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. For this reason, losing belly fat has massive benefits for your health and can help you live longer.
Belly fat is usually estimated by measuring the circumference around your waist. This can easily be done at home with a simple tape measure.
Anything above 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women is known as abdominal obesity.
If you have a lot of excess fat around your waistline, then you should take some steps to get rid of it even if you're not very heavy overall.
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.
Here are 5 evidence-based ways to lose belly fat:
1. Don't eat sugar and avoid sugar-sweetened drinks
Added sugar is very unhealthy. Studies show that it has uniquely harmful effects on metabolic health.
Sugar is half glucose, half fructose, and fructose can only be metabolized by the liver in significant amounts. When you eat a lot of added sugar, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and is forced to turn it into fat. Numerous studies have shown that excess sugar, mostly due to the large amounts of fructose, can lead to increased accumulation of fat in the belly and liver. Some believe that this is the primary mechanism behind sugar's harmful effects on health. It increases belly fat and liver fat, which leads to insulin resistance and a host of metabolic problems.
Excess sugar consumption may be the primary driver of excess fat in the belly and liver. This is particularly true of sugary beverages like soft drinks.
2. 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. It has been shown to 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, then adding protein is perhaps the single most effective change you can make to your diet. Not only will it help you lose, but it also helps you avoid re-gaining weight if you ever decide to abandon your weight loss efforts.
So make an effort to increase your intake of high-protein foods such as whole eggs, fish, seafood, legumes, nuts, meat, and dairy products. These are the best protein sources in the diet.
Eating plenty of protein can boost your metabolism and reduce hunger levels, making it a very effective way to lose weight. Several studies suggest that protein is particularly effective against belly fat accumulation.
3. Cut carbs from your diet
Carb restriction is a very effective way to lose fat. This is supported by numerous studies. When people cut carbs, their appetite goes down and they lose weight. Over 20 randomized controlled trials have now shown that low-carb diets lead to 2–3 times more weight loss than low-fat diets.
This is true even when the low-carb groups are allowed to eat as much as they want, while the low-fat groups are calorie restricted and hungry. Low-carb diets also lead to quick reductions in water weight, which gives people near-instant results. A difference on the scale is often seen within 1–2 days.
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.
4. Eat foods rich in fiber, especially viscous fiber
Dietary fiber is mostly indigestible plant matter.
It is often claimed that eating plenty of fiber can help with weight loss.
This is true, but it's important to keep in mind that not all fiber is created equal. It seems to be mostly the soluble and viscous fibers that have an effect on your weight. These are fibers that bind water and form a thick gel that "sits" in the gut. This gel can dramatically slow the movement of food through your digestive system, and slow down the digestion and absorption of nutrients. The end result is a prolonged feeling of fullness and reduced appetite.
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.
5. Exercise is very effective at reducing belly fat
Exercise is important for various reasons.
It is among the best things you can do if you want to live a long, healthy life and avoid disease. Listing all of the amazing health benefits of exercise is beyond the scope of this article, but exercise does appear to be effective at reducing belly fat.
Exercise also leads to reduced inflammation, lower blood sugar levels and improvements in all the other metabolic abnormalities that are associated with excess abdominal fat.
Exercise can be very effective if you are trying to lose belly fat. Exercise also has a number of other health benefits and can help you live a longer life.