Best Scientifically Proven To Shed Belly Fat
Do you consider belly fat just a cosmetic problem?
Well, it’s not. Having your abdominal area filled with lots of fat is scientifically linked to several diseases such as ischemic heart disease and diabetes. (1)
Therefore, losing belly fat has enormous benefits for your physical as well as psychological health.
Following are six evidence-based strategies to lose belly fat by suppressing appetite, boosting metabolism and increasing caloric burnout.
They will also help prevent future health complications.
Estimation of belly fat is usually done by measuring the circumference around your waist with the help of a measuring tape.
A waist measurement above 88 cm (35 inches) in women and 102 cm (40 inches) in men is considered as abdominal obesity.
Even if you are not heavy overall – belly measurements above the standard limit must be taken seriously. You should consider taking some simple steps to reduce belly fat.
Luckily, some proven ways have been shown to specifically target the belly fat more than other areas of the body.
1. Lessen Sugar Consumption And Avoid Sugar-Laden Beverages
Added sugar and sugar-sweetened drinks are very unhealthy.
Numerous studies and clinical trials show that consuming sugar or sugar-filled diets have harmful effects on your health. (2)
Sugar is a combination of half fructose and half glucose. Unlike glucose, only the liver can only metabolize sugar in significant amounts. (3)
The liver gets overloaded with fructose when you eat a lot of added sugar. As a result, it forcefully turns it into fat. (4)
Many studies have shown that excess fructose intake (in the form of sugar) can result in the buildup of unhealthy fat in the liver and the belly. (5)
Some dietitians and nutritionists believe that failed liver metabolism is the primary mechanism behind the harmful effects of sugar on your health. It builds liver fat and belly fat, which can lead to insulin resistance (type 2 diabetes) and several other metabolic problems such as liver cirrhosis.(6)
Liquid sugar (the type you find in sweetened-drinks and carbonated beverages) is even dangerous in this regard. It contains liquid calories that are not “registered” the same way by the brain as solid calories. Consequently, drinking sugar-sweetened drinks result in consuming more total calories. (7,8)
According to a study, there is a 60% increased risk of obesity in children who consume sugar-sweetened beverages than others who consume solid calories. (9)
Therefore, you should consider minimizing the amount of sugar (both solid and liquid) in your diet.
This may include fruit juices, sugar-sweetened beverages, high-sugar sports drinks, and carbonated sodas.
However, this doesn’t apply to whole fruits. Most of them are incredibly healthy and packed full of fiber that decreases the harmful effects of fructose in sugar.
Related: Superfoods To Boost A Healthy Diet
The amount of substantial calories you get from whole fruits is very less compared to the calories you get from a sugar-laden diet.
Reading labels is a simple and effective way to cut back on refined sugar. Even foods sold as “health foods” or “low sugar” food can contain large amounts of added sugar.
- Excess consumption of sugar (either in the form of solid or liquid calories) may be the principal driver behind the accumulation of excess fat in the liver and belly. Taking steps to reduce sugar intake can be a good start towards losing belly fat.
2. Eating More Protein To Reduce Belly Fat
Protein is one of the best weight-loss friendly foods when it comes to dropping weight.
If shedding those extra belly fat is your goal, adding protein from healthy sources is perhaps the most valuable modification you can make to your regular diet. (14)
Not only will it help you lose extra weight but also avoid re-accumulation of fats if you ever choose to quit your weight loss efforts.
Some studies also show that protein is especially effective against belly fat.
According to a recent study, the quality and amount of protein a person consumes is inversely related to the collection of fat in the belly. Means that, the more and better protein you eat, the less will be the build-up of belly fat. (15)
Another study revealed that eating quality protein can markedly reduced risk of belly fat gain over five years. (16)
A majority of the studies demonstrating protein to be effective had this macronutrient at 30–35% of calories.
That’s the amount you should aim for. The best sources of high-quality protein foods include whole eggs, seafood, fish, meat, dairy products, legumes, and nuts.
Some people struggle very hard with getting enough protein in their diet. If you are amongst them, then the convenient and healthy way to boost your protein intake is a quality protein supplement (like whey protein).
Amazon is one of the best places to buy healthy protein powders.
- Protein has the properties to reduce hunger levels and boost your metabolism. It makes this macronutrient a healthy way to drop weight.
3. Cut Carbs From Your Diet
Restricting carb intake is one of the effective ways to lose fat.
Numerous studies supported this claim. According to a recent study, when cutting carbs can reduce appetite and may lead to weight loss. (19)
This means that fat lost on a low-carb diet is the unhealthy and disease-promoting belly fat.
In many cases, avoiding refined carbs (candy, sugar, white bread, etc.) is sufficient. However, you have to keep your protein intake high.
If you want quick weight loss, consider dropping your carb intake down to 50-60 grams per day. This small amount of carbohydrates will put your body into ketosis, a process by which your body starts consuming ketones for energy production instead of glucose.
Ketosis will not only kill your appetite but also boost metabolism and makes your body start consuming primarily fats for fuel.
Besides just weight loss, low-carb diets have many other health benefits. For instance, they are easy to digest and can play a life-saving role in many metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes. (25)
- Many studies and clinical trials have shown that lowering carb intake is effective at losing fat in the belly area, in the liver, and around the organs.
4. Eat Foods Rich In Fiber
Dietary fiber is one of the best metabolism boosting foods to lose weight.
It not digestible by humans as we don’t have fiber-digesting enzymes.
This indigestible plant matter is often claimed to help weight loss.
This is true. However, not all fiber is created equal. Many studies have demonstrated that mostly the viscous and soluble fibers affect your weight. (26)
Soluble fiber can bind water molecules to form a thick gel.
This gel “sits” in the gut and can dramatically slow down the digestion and absorption of nutrients by reducing the movement of food through your digestive system. Consequently, it results in reduced appetite and a prolonged feeling of fullness. (27)
According to new animal-based study, an additional 14 grams of fiber per day (mainly the soluble fiber) can lead to a 10% decrease in calorie intake. Calorie restriction can further result in a weight loss of 4.5 lbs (2 kg) over several months. (28)
Another 5-year study shows that eating an extra 10 grams of soluble fiber per day can lead to a 3.7% reduction in the amount of belly fat. (29)
It signifies the importance of soluble fiber that how effective it is at reducing the harmful belly fat.
Eating a lot of plant foods like fruit and vegetables is one of the best ways to get more fiber. Other fiber-rich foods such as legumes and cereals like whole oats are also a good source.
- Soluble and viscous dietary fibers can lead to appetite suppression and reduced amounts of belly fat. Diet rich in fiber is also essential in improving gut health and reducing the risk of several metabolic diseases.
5. Exercise To Reduce Belly Fat
Physical activity and an active lifestyle are vital for multiple reasons.
Exercise is among the most significant things you can do for your body. It will help you avoid diseases and live a long, healthy life.
This article is concise to list all of the fantastic health benefits of exercise, but it does appear to be effective at boosting metabolism and reducing belly fat.
Here, I’m not talking about core exercises that specifically target abdominal muscles.
A term spot reduction describe specific abdominal exercises that may help lose fat in one spot. However, it is not possible, and doing countless sets of ab exercises will not help you shed those extra belly pounds.
A six weeks long study showed that exercising just the abdominal muscles have no significant effect on the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity or the waist circumference. (32)
Alternatively, general exercises that target the whole body or various group of muscles can be beneficial.
A recent human-based study found that exercise prevented people from re-gaining fat after weight loss. It also implies that any strenuous physical activity is important during weight maintenance.
Besides these weight loss benefits, exercise also leads to lower blood sugar levels, reduced inflammation, and marked improvements in all metabolic abnormalities associated with excess abdominal fat. (36)
- Healthy diet and exercise is the key when it comes to losing belly fat. Aerobic exercises, in particular, can help stimulate metabolism and burn more calories – leading to weight loss.
6. Track Your Calories
Pretty much everyone knows what and how much they eat.
However, a majority of people don’t have a clue about what they are really feeding their body.
People think they are eating “low-carb,” “high protein” diet or something else, but many tend to under- or above-estimate drastically.
I think that tracking things for a while is essential for anyone who truly wants to optimize their diet.
I’m not saying that you need to weigh everything for the rest of your life. However, doing it now and then for a few days or weeks can help you recognize where you need to make necessary dietary changes.
Just eating more protein-rich foods won’t be enough if you want to increase your protein intake to 25–30% of calories. You need to calculate and fine-tune to reach that goal.
You can measure calories in your diet by using a calorie calculator. There is also a list of free calorie-tracking apps and online tools to keep a record of what you are eating.
I also calculate calories every few weeks to see what my current diet plan looks like. This helps me understand exactly where to make dietary adjustments to get closer to my fitness goals.
- Keep a track record of what and how many calories you are consuming per day. You can use the Nutrition Facts label or a food or diet app to get the exact number of calories in every food you eat.