Belly fat is more than an inconvenience that makes the clothes feel tight. It is harmful seriously
This type of fat called to as visceral fat is a major risk factor for type diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other conditions.
Many health bodies use body mass index (BMI) for weight classification and prediction of the risk of metabolic disease.
However, this may be misleading, as people with belly fat in excess are at an increased risk even if they are looking thin
Though it may be difficult for losing fat from this area, there are several things you can do to reduce excess abdominal fat.
Below are 20 effective tips for losing belly fat, backed by scientific studies.
- Consume plenty of soluble fiber
Soluble fiber helps in absorbing water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system.
Studies have shown that this type of fiber promotes weight loss by helping in feeling full, so eating less is natural. It may also reduce the number of calories the body is absorbing from food
Soluble fiber may help in fighting belly fat also.
An observational study in over 1,000 adults found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake, belly fat gain reduced by 3.7% over a 5-year period
Make an attempt to eat high fiber foods daily. Excellent sources of soluble fiber include:
- flax seeds
- shirataki noodles
- Brussels sprouts
Soluble fiber may help in losing weight by increasing fullness and decreasing calorie absorption. Plenty of high fiber foods should be included in the weight loss diet.
- Avoidance of foods containing trans fats
Pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats creates trans-fats, such as soybean oil.
Some margarines and spreads have trans fats in them and also often added to packaged foods, but many food producers have stopped using them.
These fats have been connected to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance, and abdominal fat gain in observational and animal studies
A 6-year animal study found that monkeys who consumed a high trans fat diet gained 33% more abdominal fat than compared to those eating a diet high in monounsaturated fat
To help in reducing belly fat and protecting the health, ingredient labels should be read carefully and products that contain trans fats should be avoided which are often listed as partially hydrogenated fats.
Some researchers have connected a high intake of trans fat to increased belly fat gain. Regardless of whether trying to lose weight, limiting trans-fat intake is a good idea.
- Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can have health benefits in little amounts, but it’s very harmful if drinking too much.
Research recommends that drinking too much alcohol can also make you gain belly fat.
Observational studies connect consuming heavy alcohol to a significant increased risk of developing central obesity that is, excess fat storage around the waist
Cutting back on alcohol consumption may help in reducing the waist size. Instead of giving it up fully limit the amount to be drank in a single day can help
One study on alcohol consumption involved more than 2,000 people in which results showed those who drank alcohol daily but averaged the consumption less than one drink per day had less belly fat than those who were drinking less frequently but consumed more alcohol on the days they drank
Excessive consumption of alcohol has been related with increased belly fat. If waist line needs to be reduced, consider drinking alcohol in moderation or abstaining completely.
- High protein diet consumption
For weight management protein is an extremely vital nutrient.
High protein consumption increases the release of the fullness hormone PYY, which reduces appetite and promotes fullness.
Protein also raises your metabolic rate and helps in retaining muscle mass during weight loss
Many studies observed that people who consume more protein tend to have less abdominal fat than those who eat a lower protein diet
A good protein source should be included at every meal, such as:
- whey protein
High protein foods are ideal to shed some extra pounds around the waist, such as fish, lean meat, and beans
- Reducing stress levels
Stress can gain belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which is also called as the stress hormone.
Research shows that high cortisol levels increase the appetite and abdominal fat storage is driven
To highlight more on this, women who already have a large waist tend to produce more cortisol in response to stress. Increased cortisol adds further to fat gain around the middle
To help in decreasing belly fat, pleasurable activities that relieve stress should be engaged. Effective methods can be practicing yoga or meditation
Fat gain around the waist may be promoted by stress. Stress minimization should be one of the priorities if trying to losing weight.
- Sugary foods avoidance
Fructose is contained in sugar, which has been connected to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess which includes heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver disease
A relationship between high sugar intake and increased abdominal fat is shown under some observational studies
It’s necessary to realize not only just refined sugar can lead to belly fat gain but even healthier sugars, such as real honey, should be used sparingly.
Excessive sugar consumption is a major cause of weight gain in many people. Consumption should be limited of candy and processed foods high in added sugar.
- Do aerobic exercise (cardio)
Aerobic exercise or cardio can be an effective way in improving health and burn calories.
Research also shows that it’s one of the most effective types of exercise for decreasing belly fat. However, results are not exact as to whether moderate or high intensity exercise is more beneficial
The frequency and duration of your exercise program are more important than its intensity in any case
One study found that postmenopausal women had lost more fat from all areas when they conducted aerobic exercise for 300 minutes per week, compared with those who had exercised 150 minutes weekly
An effective weight loss method is aerobic exercise. Studies suggest it’s particularly effective in making the waistline slim.
- Cutting back on carbs — especially refined carbs
Decreasing the carb intake can be very useful for losing fat, including abdominal fat.
Diets which are less than 50 grams of carbs per day can cause belly fat loss in people who are overweight, those at risk for type 2 diabetes, and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
A strict low carb diet is not to be followed. Some research recommends that replacing refined carbs with unprocessed starchy carbs may improve metabolic health and decrease belly fat
A high intake of refined carbs is associated with excessive belly fat. Consider decreasing carb intake or replacing refined carbs in the diet with healthy carb sources, such as whole grains, legumes, or vegetables.
- Replace some cooking fats with coconut oil
Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats to be consumed
Studies show that the coconut oil have medium-chain fats that may boost metabolism and reduce the amount of fat you store in response to high calorie intake
Controlled studies suggest that coconut oil consumption may also lead to abdominal fat loss
In one study, men with obesity who took coconut oil every day for 12 weeks lost an average of 1.1 inches (2.86 cm) from their waists without changing their diets intentionally or exercise routines
However, evidence for the advantages of coconut oil for abdominal fat loss is not strong and controversial
Also to be kept in mind that coconut oil is also high in calories. Instead of adding extra fat to the diet, try to replace some of the fats already being eaten with coconut oil.
- Perform resistance training (lift weights)
Resistance training, also called as weight lifting or strength training is necessary for preserving and gaining muscle mass.
Based on studies which included people with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease, resistance training may also be useful for loss of belly fat
In fact, in a study involving teenagers who were overweight showed that a mixture of strength training and aerobic exercise led to the greatest decrease in visceral fat
It will be helpful to get advice from a certified personal trainer if deciding to start weight lifting.
- Avoidance of sugar-sweetened beverages
Liquid fructose is loaded in sugar sweetened beverages, which can make gain belly fat.
Studies show that increased fat in the liver is led by sugary drinks. A 10-week study found significant abdominal gain in fat in people who had consumed high fructose beverages
Sugary beverages appear to be worse than high sugar foods.
Since liquid calories is not processed by brain the same way it does with solid ones, it is likely that too many calories can be consumed later on and storing them as fat
It is best to completely avoid sugar-sweetened beverages in order to lose belly fat such as:
- sweet tea
- alcoholic mixers containing sugar
- Plenty of restful sleep
For many aspects of the health sleep is important, including weight. Studies show that people who are not getting enough sleep tend to gain more weight, which may include belly fat
A 16-year study involved more than 68,000 women found that those who are sleeping less than 5 hours per night were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who were sleeping 7 hours or more per night
Sleep apnea a condition where breathing stops intermittently during the night, has also been connected to excess visceral fat
In addition to sleeping at least 7 hours per night, getting sufficient quality sleep should also be ensured.
If it is suspected to have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, speak to a doctor and get treated.
- Tracking food intake and exercise
Many things can help in losing weight and belly fat, but eating fewer calories than your body needs for weight maintenance is the key
Maintaining a food diary or using a food tracker online or app can help in monitoring the calorie intake. This strategy has been shown to be useful for weight loss
Food-tracking tools in addition help to see the intake of protein, carbs, fiber, and micronutrients. Many also allow to record the exercise and physical activity.
- Eat fatty fish
Fatty fish are incredibly healthy and should be eaten every week
Fatty fish are rich in high quality protein and omega-3 fats that help in protecting from disease
Some evidence recommends that these omega-3 fats may also help in reducing visceral fat.
Studies in adults and children who had fatty liver disease show that fish oil supplements can significantly decrease liver and abdominal fat
2–3 servings of fatty fish should be aimed per week. Good choices include:
- Stop drinking fruit juice
Although fruit juice provides vitamins and minerals but it’s just as high in sugar as soda and other sweetened drinks.
Drinking in large amounts may carry the similar risk for abdominal fat gain
An 8-ounce (240-mL) serving of unsweetened apple juice contains 24 grams of sugar in which half of it is fructose
To help in the reduction of excess belly fat, fruit juice should be replaced with water, unsweetened iced tea, or sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime.
- Add apple cider vinegar to diet
Drinking apple cider vinegar has impressive benefits to health, including lowering levels of blood sugar
It contains acetic acid, which has been shown to decrease storage of abdominal fat in several animal studies
In a 12-week controlled study in men that were diagnosed with obesity, those who took 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of apple cider vinegar per day lost half an inch (1.4 cm) from their waists
Taking 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 mL) of apple cider vinegar per day is considered safe for most people and may lead to modest fat loss.
However, it should be ensured to dilute it with water, as undiluted vinegar can erode the enamel on teeth.
There’s a good selection to choose from online if wanting to try apple cider vinegar.
- Eat probiotic foods or take a probiotic supplement
Bacteria which are found in some foods and supplements are called probiotics. They have many benefits for health including helping improve gut health and enhancing immune function
Researchers have found that various types of bacteria play a role in regulation of weight and that having the right balance can help with weight loss, including loss of belly fat.
Probiotic supplements typically contain several types of bacteria, so make sure to purchase which provides one or more of these bacterial strains.
- Intermittent fasting
Recently intermittent fasting has become very popular as a weight loss method.
It’s an eating pattern that cycle between intervals of eating and intervals of fasting
One popular method is involving 24-hour fasts once or twice a week. Another consists of fasting every day for around 16 hours and eating all the food within an 8-hour period.
Studies which reviewed on intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting, people experienced a 4–7% reduce in abdominal fat within 6–24 weeks
There’s some proof that intermittent fasting, and fasting in general, may not be as useful for women as for men.
Although certain improved intermittent fasting techniques appear to be better options, stop fasting immediately if experiencing any negative effects.
- Drink green tea
Green tea is an extraordinarily healthy beverage.
Green tea contains caffeine and the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), both of which appear to boost metabolism
EGCG is a catechin, which several studies recommend may help in losing belly fat. The effect may be strengthened when consumption of green tea is combined with exercise
- Change your lifestyle and combine different methods
Just performing one of the items on this list will not have a huge effect on its own.
If good results are to be obtained, combine different methods that have been shown to be effective.
Interestingly, many of these methods are things which are usually associated with healthy eating and an overall healthy lifestyle.
Therefore, for the long term changing the lifestyle is the key to losing belly fat and keeping it off.
Fat loss tends to follow as a natural side effect if having healthy habits and eating real food.
The bottom line
There are no magic solutions for belly fat loss.
Some effort, commitment, and perseverance is always required for weight loss
Successfully adopting few or all of the strategies and lifestyle goals discussed above will definitely help in losing the extra pounds around the waist.