Fat inside the belly area is also termed visceral fat, and it is seriously harmful.This type of fat is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.People with excess belly fat are at an increased risk, even if they look thin on the outside.
1. Eat Plenty of Soluble Fiber- Studies show this type of fiber promotes weight loss by helping you feel full so you naturally eat less. It may also decrease the amount of calories your body absorbs from food. Excellent sources of soluble fiber include flaxseeds, shirataki noodles, Brussels sprouts, avocados, legumes and blackberries
2. Avoid Foods That Contain Trans Fats-These fats have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance and abdominal fat gain in observational and animal studies.To help reduce belly fat and protect your health, read ingredient labels carefully and stay away from products that contain trans fats.
3. Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol- Research suggests too much alcohol can also make you gain belly fat.Observational studies link heavy alcohol consumption with significantly increased risk of central obesity — that is, excess fat storage around the waist.
4. Eat a High-Protein Diet- High protein intake increases release of the fullness hormone PYY, which decreases appetite and promotes fullness. Protein also raises your metabolic rate and helps you retain muscle mass during weight loss.Be sure to include a good protein source at every meal, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, whey protein or nuts.
5. Reduce Stress Levels – Stress can make you gain belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone.”Research shows high cortisol levels increase appetite and drive abdominal fat storage.Women who already have a large waist tend to produce more cortisol in response to stress. Increased cortisol further adds to fat gain around the middle. Engage in pleasurable activities that relieve stress.
6. Avoid Sugary Foods – 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 increased abdominal fat.
7. Aerobic Exercise (Cardio) – Aerobic exercise (cardio) is an effective way to improve health and burn calories.Studies also show it is one of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing belly fat. However, results are mixed regarding whether moderate-intensity or high-intensity exercise is more beneficial.Regardless of intensity, how often and how much you exercise is important. One study found postmenopausal women lost more fat from all areas when they did aerobic exercise for 300 minutes per week versus 150 minutes per week .
8. Cut Back on Carbs, Especially Refined Carbs – Reducing carb intake can be very beneficial for losing fat, including abdominal fat.Diets with under 50 grams of carbs per day cause belly fat loss in overweight people, those at risk of 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 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.
9. Try Intermittent Fasting -Intermittent fasting has recently become very popular for weight loss.It is 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 involves fasting every day for 16 hours and eating all your food in an 8 hour period.In a review of studies on intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting, people experienced a 4–7% decrease in abdominal fat within a period of 6-24 weeks .
10. Get Plenty of Restful Sleep – Sleep is important for many aspects of health, including your weight. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain more weight, which may include belly fat .
A 16-year study of more than 68,000 women found 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.In addition to sleeping at least 7 hours per night, make sure you’re getting sufficient quality sleep.