Whether you call it a spare tire or a muffin top or just “my junk,” the ring of fat that collects around the top of your waist can ruin the line of a perfect dress, make even the coolest T-shirt look schlumpy, and generally make you feel F-A-T fat. Fortunately, having love handles is more of a style risk than a health risk. Unlike belly fat, which infiltrates your internal organs and is linked to everything from diabetes to heart disease to liver failure, that spare tire is made of subcutaneous fat, a type of fat located just below the skin, and which just sort of sits there; in fact, some studies suggest subcutaneous fat may even help protect us from certain health issues.
But that doesn’t mean we have to love the way they look—or live with them. The problem with love handles is that they don’t respond as well to moderate exercise or stress reduction. There are only two ways to get rid of them: There’s the hard way, which is to burn them off through vigorous exercise. And there’s the easy way, which is to use some simple tricks found in Zero Belly to cut down on calories and sugar while revving your metabolism with fat-burning foods that are high in fiber and protein. Here are 40 of the best Zero Belly–approved foods to whittle your waist and bring your midriff back in line. And for 150+ recipes that flatten your belly fast—made with the foods you love—buy the best-selling book from Abs Diet creator David Zinczenko: Zero Belly Cookbook!