Losing belly fat, or belly fat, is a popular weight loss goal. Belly fat is a particularly harmful type of fat. Research suggests strong links with conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is why losing this fat can have significant beneficial effects on your health and well-being.
You can measure your belly fat by measuring your waist circumference with a tape measure. Measurements greater than 102 cm in men and 88 cm in women are known as abdominal obesity. Some weight loss strategies can target belly fat more than other areas of the body.
Here are 6 evidence-based ways to lose belly fat.
1. Avoid sugar and sugary drinks
Foods that contain added sugars are harmful to your health. Eating a lot of these types of foods can lead to weight gain. Studies show that added sugar has unique adverse effects on metabolic health. Several studies have indicated that excess sugar, due to large amounts of fructose, can lead to fat accumulation around the abdomen and liver. Sugar is made up of half glucose and half fructose. When you consume a lot of added sugar, your liver is laden with fructose and has to convert it into fat.
Some believe that this is the main process behind the harmful health effects of sugar. It increases belly fat and liver fat which leads to insulin resistance and various metabolic problems. Liquid sugar is worse in this respect. The brain doesn’t seem to register liquid calories in the same way as solid calories, so when you drink sugary drinks you end up consuming more total calories.
One study found that children were 60% more likely to become obese with each additional daily serving of sugary drinks. Try to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet and consider eliminating sugary drinks completely. This includes soft drinks, sweetened soft drinks, fruit juices, and many high-sugar sports drinks. Read labels to make sure products do not contain refined sugars. Even foods marketed as diet products can contain large amounts of sugar. Keep in mind that none of this applies to whole fruits, they are very healthy and contain a lot of fiber that mitigates the negative effects of fructose.
2. Eat more protein
Protein is perhaps the single most important nutrient for weight loss. Research shows that it can reduce food cravings by 60%, boost metabolism by 80-100 calories per day, and help you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day. If your goal is to lose weight, adding protein may be the most effective change you can make to your diet.
Not only can protein help you lose weight, but it can also help prevent weight gain. Protein can be particularly effective in reducing belly fat. One study found that people who ate more and better protein had significantly less belly fat. Another study found that protein was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of gaining belly fat over a 5-year period in women.
This study also established a link between refined carbohydrates and oils and increased abdominal fat, and between fruits and vegetables and decreased fat. In most studies that found protein to aid weight loss, people consumed 25-30% of their calories as protein. So this is a good fork to try. Try to increase your intake of protein-rich foods such as whole eggs, fish, legumes, nuts, meat and dairy products. These are the best sources of protein for your diet.
If you struggle to get enough protein in your diet, a high-quality protein supplement, such as whey protein, is a healthy and convenient way to increase your overall intake. You can find many protein powder options online.
3. Eat less carbohydrates
Eating fewer carbohydrates is a very effective way to lose belly fat. Many studies prove this. When people reduce carbohydrates, their appetite decreases and they lose weight. More than 20 randomized controlled studies have shown that low-carb diets sometimes lead to two or three times more weight loss than low-fat diets. This is true even when people in the low-carb groups are allowed to eat as much as they want, while people in the low-fat groups are subject to calorie restriction. Low-carb diets also lead to a rapid decrease in water weight, which leads to rapid results. People often see a difference on the scale within a day or two.
Studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets show that a low-carb diet specifically reduces fat in the abdomen and around the organs and liver.
This means that part of the fat lost on a low-carb diet is considered harmful belly fat.
Simply avoiding refined carbohydrates such as: sugar, candy, and white bread should be enough, especially if your protein intake is still high.
If the goal is to lose weight quickly, some people reduce their carbohydrate intake to 50 grams per day. The body then goes into ketosis, a state in which it begins to burn fat as its base strength decreases and appetite decreases.
4. Eat foods rich in fiber
Dietary fiber is basically indigestible plant matter. Eating plenty of fiber can help you lose weight. However, the type of fiber is important.
It appears to be mostly soluble and viscous fibers that have an effect on your weight. These are the fibers that trap water and form a thick gel that “settles” in your gut.
This jelly can significantly slow down the movement of food through the digestive system. It can also slow down the digestion and absorption of nutrients. The end result is a prolonged feeling of fullness and decreased appetite. A review study found that an additional 14 grams of fiber per day was associated with a 10% reduction in calorie intake and a weight loss of approximately 2 kg over 4 months. A 5-year study reported that an intake of 10 grams of soluble fiber per day was associated with a 3.7% reduction in the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity. This means that soluble fiber can be particularly effective in reducing harmful belly fat.
The best way to get more fiber is to eat plenty of plant foods, including vegetables and fruits. Legumes are also a good source, as are some grains, such as whole oats.
5. Exercise regularly
Exercising is one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of living a long, healthy life and avoid disease. One of the amazing health benefits of physical exercise is to reduce belly fat.
It is not about performing abdominal exercises, because one-time reduction: fat loss in one place is not possible. In one study, six weeks of abdominal muscle training alone had no measurable effect on waist size or the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.
Strength training and cardiovascular exercises reduce fat throughout the body. Aerobic exercises such as walking, running and swimming can significantly reduce belly fat. Another study found that physical exercise completely prevented people from regaining belly fat after losing weight, which means exercise is especially important while maintaining weight, reducing inflammation, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving other metabolic problems associated with excess belly fat.
6. Keep track of what you eat
Most people know that what you eat is important, but many do not know exactly what they are eating. A person may think they are on a high-protein or low-carbohydrate diet, but if they ignore it, it is easy to overestimate or underestimate their food intake.
Tracking your food intake doesn’t mean you have to weigh and measure everything you eat. Tracking it every now and then for a few days in a row can help you identify the most important points to change. Planning ahead can help you reach specific goals, such as increasing your protein intake to 25-30% of calories or reducing unhealthy carbohydrates.
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