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Conquering Belly Fats
Healthy Options

Maybe you want to wear a figure-hugging dress to an upcoming event. Maybe your pants are feeling snug. Or maybe one too many people have asked you if you’re pregnant. While your desire to reduce belly fat may have something to do with your appearance, studies have shown that excess abdominal fat is linked to health problems such as diabetes or heart disease. So the sooner you whittle your waist, the better for your health.


Tips to Reduce Belly Fat

There are many science-backed ways to help you lose some excess fat around your middle. While picking one way can have some effect, the best way to reduce belly fat is through a change in lifestyle. This means you may want to consider a combination of the following tips:

Cut back on carbs. Carbohydrates are macronutrients that mainly come from sugar, starch, and cellulose (plants). While a couple of decades ago, low-fat diets were believed to reduce fat, controlled trials have found that low-carb diets are two to three times more effective than low-fat diets. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed a low-carb diet reduced abdominal fat and concluded, “A modest reduction in dietary carbohydrate has beneficial effects on body composition, fat distribution, and glucose metabolism.” Additionally, cutting back on carbs can get rid of some water weight (i.e., bloating), which means even a couple of days off carbs can already produce results. Avoid refined carbs like white rice, white bread, pastries, and other sweets.

Ditch sugary drinks. What’s worse than sugar-packed food? Sugar-packed drinks, especially those sweetened by fructose (the sugar that gets stored in your body; glucose is primarily what your body burns off). Your brain doesn’t process sugary drinks the way it processes sugary food (or any food for that matter), so you end up eating more on top of the calorie bombs. One study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that consuming drinks with fructose increased test subjects’ visceral fat (or the fat around their middle). 

Increase protein intake. A study published in Nutrition & Metabolism indicated that the intake of quality protein was inversely related to abdominal fat. A great source of protein is fatty fish. They give you a protein boost without the saturated fat that you get from red meat. Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are good choices.

Do the right kind of exercise. When it comes to exercise, there really is no such thing as spot reduction. This means you can do 500 sit-ups a day and still not reduce belly fat. What you can do is increase your aerobic exercise, a.k.a. cardio. There are conflicting studies when it comes to the best type of cardio—whether moderate-intensity or high-intensity—but the point is you have to get moving. Aim for 300 minutes a week, which a study on postmenopausal women has shown is more effective than 150 minutes a week.

Eat fiber-rich food. A five-year study suggested that consuming foods rich in soluble fiber decreased belly fat gains. Some sources of soluble fiber are legumes, nuts, psyllium, and barley.

Don’t overdo the alcohol. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that heavy consumption of alcohol was associated with more belly fat. Another study found that having less than a drink a day is better for your belly than drinking bigger amounts less frequently.

Get enough sleep. A 16-year study tracked over 68,000 women and found that those who got at least seven hours of sleep a night gained less weight over time than those who got five hours or less of sleep. The study didn’t particularly pinpoint how lack of sleep leads to weight gain, but the message is clear: Get some sleep!

Try a supplement. Sometimes you need some extra health. Some supplements you might want to consider adding to your diet: Probiotics (particularly lactobacillus), with one controlled trial showing lactobacillus had “lowering effects on abdominal adiposity”; MCT, or medium-chain triglycerides, oil; and linoleic acid. Conjugated linoleic acid is a good kind of fat. In a randomized controlled trial, supplementation of linoleic acid for four weeks seemed to demonstrate a decrease in abdominal fat in obese men. More studies need to be done for more conclusive results, but this is encouraging. Good sources of linoleic acid include vegetable oils, seeds, nuts, and meat from grazing animals.








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Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified healthcare provider with any questions or concerns about your health. Check with your doctor before beginning any nutrition or exercise program. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have heard or read in this article or the internet.

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