Losing belly fat, or belly fat, is a common weight loss goal. Abdominal fat is a particularly harmful type of fat. Research suggests strong links to conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. That’s why losing that fat can have significant benefits for your health and wellness. You can measure your belly fat by measuring around your waist 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 may target fat in the belly area more than other areas of the body.
Here are 6 evidence-based methods to lose belly fat.
1. Avoid sugar and sugary drinks
Foods that contain added sugars are bad for your health. Eating too many of these types of foods can lead to weight gain. Studies show that added sugar has unique deleterious effects on metabolic health. Numerous studies have indicated that excess sugar, mainly due to high amounts of fructose, can lead to the accumulation of fat around the abdomen and liver. Sugar is half glucose and half fructose. When you consume a lot of added sugar, your liver becomes overloaded with fructose and is forced to convert it to fat.
Some believe that this is the main process behind the adverse health effects of sugar. It increases abdominal fat and liver fat, which leads to insulin resistance and various metabolic problems. Liquid sugar is worse in this regard. 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 develop obesity with each additional daily serving of sugary drinks.
Try to minimize the amount of sugar in your diet and consider cutting out sugary drinks altogether. This includes sugary drinks, sugary sodas, fruit juices, and various high-sugar sports drinks.
2. Eat more protein
Protein is perhaps the most important macronutrient for weight loss. Research shows they can reduce cravings by 60%, increase 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. Protein can not only help you lose weight, but it can also help prevent weight gain. Protein can be particularly effective at reducing abdominal fat. One study showed that people who ate more and better protein had significantly less belly fat.
Another study indicated that protein was associated with a significantly reduced risk of abdominal fat gain over 5 years in women. This study also linked refined carbohydrates and oils to increased abdominal fat, and fruits and vegetables to reduced fat. In most of the studies that found protein to contribute to weight loss, people consumed 25-30% of their calories as protein. Therefore, it is a good fork to try. Try to increase your intake of high-protein foods, such as whole eggs, fish, legumes, nuts, meat, and dairy products. These are the best sources of protein for your diet.
3. Eat fewer carbohydrates
Eating fewer carbohydrates is a very effective way to lose fat. This is confirmed by numerous studies. When people cut down on carbohydrates, their appetite decreases and they lose weight. More than 20 randomized, controlled studies have shown that low-carbohydrate diets sometimes lead to 2-3 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 restricted in calories. Low carb diets also lead to rapid water weight reduction, which gives quick results. People often see a difference in scale within a day or two. Studies comparing low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets indicate that a low-carbohydrate diet specifically reduces fat in the abdomen and around the organs and liver.
This means that some of the fat lost on a low-carb diet is unhealthy belly fat. Simply avoiding refined carbohydrates like sugar, sweets, and white bread should do the trick, especially if your protein intake remains 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 where it begins to burn fat as its main fuel and appetite decreases.
4. Eat foods rich in fiber
Dietary fiber is primarily indigestible plant matter. Eating plenty of fiber can help with weight loss. However, the type of fiber is important. It seems that it is mainly the soluble and viscous fibers that have an effect on your weight. These are fibers that bind water and form a thick gel that “seals” in the intestine. This gel can significantly slow the movement of food through your digestive system. It can also slow digestion and absorption of nutrients. The end result is a prolonged feeling of satiety and reduced appetite.
A review study found that an additional 14 grams of fiber per day was associated with a 10% decrease in calorie intake and a weight loss of approximately 2 kg over 4 months. A 5-year study reported that consuming 10 grams of soluble fiber per day was associated with a 3.7% reduction in the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity. This implies that soluble fiber may be particularly effective at reducing unhealthy abdominal 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 grain oats.
5. Exercise regularly
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of living a long, healthy life and avoiding disease. Reducing abdominal fat is one of the amazing health benefits of exercise. It is not about doing abdominal exercises, because spot reduction, losing fat in one place, is not possible. In one study, six weeks of abdominal muscle training alone had no measurable effect on waist circumference or the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity. Strength training and cardio exercises can reduce fat throughout the body. Aerobic exercises, such as walking, running, and swimming, can significantly reduce abdominal fat. Another study found that exercise completely prevented people from regaining belly fat after losing weight, implying that exercise is especially important during weight maintenance. Exercise also helps reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar levels, and improve other metabolic problems associated with excess belly fat.
6. Track your food intake
Most people know that what they eat is important, but many don’t know exactly what they are eating. A person may think that they are following a high-protein or low-carbohydrate diet, but if they ignore this, 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. Following up every once in a while, for a few days in a row, can help you identify the most important areas for change. Planning ahead can help you achieve specific goals, such as increasing your protein intake to 25-30% of calories or reducing unhealthy carbohydrates.
Abdominal fat, or belly fat, is linked to an increased risk of certain diseases. Belly fat can be reduced by making lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet rich in lean protein, vegetables, fruits, and legumes, and exercising regularly.
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