Cellulite is surprisingly complex, and it doesn’t have nearly as much to do with diet or body fat percentage as you’d think. It happens to around 90% of women, regardless of size! With that in mind, we’re going to explore the connection between certain foods and cellulite. So if you’re ready to learn what foods cause cellulite, let’s dive in.
What is the Connection Between Diet and Cellulite?
Fundamentally, cellulite is not caused by the foods you eat. Instead, it’s caused by the way fat presses against connective tissue bands, which leads to visible dimpling at the surface of the skin.
Tissue breakdown can be caused by certain types of foods as well as inflammation. Collagen breakdown, in particular, can make the connective band between your fat stores and the skin less pliant, which can lead to more prominent cellulite.
It can also cause the skin to become thinner and less firm, which can also make cellulite seem more prominent.
Poor circulation can lead to the accumulation of fluids in the body, which is another factor that can make cellulite more prominent. It can lead to water retention, a type of bloating caused by the accumulation of excess fluid in body tissues can lead to puffiness, and it often makes cellulite look temporarily more pronounced. Chronic inflammation can also impair circulation and lymphatic drainage, leading to further accumulation of fluids in the affected area.
Finally, there’s subcutaneous fat, which is the fat that collects under the skin. It’s one factor out of many, and it’s possible to have visible cellulite even when your body fat percentage is healthy. Even so, the more fat, the more likely it is that your cellulite will seem more severe.
If you’re interested in fat loss, there are no specific foods to avoid. Instead, it’s all about consuming fewer calories than you ingest. Also, keep in mind that in some cases, rapid weight loss can cause loose skin, which may make your cellulite appear more severe - it’s important to balance fat loss with exercise to avoid that.
Foods that Cause Cellulite
These are the foods that may cause cellulite, or at least cause it to seem worse than it really is.
1) Salty Foods
We touched on how water retention and poor circulation can make cellulite look worse, especially in the short term. Salt and sodium are major contributors to that, and they’re plentiful in foods that cause cellulite to seem more severe.
Foods to avoid: Potato chips, processed meats, canned foods, soy sauce, and the majority of processed savory snacks and prepared foods.
2) Refined Carbs and Foods High in Sugar
Sugars are responsible for inflammation, leading to a level of tissue breakdown that can harm the body in a lot of different ways, and can also contribute to prominent cellulite. It’s important to remember that sugar isn’t always obvious, though. For example, highly refined, simple carbs transform into sugar very quickly in the body.
Foods to avoid: Soda and other sugar-added beverages, pastries, candy, condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce, white bread, and white rice.
3) Fried and Fatty Foods
Not all fats are bad for us! However, foods fried in high heat or enhanced by saturated or tran fats can contribute to a process called glycation, which leads to serious damage, inflammation, and tissue breakdown. They make cellulite worse on every level.
Foods to avoid: Mayonnaise, butter, margarine, high-fat cheeses, bacon, etc.
4) Red Meats
Like high-fat foods, many meats, especially red meats, can also contribute to glycation. The way they’re cooked also makes a difference. Frying and grilling processes both cause a chemical reaction that leads to more glycation-causing compounds.
Foods to avoid: Steak, grilled or barbecued meats, burgers, etc.
5) Ultra-Processed Foods
Highly processed food is often the worst culprit when it comes to cellulite. Processed foods are usually much higher in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats compared to anything you cook at home. That’s not to say all processed food is off-limits, but it’s so important you review the nutritional information of ready-made foods you buy at the store, and that you don’t make them a major part of your diet.
Foods to avoid: Frozen ready-made meals, processed meat products, sugary drinks, breakfast cereals, etc.
Foods That Can Help Prevent Cellulite
Foods that throw your body off balance can contribute to cellulite, while foods that nourish your body with healthy nutrients may actually prevent it! It’s not all-or-nothing, though. Eating a diet of mostly healthy foods will help you undo the effects of the occasional treat.
The key is for most of your daily nutrient intake to come from plants, along with healthy sources of complex carbs, lean proteins, and healthy, unsaturated fats.
FAQ's: What Foods Cause Cellulite?
Is there a specific diet that can help prevent or reduce cellulite?
There is no diet that’s one-size-fits-all or that will actively help prevent or reduce cellulite. That said, something like the Mediterranean diet will help you avoid a lot of the foods that cause cellulite to appear worse.
Can cellulite be prevented completely through diet?
No. Cellulite is caused by a combination of factors, so you’ll probably need to consider not just your diet, but also your body care habits, exercise routine, and other lifestyle factors when trying to prevent it.
What other treatments are available for reducing cellulite?
There’s so much more to reducing cellulite than just diet! From medical procedures to at-home massage to exercise to skincare, you’ve got a ton of options, and often combining all of them leads to the best results.
We’ve developed a full range of anti-cellulite products that’ll help you visibly reduce cellulite by stimulating the skin, actively targeting the layers below it, and promoting fascia release, for visibly smoother, cellulite-free skin.