6 Simple Ways to Lose Belly Fat, Based on Science - 4 minutes read
The most optimal way to lose belly fat is to eat healthfully and exercise regularly. It can also help to write down what you eat daily to help you stay on track.
Losing abdominal fat, or belly fat, is a common weight loss goal. Fat has various functions in your body, including energy storage and hormone regulation. Having some body fat is healthy.
There are two main types of fat in the abdomen. Subcutaneous fat is the type that’s located just below your skin. This fat is stored all over your body, including the midsection.
The other type of fat in your abdominal area is called visceral fat. This fat is located deeper in your body, where it cushions the organs in your abdomen. Research has linked high amounts of this fat with conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease
You can estimate 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
It’s a popular myth that certain weight loss strategies can target visceral fat or abdominal fat. Currently, there’s no proven way to “spot reduce” fat in particular areas through diet or exercise
Both weight gain and weight loss tend to happen across your whole body, but the specific areas you’ll notice changing first vary from person to person. Your unique pattern is likely influenced by your genes.
If you’re aiming to lose belly fat, healthy weight loss strategies are your best bet. Here are 6 evidence-based ways to lose fat, including abdominal fat.
1. Limit sugar and sugar-sweetened drinks
A diet high in added sugars may lead to excess abdominal fat.
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
2. Eat more protein
Protein may be the most important macronutrient for weight loss.
Research shows it can reduce cravings by 60%, boost metabolism by 80–100 calories per day, and help you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day
If weight loss is your goal, adding protein may be among the most effective changes you can make to your diet.
Not only can protein help you to lose weight, but it may also help you to avoid regaining weight
3. Consider a low carb diet
Following a very low carb or ketogenic diet can be an effective way to lose fat. However, these diets come with some potential risks, so they are not appropriate for everyone.
If the goal is to lose weight fast, some people reduce their carb intake to 50 grams per day, which is dramatically lower than the carb content of a typical U.S. diet. This puts your body into ketosis, a state in which your body starts burning fats as its main fuel
When people cut out carbs, their appetite typically goes down and they lose weight
More than 20 randomized controlled studies have now shown that very low carb diets sometimes lead to 2–3 times more weight loss than low fat diets
4. Eat fiber-rich foods
Dietary fiber is mostly indigestible plant matter.
Eating plenty of fiber can help 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
5. Exercise regularly
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 health 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 region
There are no magic solutions to losing belly fat.
Weight loss always requires some effort, commitment, and perseverance.
Adopting some or all of the strategies and lifestyle goals discussed in this article may help you lose belly fat and improve overall health.