Belly fat is not just a problem because it can look bad.
In fact, having lots of fat in the abdominal area is strongly linked to diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease (1)
For this reason, losing belly fat has massive benefits for your health and can help you live longer.
So, you know you are building up fat in your belly and want to get in shape. How do you go about it?
The most common solutions are to reduce sugary drinks & high fat food from your diets and increase on the fiber. But this sounds kind of vague. So today we will look at specifics that can help you go from flab to fab. Fortunately, there are a few proven strategies that have been shown to target the fat in the belly area more than other areas of the body.
8 Best Way to Lose Belly Fat, Based on Science
1. Don’t eat sugar and avoid sugar-sweetened drinks
Food is how our body gets fat. It can be in the form of sugar in your morning coffee or the cheesy slice of pizza you have in the late afternoon. All food contains fat in some form.(4) Moderation is the key. To know what foods to avoid, we first start with your diet.
Any normal person eats about 3 times a day. That means 3 chances to bulk up on the fat. The fat consumed in any one of these meals can be as small as the ideal quantity of a meal or as large as a full day worth of fat. Unless you are tracking every food item you consume, you won’t have an idea on how to get started. So, start noting the food items you eat, including snacks & tea. Get a diet monitoring app like healthifyme or freeletics or something else that suits you.
Fun fact: Unless you are in the habit of 4-10 course meals, snacks and tea/coffee will make up the highest amount of fat you consume in a day.
Once you have been monitoring your diet for at least a week, you will see some trends emerging. This could be like the regular pizza, or the frequent tea or the midnight snacking that can slowly rack up the fat counter. But once you get a statistical analysis of your diet, getting on the right diet becomes easier. Here’s how you do it.
2. Cut carbs from your Diet
Next problem with our diets is the very high consumption of carbohydrates. And the issue with carbs is that there is little way around it. Carbs form the basic of energy that we gain from food.
To put it vaguely, fiber keeps your colon clean, protein helps you grow, fat helps you get fat and carbs provide the energy to get through the day. Rice and wheat form the staple of our diet, and as it so happens, these are rich in carbs. So, be careful when designing the diet plan.
The good things with carbs, is that, even in excess, these can be burned off with little exercise. However, why take chances, let’s keep that in the moderation.
3. Shed Some Fat
Once you have a record of what you ate, the best thing to do is to reduce foods rich in fat. The good thing with diet calculators, is that they provide you with the breakdown of the daily consumption. This makes it easy to identify fatty foods. And once you know the root of the problem, we start off with 86ing them out of our lives.
This is the quickest way to cut off harmful calories from you diet and replacing them with high protein and fiber foods. It is harder in the beginning to quit a sweet tooth cold turkey. But determination towards the perfect Greek-god body kept me going. I am not there yet, but things are looking better. If you somehow find the determination to stick to a low-carb, low-fat diet, you may ask, what are suitable protein and fiber foods to add to my diet?
4. Eating more protein is a great long-term strategy to reduce belly fat
Protein is the most important macronutrient when it comes to losing weight.
Protein rich diets are relatively easy for people comfortable with non-vegetarian diet since meat is generally protein-rich, except for pork, which can contain similar levels of fat. The great thing about going for meat, is that even though they are rich in protein, they do not lack in other nutrients. Most animal meat contains appropriate amounts of carbs, fats and many vitamins & minerals.
5. So, what do you do if you are a vegetarian?
Eggs & milk are good sources of protein. Here are some food items that are rich in protein.
- Peanut Butter
- Chickpeas (Kabuli chana)
- Beans, lentils & pulses
- Soya chunks
However, only a high protein diet is not the solution, a wholesome diet consisting of reduced sodium, and high fiber & potassium is more the route to go.
6. Balancing the Nutrients
Since we are talking about reducing belly fat, and not bulking up like a gym freak, a balanced diet with other nutrients is more the way to go. Diversification of food within the low-fat food groups is another solution so that you don’t get tired of eating the same 5 items every time.
Alternate green leafy vegetables at least once a week. These provide potassium, that helps balance the bloating caused by sodium. For snacks, replace cookies with fresh fruits. Fruits often are rich in fiber and provide supplemental water for our body. A cookie on the other hand is loaded with fats & carbs.
Oats & seeds fill you up pretty quickly and staves off hunger pangs that you may have. This allows you to have extend the time between foods and prolong the consumption of calories. Then again moderation is the key here. These are also rich in fiber and consumption of too much fiber is linked to gas and stomach issues.
7. Eat foods rich in fiber, especially viscous fiber
Fiber in your diet is a great way to target a healthy abdomen. However, it does not help you slim down. It helps keep your intestines & the stomach clean, which can cause hunger pangs. (See how the cycle goes.)
Fiber has been known to help reduce weight.
According to a November 2017 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Soluble fiber supplementation,
- Reduced BMI by 0.84 (95% CI: −1.35, −0.32; P = 0.001),
- Reduced body weight by 2.52 kg (95% CI: −4.25, −0.79 kg; P = 0.004),
- Reduced body fat by 0.41% (95% CI: −0.58%, −0.24%; P < 0.001),
- Reduced fasting glucose by 0.17 mmol/L (95% CI: −0.28, −0.06 mmol/L; P = 0.002), and
- Reduced fasting insulin by 15.88 pmol/L (95% CI: −29.05, −2.71 pmol/L; P = 0.02).
Summary : There is some evidence that soluble dietary fiber can lead to reduced amounts of belly fat. This should cause major improvements in metabolic health and reduced risk of several diseases. (26) (28)
Looks like fiber is a great way to go.
8. Avoid Being Overzealous
Due to the influx of diet pills and medical procedures, people may now expect results within a week. Proper diet takes longer than a week to show results. And if you are looking to burn off the extra fat, it takes a much longer time. To reduce this time, we advise you to get started on an exercise regimen with a properly trained gym professional. Foods will get you there, but finishing the crossing line, is on you. And remember, that last bite is the toughest.