the digestion of fats and contains rosmarinic acid, a plant polyphenol that can help protect tissues from free radical damage. In addition, it is a source of ursolic acid, which facilitates collagen and elastin synthesis, strengthens the capillaries, and fights free radical damage. Rosemary can be used to flavor fish, roast meats, or add to sauces.
Sample Cellulite Diet Plan
Below is an example of a day worth of cellulite fighting meals. You’ll notice it is heavy on lean proteins and fiber-rich vegetables and comes out just under 2,000 calories. Your total calorie intake for the day may be higher or lower depending on your current height, weight, body type, etc but the macro ratios (protein/carbohydrates/fat) should remain in this range for best results.
Breakfast: Vegetable Frittata: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 4Â5″ glass or ceramic pie pan with cooking spray. Blend 1/2 cup liquid egg substitute, 2 tablespoons grated carrots, 3/4 cup leftover vegetables (such as broccoli, asparagus, or zucchini), and 2 ounces reduced-fat cheese. Pour mixture into pan and bake until firm, about 20 minutes. 1 slice 100% whole wheat toast with 2 teaspoons jam.
Snack: 1 cup low-sodium V8 juice or green juice
Lunch: Tuna Sandwich: Mix 3 ounces drained water-packed tuna with 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery. Spread on 2 slices 100% whole wheat bread with lettuce and 2 slices tomato.
Snack: 1 cup low fat Greek yogurt
Dinner: 4-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast, roasted Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes: Rub 4 ounces small red potatoes and 1 1/4 cups fresh brussels sprouts with 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 clove garlic, minced. Bake at 350°F 25 minutes. Glazed Carrots: Combine 1 cup steamed sliced carrots with 1 tablespoon orange juice and 1 teaspoon honey.
Snack: 1/4 cup mixed nuts combined with 2 teaspoons semisweet chocolate chips
NUTRITIONAL INFO: 1,800 cal, 130g pro, 185g carb, 62g fat, 18g sat fat, 34g fiber, 2,000mg sodium
Try to focus on eating 6 smaller meals per day rather than 3 large ones, and include some healthy protein and fiber in each. This will not only keep you feeling full all day, but it will ramp up your metabolism like crazy, helping you burn more calories while at rest. This is a simple way to get rid of excess body fat while rebuilding important muscle and collagen tissues, no exercise required.
In closing… the goal of an anti-cellulite diet is not necessarily to cut calories and try to lose a lot of weight. We simply want to improve the quality of the calories we are consuming so that we can improve muscle tone, regulate problem hormones, and rebuild damaged collagen. A diet higher in lean proteins and good fats will achieve this in short order, but also offers a number of other benefits like healthier blood lipids, more energy, and better skin. Also, try eating 6 smaller meals per day rather than 3 large ones, and include some healthy protein and fiber in each. This will not only keep you feeling full all day, but it will ramp up your metabolism like crazy, helping you burn more calories while at rest. This is a simple way to get rid of excess body fat while rebuilding important muscle and collagen tissues, no exercise required.