Belly fat is more than a nuisance that makes your clothes feel tight.
It’s seriously harmful.
This type of fat — referred to as 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, as people with excess belly fat are at an increased risk even if they look thin.
Though losing fat from this area can be difficult, there are several things you can do to reduce excess abdominal fat.
Here are 13 effective tips to lose belly fat, backed by scientific studies.
1. Eat plenty of soluble fiber
Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system.
Studies show that this type of fiber promotes weight loss by helping you feel full, so you naturally eat less. It may also decrease the number of calories your body absorbs from food.
What’s more, soluble fiber may help fight belly fat.
An observational study in over 1,100 adults found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake, belly fat gain decreased by 3.7% over a 5-year period.
Make an effort to consume high fiber foods every day. Excellent sources of soluble fiber include:
- flax seeds
- shirataki noodles
- Brussels sprouts
2. Avoid foods that contain trans fats
Trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats, such as soybean oil.
They’re found in some margarines and spreads and 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 who ate a high trans fat diet gained 33% more abdominal fat than those eating a diet high in monounsaturated fat.
To help reduce belly fat and protect your health, read ingredient labels carefully and stay away from products that contain trans fats. These are often listed as partially hydrogenated fats.
3. Reduce your stress levels
Stress can make you gain belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone.
Research shows that high cortisol levels increase appetite and drive abdominal fat storage.
What’s more, 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.
To help reduce belly fat, engage in pleasurable activities that relieve stress. Practicing yoga or meditation can be effective methods.
4. Reduce Your Calorie Intake
To get rid of the lower belly fat, keep the calories in a healthy range and avoid foods that are high in saturated fats. Avoid eating junk and include high fiber foods in your diet to keep your metabolism levels high.
5. Keep Stress Levels at Bay
Stress can cause an increase in cortisol, a hormone that encourages the body to store excess fat in the lower abdomen. It can get worse if combined with bad dieting. To keep the cortisol levels stable, choose low glycemic index foods like lentils, chickpeas and beans.
6. Drink More Green Tea
Green tea is an excellent beverage to reduce lower belly. It contains a compound called catechin, which boosts the metabolism. Several studies have concluded that, people who drank 2 cups of green tea on a daily basis, lost almost 16 times more visceral fat than those who did not.
7. Interval Training is a Must
The most effective workout to lose belly fat quickly is interval training. Interval training alternates between high and low intensity Cardio, which help to burn more calories. You can intersperse small episodes of sprinting in between your walking sessions.
8. Watch Your Food Intake
The best way to reduce lower belly fat is by following a balanced diet. The diet should include low calorie fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You also need to reduce the sodium intake to minimize water retention. Limit your intake of sugar and high fat foods. Avoid consuming excess sugar as it is the main cause of lower belly fat. Excess sugar raises the insulin level in the body, causing energy to be stored in the fat cells.
9. Don’t Forget to Drink Lots of Water
Drink plenty of water throughout the day to speed up the metabolism and flush out toxins from the body. Water keeps you full for a longer period of time. Drink a glass of water before the meals to curb your appetite. Water will also keep you invigorated and will reduce your craving for sugary beverages.
10. Get More Sleep
Getting an 8 hour sleep is one of the best things you can do to reduce lower belly fat. Not getting proper sleep releases a hormone called ghrelin, which triggers a craving for sugar and other fat building foods. Cortisol levels can increase due to lack of sleep, leading to the accumulation of belly fat. A sound sleep relieves stress and refreshes both mind and body.
11. Say No To Alcohol
Limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol contains empty calories and fat, which accumulate around the waist, giving you a bulging tummy. Hence, think twice before grabbing a drink if you want to lose weight.
12. Don’t Forget To Exercise (at least move) Each Day
A study has found that people who do moderate cardio everyday can reduce lower belly fat by almost 20%. Cardiovascular exercises speed up the metabolism and burn the calories to help you lose weight. This includes jogging, walking, hiking and swimming. You can also get rid of lower abdominal fat by combining resistance training with cardiovascular or aerobic exercises. This will help you to build lean muscles and improve metabolism in the long run.
13. Don’t Skip Any Meals
The best way to speed up the metabolism is by eating regularly in small portions. Instead of consuming 3 large meals, eat 6 small meals. Rather than rushing through the meals eat slowly and enjoy each bite. This way you will be less likely to eat more than you need.