Losing abdominal fat, or belly fat, is a common weight loss goal.
Abdominal fat is a particularly harmful type. Research suggests strong links with diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease
For this reason, losing this fat can have significant benefits for your health and well-being.
You can measure your abdominal fat by measuring the circumference around your waist with a tape measure. Measures of above 40 inches (102 cm) in men and 35 inches (88 cm) in women are known as abdominal obesity.
Certain weight loss strategies can target the fat in the belly area more than other areas of the body.
Here are 5 scientifically proven ways to lose belly fat
1. Avoid sugar, and sweetened drinks
Foods with added sugars are bad for your health. Eating a lot of these types of food can cause weight gain.
Studies show that added sugar has uniquely harmful effects on metabolic health
Numerous studies have indicated that excess sugar, mostly due to the large amounts of fructose, can lead to fat building up around your abdomen and liver.
Sugar is half glucose and half fructose. When you eat a lot of added sugar, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and is forced to turn it into fat.
Some believe that this is the main process behind sugar’s harmful effects on health. 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 sugar-sweetened beverages, you end up eating more total calories.
A study observed that children were 60% more likely to develop obesity with each additional daily serving of sugar-sweetened beverages.
Try minimizing the amount of sugar in your diet and consider completely eliminating sugary drinks. 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 sugars. Even foods marketed as health foods can contain significant amounts of sugar.
Keep in mind that none of this applies to whole fruit, which are extremely healthy and have plenty of fiber that mitigates the negative effects of fructose.
Excess sugar consumption may be the primary driver of excess fat in the abdomen and liver. This is particularly true of sugary beverages like soft drinks.
2. Reduce carbohydrates intake
Reducing carbs intake is also a important factor in losing belly fat.
This is supported by numerous studies. When people cut carbs, their appetite goes down and they lose weight.
This is true even when those 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 carbs diet also lead to quick reduction in water weight, which gives people fast results. People often see a difference on the scale within 1–2 days.
Studies comparing low carbs and low fat diet indicate that low carbs eating specifically reduces fat in the abdomen and around the organs and liver.
This means that some of the fat lost on a low carbs diet is harmful abdominal fat.
Just avoiding the refined carbs — like sugar, candy, and white bread — should be sufficient, especially if you keep your protein intake high.
If the goal is to lose weight fast, some people reduce their carbs intake to 50 grams per day. This puts your body into ketosis, a state in which your body starts burning fats as its main fuel and appetite is reduced.
Low carbs diet have many other health benefits besides just weight loss. For example, they can significantly improve health in people with type 2 diabetics.
Studies have shown that cutting carbs is particularly effective at getting rid of the fat in the belly area, around the organs, and in the liver.
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3. Eat high fiber foods
Dietary fiber is mostly indigestible plant matter.
Eating plenty of fiber can help you with weight loss. However, the type of fiber is important.
It appears that mostly the soluble and viscous fibers have an effect on your weight. These are fibers that bind water and form a thick gel that “sits” in your gut.
This gel can dramatically slow the movement of food through your digestive system. It can also slow down the digestion and absorption of nutrients. The end result is a prolonged feeling of fullness and reduced appetite.
One review study found that an additional 14 grams of fiber per day were linked to a 10% decrease in calorie intake and weight loss of around 4.5 pounds (2 kg) over 4 months.
One 5-year study reported that eating 10 grams of soluble fiber per day was linked to a 3.7% reduction in the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.
This implies that soluble fiber may be particularly effective at reducing harmful belly fat.
The best way to get more fiber is to eat a lot of plant foods, including vegetables and fruit.
Legumes are also a good source, as well as some cereals, such as whole oats.
You can also try taking a fiber supplement like glucomannan. This is one of the most viscous dietary fibers, and studies suggest it can help with weight loss.
It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before introducing this or any supplement to your dietary regimen.
There’s some evidence that soluble dietary fiber can lead to reduced amounts of belly fat. This should cause major improvements in metabolic health and reduce the risk of certain diseases.
4. Regular Exercise
Exercise is among the best things you can do to increase your chances of living a long, healthy life and avoiding disease.
Helping to reduce abdominal fat is among the amazing benefits of exercise.
This doesn’t mean doing abdominal exercises, as spot reduction — losing fat in one spot — is not possible. In one study, 6 weeks of training just the abdominal muscles had no measurable effect on waist circumference or the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.
Weight training and cardiovascular exercise will reduce fat across the body.
Aerobic exercise — like walking, running, and swimming — can allow major reductions in abdominal fat.
Another study found that exercise completely prevented people from regaining abdominal fat after weight loss, implying that exercise is particularly important during weight maintenance.
Exercise also leads to reduced inflammation, lower blood sugar levels, and improvements in other metabolic problems associated with excess abdominal fat.
Exercise can be very effective for reducing abdominal fat and providing many other health benefits.
5. Keep track on your food intake
Most people know that what you eat is important, but many don’t know specifically what they’re eating.
A person might think they’re eating a high protein or low carb diet, but without keeping track, it’s easy to overestimate or underestimate food intake.
Tracking food intake doesn’t mean you need to weigh and measure everything you eat. Tracking intake every now and then for a few days in a row can help you realize the most important areas for change.
Planning ahead can help you achieve specific goals, such as boosting your protein intake to 25–30% of calories or cutting down on unhealthy carbs.