According to Harvard Health, belly fat, or visceral fat, doesn’t just make your pants feel a little too tight; it’s also a predecessor to some health conditions.
Even if you appear to be at a healthy weight in other parts of your body, if you have an excess of belly fat, your health is at risk, as per Annals of Internal Medicine.
Getting rid of belly fat can be tricky.
It can be difficult and even frustrating to try to reduce belly fat, and it’s often one of the last problem areas that people have.
However, getting rid of excess fat around the midline doesn’t have to be so difficult.
We’ve got 15 proven ways that you can reduce your belly fat and improve your overall health.
Americans eat way too much sugar.
In fact, the average American consumes 20 teaspoons of sugar per day.
In order to reduce belly fat and improve your overall health, sugar intake, even from natural sugars like honey, should be limited.
A good place to start reducing it is in your coffee.
Try reducing or eliminating the sugar from your morning coffee and you will be on your way to a smaller waist and a healthier body.
Cut Out Sugary Drinks
As we mentioned above, sugar is bad, and highly over consumed.
Chances are, you’re consuming sugar in places you don’t think about, like fruit juice.
Fruit juice, even the kind that’s unsweetened, is a super concentrated and usually packed with large amounts of sugar.
In fact, just a small cup of fruit juice can sometimes have the same amount of sugar as a can of soda.
In fact, sugary drinks may be even more harmful to you than sugary foods, studies from Journal of The American Dietetic Association say.
You can replace sugary fruit juices with water, unsweetened or herbal iced teas. You can even try mixing it with sparkling water to dilute it.
Either way, cutting out or limiting your fruit juice consumption will deliver big time results when it comes to weight loss around the midline.
“Clean up your diet by ditching the junk, fatty foods, sugars and processed foods. Drink water and green tea instead of sugary sodas and eat more complex carbs and green vegetables.” says Shantea Johnson, Owner and Lead Trainer of DHW Nutrition & Fitness.
Get More Probiotics
Probiotics help the healthy bacteria found in your gut to flourish.
They play a huge role in a healthy digestive tract, and a healthy gastrointestinal tract plays a big part in a healthy weight.
Foods high in probiotics include yogurt, keifer, kombucha and other fermented foods.
If fermented foods and yogurt aren’t for you, you can also take a probiotic supplement.
Just be sure it contains Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus amylovorus and Lactobacillus gasseri ,as they have been shown by studies (see British Journal of Nutrition, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and Journal of Functional Foods) to most effectively help to reduce belly fat.
Get Your Rest
Getting enough sleep is absolutely necessary for good health.
According to research in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who don’t get enough sleep have been shown to have higher instances of weight gain around the midline.
Not only do you need to make sure you are getting enough sleep each night, but also getting high-quality sleep.
Try turning off your cell phone, TV, and other devices in advance of bedtime so that you can start relaxing and encouraging your body to enter a restful more.
Limit Refined Carbs
The American Heart Association states that our bodies need carbohydrates for energy and they are a necessary and important part of a healthy diet.
However, all carbs are not created equal.
Refined carbs like white rice, white pasta, and white bread play a much bigger role in weight gain than their healthier, unrefined counterparts.
As the study in Mediators of Inflammation suggest, you don’t need to completely eliminate carbs from your diet to lose weight.
Just swapping out refined carbs for replacements like whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice, will get you results, according to research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Fish, especially salmon, sardines, and herring, are packed with health promoting nutrients.
Omega-3’s are not only great for reducing inflammation and promoting a healthy heart, but they have also been shown to reduce belly fat (see studies in Journal of Hepatology, and Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition).
Weight training is another key component to weight loss, as it helps you to maintain muscle mass when shedding off unwanted pounds.
So make sure to schedule in at least three days a week of resistance training, especially if you want to shrink your waistline.
Limit Alcoholic Beverages
Too much of anything can be harmful, especially alcohol.
Drinking too much alcohol can contribute to poor health in many ways.
Limiting your alcohol will help you to shrink your waistline by reducing the amount of calories and sugar that you are taking in lessen the amount of fat your body stores.
Stress kills, in more ways than one.
According to Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, not only does stress often lead to stress eating, it also triggers the your body to produce cortisol, which is also known as the “stress hormone”.
People with high cortisol levels have been shown to have larger waistlines and increased risk for many health problems.
Making an effort to reduce the amount of stress in your life can improve both your mental and physical health, increasing your chances of a longer, happier life.
Say No to Trans Fats
Contributing to unwanted belly fat is one of the many ways that trans fats are bad for your health.
People who consume trans fats have higher instances of a variety of health problems like chronic inflammation, according to studies from Obesity, American Journal of Epidemiology, and The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
If you buy processed foods, make sure that you pay close attention to the labels.
Foods like margarine, potato chips, and many sweets contain harmful trans fats that you want to avoid if you’re watching your waistline and your overall health.
Say Yes to Coconut Oil
Coconut oil offers so many amazing benefits, like being an excellent tool for weight loss.
Upon first glance, coconut oil may appear unhealthy since it seems to be loaded with fat.
However, coconut oil is made up of medium chain fatty acids, which are actually healthy for us as they have the ability to boost metabolism and reduce fat storage in the body, as research from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggest.
A 12-week study of obese men showed an average loss of 1.1 inches to the waist after taking just two tablespoons of coconut oil daily.
To reap the benefits of coconut oil, try replacing some of the current fat in your diet with fat from coconut oil so that you don’t add unnecessary calories to your diet.
Aerobic exercises like walking, running or any other form of cardio, is an important part of reducing belly fat.
Some fitness experts believe that long bouts of cardio are the most beneficial, while others believe that the most effective way to burn calories is through high intensity interval training (see studies from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Journal of Hepatology, and the International Journal of Obesity).
No matter what form of cardio you choose, it should be a staple in your plan to lose weight and reduce belly fat.
Eat More Protein
Protein is the key player in the weight loss battle, especially if you’re trying to lose belly fat.
According to The Journal of Nutrition, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, and Cell Metabolism, increasing your protein intake helps you to lose weight by helping you to feel fuller longer, reducing the amount of food you eat.
Be sure to eat protein, but make sure it’s high-quality sources like chicken, fish, nuts, and whey.
Protein also helps you to maintain your muscle mass when you lose large amounts of weight.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you might want to think about increasing your protein intake.
The general guideline for protein consumption is .8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, SFGate writes.
Make sure you have a good protein source at every meal, and sometimes even as a snack.
“I love a cup of plain organic Balkan-style yogurt with fresh berries, a tablespoon of ground flax or chia seeds, and a touch of pure maple syrup. It’s quick and easy, and I can enjoy it on the go. Plus, it’s a great way to get additional calcium, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and fiber.” states, Denise Garbinski, MBA, RDN, IFNCP of Botanical Nutrition Therapy.
Try Apple Cider Vinegar
Drinking apple cider vinegar is an old remedy that has gained a lot of popularity lately, and for a good reason.
Among its many health benefits, its been shown to help reduce belly fat, say studies from Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, and Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.
Apple cider vinegar gets its claim to fame from its concentration of acetic acid and promotes good health in numerous ways.
Taking just 1-2 tablespoons per day can potentially help you to reduce your waistline.
You can take it alone or mix it with a little bit of water and lemon.
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Get Your Fiber
Soluble fiber is the key component of belly fat loss.
Foods like pears, apples, broccoli and other fruits and vegetables can help to slow the passage of food through the digestive tract.
Several studies in the Journal of Nutrition and Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition have shown that eating soluble fiber can help you feel fuller and reduces the amounts of calories you absorb from your food.
15 Tips to Shed Belly Fat Questions & Answers
Shedding belly fat fast requires a comprehensive approach to diet and exercise. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Eat healthier foods: Eating whole grain complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats can help your body burn more fat and reduce bloating.
- Cut out sugar and processed/refined foods: Eliminating sugar from your diet can help reduce the amount of fat stored in your abdominal area.
- Increase your physical activity: Increasing the intensity of your workouts or taking part in regular cardio activities like jogging or cycling can help burn more calories and aid weight loss.
- Try high-intensity interval training (HIIT): HIIT workouts involve short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest. This type of workout has been shown to be more effective for burning belly fat than traditional aerobic exercises.
Summer Banks has researched over 5000 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. Previously, she managed 15 supplement brands, worked with professionals in the weight loss industry and completed coursework in nutrition at Stanford University.