Losing belly fat, or belly fat, is a common weight loss goal. Belly fat is a particularly harmful type of fat. Research suggests strong links to conditions such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. That’s why losing that fat can have significant benefits for your health and well-being.
You can measure your belly fat by measuring around your waist with a tape measure. Measurements above 102 cm in men and 88 cm in women are known as abdominal obesity. Some weight loss strategies may target fat in the abdominal 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 with added sugar are bad for your health. Eating a lot of these types of foods can lead to weight gain. Studies show that added sugar has unique detrimental effects on metabolic health. Numerous studies have indicated that excess sugar, primarily due to high amounts of fructose, can lead to fat accumulation around the stomach and liver. Sugar is half glucose and half fructose. When you consume a lot of added sugar, the liver becomes overloaded with fructose and is forced to convert it into fat.
Some believe that this is the main process behind the negative health effects of sugar. It increases abdominal fat and liver fat, leading to insulin resistance and various metabolic problems. Liquid sugar is worse in this regard. The brain doesn’t seem to register liquid calories the same way as solid calories, so when you drink sugary drinks, you end up consuming more total calories.
One study observed that children were 60% more likely to develop obesity for each additional daily serving of sugary drinks. Try to minimize the amount of sugar in your diet and consider eliminating sugary drinks altogether. This includes sugar-sweetened beverages, sugary sodas, fruit juices, and various high-sugar sports drinks. Read the labels to make sure products do not contain refined sugar. Even foods marketed as diet products can contain significant amounts of sugar. Remember, none of this applies to whole fruits, which are extremely healthy and contain plenty of fiber, which mitigates the negative effects of fructose.
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 in reducing abdominal 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 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 studies that found protein to help with weight loss, people consumed 25-30% of their calories as protein. It is therefore 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 quality protein supplement like whey protein is a healthy and convenient way to increase your overall intake. You can find many protein powder options online.
3. Eat fewer carbohydrates
Eating fewer carbohydrates is a very effective way to lose belly fat. Many studies prove it. When people cut back on carbohydrates, their appetite decreases and they lose weight. Over 20 randomized controlled trials have now shown that low-carb diets sometimes lead to 2-3 times greater 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 those in the low-fat groups are calorie restricted. Low-carbohydrate diets also lead to a rapid reduction in water weight, providing quick 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 some of the fat lost on a low-carb diet is harmful abdominal fat.
Simply avoiding refined carbohydrates such as: sugar, sweets and white bread should be enough, 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 enters ketosis, a state where it begins to burn fat as its main fuel and appetite decreases.
4. Eat fiber-rich foods
Dietary fiber is mostly indigestible plant material. Eating plenty of fiber can help with weight loss. However, the type of fiber is important.
It seems that it is primarily the soluble and viscous fibers that have an effect on your weight. It is fiber that binds water and forms a thick gel that “seals” in your gut.
This gel can significantly slow down the movement of food through your digestive system. It can also slow down digestion and absorption of nutrients. The end result is a long-lasting 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 about 2 kg of weight loss 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 abdominal fat. This implies that soluble fiber may be particularly effective in reducing harmful 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 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’s not about doing abdominal exercises, because point 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 abdominal fat.
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 exercise completely prevented people from regaining belly fat after weight loss, suggesting 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 you eat is important, but many do not know exactly what they eat. A person may think they are on a high protein or low carb diet, but if they ignore this, it is easy to overestimate or underestimate their food intake.
Tracking food intake doesn’t mean you have to weigh and measure everything you eat. Tracking it 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 reach specific goals, like increasing your protein intake to 25-30% of calories or reducing unhealthy carbs.