Lose Belly fat is more than a nuisance that makes your clothes feel tight. Major risk factors for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions. Many health organizations use body mass index (BMI) to classify weight and predict metabolic disease risk. However, this is misleading, as people with excess belly fat are at an increased risk even if they look thin. Though losing fat from this area can be difficult, there are several things you can do to reduce excess abdominal fat.
It’s impossible to target lose belly fat specifically when you diet. But losing weight overall will help shrink your waistline; more importantly, it will help reduce the dangerous layer of visceral fat, a type of fat within the abdominal cavity that you can’t see but heightens health risks.
Eat a High-Protein Diet
Protein is an extremely important nutrient for weight management. High protein intake increases the release of the fullness hormone PYY, which decreases appetite and promotes fullness. Protein also raises your metabolic rate and helps you to retain muscle mass during weight loss.
Many observational studies show that people who eat more protein tend to have less abdominal fat than those who eat a lower-protein diet
Be sure to include a good protein source at every meal, such as:
- Whey protein
Don’t Drink too much Alcohol
Alcohol can have health benefits in small amounts, but it’s seriously harmful if you drink too much. Research suggests that too much alcohol can also make you gain belly fat. Observational studies link heavy alcohol consumption to a significantly increased risk of developing central obesity, that is, excess fat storage around the waist.
Cutting back on alcohol may help reduce your waist size. You don’t need to give it up altogether, but limiting your drinking amount to a single day can help. One study on alcohol use involved more than 2,000 people. Results showed those who drank alcohol daily but averaged less than one drink per day had less belly fat than those who drank less frequently but consumed more alcohol on the days they drank.
Stop Drinking Fruit Juice
Although fruit juice provides vitamins and minerals, it’s just as high in sugar as soda and other sweetened beverages. Drinking large amounts may carry the same risk for abdominal fat gain.
An 8-ounce (240-mL) serving of unsweetened apple juice contains 24 grams of sugar, half of which is fructose (58). To help reduce excess belly fat, replace fruit juice with water, unsweetened iced tea, or sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime.
Cut back on Carbs
Reducing your carb intake can be very beneficial for losing fat, including abdominal fat. Diets under 50 grams of carbs per day cause belly fat loss in overweight people, those at risk for type 2 diabetes, and women with polycystic ovary syndrome. You don’t have to follow a strict low-carb diet. Some research suggests that replacing refined carbs with unprocessed starchy carbs may improve metabolic health and reduce belly fat.
In the famous Framingham Heart Study, people with the highest consumption of whole grains were 17% less likely to have excess abdominal fat than those who consumed diets high in refined grains.
Eat Plenty of Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system. Studies show that this fiber promotes weight loss by helping you feel full, so you naturally eat less. It may also decrease the number of calories your body absorbs from food. What’s more, soluble fiber may help fight belly fat.
An observational study of over 1,100 adults found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake, belly fat gain decreased by 3.7% over 5 years. Make an effort to consume high-fiber foods every day. Excellent sources of soluble fiber include:
- flax seeds
- shirataki noodles
- Brussels sprouts
Get Plenty of Restful Sleep
Sleep is important for many aspects of your health, including weight. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain more weight, including belly fat. A 16-year study involving more than 68,000 women found that those who slept less than 5 hours per night were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who slept 7 hours or more per night.
The condition known as sleep apnea, where breathing stops intermittently during the night, has also been linked to excess visceral fat. In addition to sleeping at least 7 hours per night, make sure you’re getting sufficient quality sleep.
If you suspect you may have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, speak to a doctor and get treated.
Eat Fatty Fish every Week
Fatty fish are incredibly healthy. They’re rich in high-quality protein and omega-3 fats that protect you from disease. Some evidence suggests that these omega-3 fats may also help reduce visceral fat. Studies in adults and children with fatty liver disease show that fish oil supplements can significantly reduce liver and abdominal fat.
Aim to get 2–3 servings of fatty fish per week. Good choices include:
Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has recently become very popular as a weight loss method. It’s an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and periods of fasting.
One popular method involves 24-hour fasts once or twice a week. Another consists of fasting every day for 16 hours and eating all your food within 8 hours. In a review of studies on intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting, people experienced a 4–7% decrease
in abdominal fat within 6–24 weeks. There’s some evidence that intermittent fasting, and fasting in general, may not be as beneficial for women as for men. Although certain modified intermittent fasting methods appear to be better options, stop fasting immediately if you experience any negative effects.
Read more about Weight Lose Motivations here.