Belly fat is more than a cosmetic nuisance.
It is seriously harmful.
This type of fat — called visceral fat — is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions .
Many health organizations use body mass index (BMI) to classify weight and predict the risk of metabolic disease.
However, this is misleading because people with excess abdominal fat are at increased risk even if they look thin .
Although losing fat in this area can be difficult, there are several steps you can take to reduce excess belly fat .
Here are 20 effective tips for losing belly fat , backed by scientific studies.
Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow food down as it passes through your digestive system.
Studies show that this type of fiber promotes weight loss by helping you feel fuller, so you naturally eat less. It can also decrease the number of calories your body absorbs from food .
Additionally, soluble fiber can help fight belly fat .
An observational study in over 1100 adults found that for every 10 gram increase in soluble fiber intake, abdominal fat gain decreased by 3.7% over a 5-year period .
Make an effort to eat fiber-rich foods daily. The excellent sources of soluble fiber include:
- Shirataki noodles
- Brussels sprouts
Trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats, like soybean oil.
They are found in some margarine and spreads and are also often added to packaged foods, but many food producers have stopped using them.
These fats have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance, and abdominal fat gain in observational and animal studies .
A 6-year study found that monkeys that ate a diet high in trans fats gained 33% more belly fat than those that ate a diet high in monounsaturated fats .
To help reduce belly fat and protect your health, read carefully the ingredient labels and stay away from products that contain trans fats. These are often listed as partially hydrogenated fats.
The alcohol may have health benefits in small amounts, but it is 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 down on alcohol can help reduce your waistline . You don't have to give it up completely, but limiting how much you drink in a single day can help.
A study on alcohol consumption involved more than 2,000 people.
The results showed that 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 .
Protein is an extremely important nutrient for weight management .
A high protein intake increases the release of the satiety hormone PYY, which decreases appetite and promotes satiety.
Protein also increases your metabolic rate and helps you maintain muscle mass during weight loss .
Many observational studies show that people who eat more protein tend to have less belly fat than those who eat less protein .
Be sure to include a good source of protein at each meal, such as:
- Dairy products
- whey protein
To follow a high protein diet, click here .
Stress can cause you to gain belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.
Research shows that high cortisol levels increase appetite and stimulate abdominal fat storage .
Additionally, women who are already large in size tend to produce more cortisol in response to stress . The increase in cortisol further adds to the fat gain around the middle .
To help reduce belly fat , engage in enjoyable activities that relieve stress. Practicing yoga or meditation can be an effective method.
Sugar contains fructose, which has been linked to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess.
These include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver disease .
Observational studies show a relationship between high sugar intake and an increase in abdominal fat .
It's important to realize that more than just refined sugar can lead to belly fat gain . Even healthier sugars, like real honey , should be used sparingly.
Aerobic (cardio) exercise is an effective way to improve your health and burn calories .
Studies also show that it is one of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing belly fat . However, results are mixed on whether moderate- or high-intensity exercise is more beneficial .
In any case, the frequency and duration of your exercise program is more important than its intensity.
One study found that postmenopausal women lost more fat across all areas when they exercised aerobically for 300 minutes per week, compared to those who exercised for 150 minutes per week .
Reducing your carb intake can be very beneficial for losing fat , including belly fat.
Diets containing less than 50 grams of carbs per day cause abdominal fat loss in overweight people, those at risk for type 2 diabetes, and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) .
You don't have to follow a strict low-carb diet . Some research suggests that simply replacing carbs refined by carbs Unprocessed starches can improve metabolic health and reduce belly fat .
In the famous Framingham Heart Study, people with the highest intake of whole grains were 17% less likely to have excess belly fat than those who ate diets high in refined grains .
To follow a low carbohydrate diet, click here .
Coconut oil is one of healthiest fats you can eat.
Studies show that the fats at medium chain in coconut oil can boost metabolism and decrease the amount of fat you store in response to high calorie intake .
Controlled studies suggest that it may also lead to abdominal fat loss .
In one study, obese men who took coconut oil daily for 12 weeks lost an average of 2.86 cm from their height without intentionally changing their diet or exercise routines .
However, the evidence for the benefits of coconut oil for abdominal fat loss is weak and controversial .
Also, remember that coconut oil is high in calories . Instead of adding extra fat to your nutrition , replace some of the fats you already eat with coconut oil.
Resistance training , also known as weightlifting or strength training , is important for preserving and gaining muscle mass .
Based on studies involving people with prediabetes , type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease, resistance training may also be beneficial for abdominal fat loss .
In fact, a study of overweight teenagers showed that a combination of strength training and aerobic exercise caused the greatest decrease in visceral fat .
If you decide to start lifting weights, it's a good idea to seek advice from a certified personal trainer.
sugary drinks are loaded with liquid fructose, which can make you gain belly fat easily .
Studies show that sugary drinks cause increased fat in the liver. A 10-week study found significant abdominal fat gain in people who consumed high-fructose drinks .
Sugary drinks seem to be even worse than high sugar foods.
Since your brain doesn't process liquid calories the same way it does solids, you'll likely end up consuming too many calories later on and storing them as fat .
To lose belly fat, it is best to completely avoid sugary drinks such as:
- sweet tea
- Alcoholic mixtures containing sugar
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, which can include belly fat .
A 16-year study of 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 or more hours 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 getting at least 7 hours of sleep per night, make sure you have sufficient quality sleep .
If you think you have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, talk to a doctor and seek treatment.
Many things can help you lose weight and belly fat , but eating fewer calories than your body needs to maintain weight is essential .
Keeping a food diary or using an online tracker or app can help you monitor your calorie intake. This strategy has been shown to be beneficial for weight loss .
Plus, food trackers help you see your protein, carb, fiber, and micronutrient intake. Many also allow you to log your exercises and physical activity.
Oily fish are incredibly healthy .
They are rich in high quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids that protect you from diseases ).
Some evidence suggests that these omega-3 fatty acids 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 oily fish per week. Good choices include:
Although the fruit juice provides vitamins and minerals, it is just as high in sugar as soda and other sugary drinks.
Drinking large amounts can lead to the same risk of belly fat gain .
A 240 ml serving of unsweetened apple juice contains 24 grams of sugar, half of which is fructose .
To help reduce excess belly fat , replace fruit juice with water, unsweetened iced tea, or sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime.
Apple cider vinegar has impressive health benefits , especially by lowering blood sugar .
It contains acetic acid, which has been shown to reduce abdominal fat storage in several animal studies .
In a 12-week controlled study in men with obesity, those who took 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of apple cider vinegar daily lost 1.4 cm from their waistline .
Taking 1-2 tablespoons (15-30ml) of apple cider vinegar daily is safe for most people and may result in modest fat loss .
However, be sure to dilute it with water, as undiluted vinegar can erode your tooth enamel.
Probiotics are bacteria found in certain foods and supplements. They have many health benefits, including helping to improve gut health and boost immune function .
Researchers have found that different types of bacteria play a role in weight regulation and that getting the balance right can help with weight loss , including belly fat loss .
Those that reduce belly fat include members of the family of Lactobacillus , such as Lactobacillus fermentum , Lactobacillus amylovorus and especially Lactobacillus gasseri .
Probiotic supplements typically contain multiple types of bacteria, so be sure to purchase one that provides one or more of these bacterial strains.
Intermittent fasting has recently become very popular as very effective method of weight loss .
It is an eating pattern that alternates between eating periods and fasting periods .
A popular method involves 24-hour fasts once or twice a week. Another is to fast every day for 16 hours and eat 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 belly fat over 6–24 weeks .
Although some modified intermittent fasting methods seem like better options, stop fasting immediately if you experience any negative effects.
To follow an intermittent fasting nutritional plan , click here .
Green tea is a exceptionally healthy drink .
It contains caffeine and the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), both of which appear to boost metabolism .
EGCG is a catechin that has been shown in several studies to help you lose belly fat . The effect may be enhanced when green tea consumption is combined with exercise .
Simply doing any of the items on this list will have no effect on its own.
If you want good results, you have to combine different methods that have proven to be effective.
Interestingly, many of these methods are usually associated with healthy food and an overall healthy lifestyle.
Therefore, changing your lifestyle in the long term is the key to losing your belly fat and keeping it off.
When you have good habits and eat healthy , fat loss tends to follow as a natural side effect.
To follow a nutritional rebalancing plan , click here .
There is no magic solution for lose belly fat .
Weight loss always requires some effort, commitment and perseverance on your behalf.
Successfully adopting some or all of the lifestyle strategies and goals discussed in this article will definitely help you shed the extra pounds around your waist.