‘Get abs’, ‘How to reduce belly fat’, ‘lose weight’ are probably some of the most common Google searches. And with good reason; the fat around your midsection is not an easy deal to crack.
In the US, 91% of adults and 69% of children are expected to be overweight due to excess visceral fat. Belly fat has become a major issue that is grabbing everyone’s attention around the world. It is not a problem because it looks bad. In fact, it is the culprit behind many health concerns, including the risk of cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and more. It is seriously harmful to your health (1).
Though losing fat from your waistline can be difficult, there are several things you can do to reduce excess abdominal fat.
Here are 5 effective tips to overcome belly fat, supported by scientific studies…
Increase Your Protein Intake
When it comes to losing weight, protein is the essential macronutrient that could be the game changer. High protein intake may help control appetite and increase satiety, especially in obese or overweight people (2). This will not only help you lose weight, but may also reduce the risk of regaining weight (3). Moreover, it can also boost your metabolic rate and support muscle mass retention during weight loss (4).
Many studies show that protein is particularly effective against belly fat. That means people who eat more and better protein had much less belly fat as compared to those that don’t (5, 6). So, if weight loss is your primary goal, then adding protein is possibly the single most powerful change you can make to your diet.
Eat Foods Rich in Fiber
Eating food rich in fiber, especially the soluble and viscous fiber, have positive effects on weight loss (7). These fibers form a thick gel that dramatically slows down the food digestion process and absorption of nutrients, which may result in reduced appetite and prolonged feeling of fullness (8)
A study conducted by Obesity (Silver Spring) suggests that eating more soluble fiber is linked to a decrease in the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity (9).
Thus, it is crucial to get more fiber by eating plant-based natural foods like fruits and vegetables to shrink your middle.
Start Your Day With A Healthy Breakfast
Breakfast is considered an important meal as it breaks the overnight fasting period. It is vital to keep you energetic for the entire day. Having a protein-rich breakfast has many benefits, including reduced appetite, decreased calorie intake and less cravings for sweets and savory foods. And this might result in possible weight loss (10, 11, 12, 13).
Doing this is also known for improving satiety, and enhancing the quality of diet in overweight or obese people (14). On the other hand, skipping breakfast may lead to an increase in visceral fat that can be dangerous for your overall health (15).
Be sure to start your day with a full-pack and balanced meal, including fruits, nuts, seeds, and dairy products (16).
A successful weight loss journey comprises two main things: regular aerobic exercise and hypocaloric diet (that has a low number of dietary calories) to trim belly fat (17). This happens by improving the levels of insulin, which helps burn fat (18, 19).
In essence, what you need to do is to spare some time for exercising and physical activities to stay fit and slim (20).
If you are doing all it takes and yet the goal of weight loss seems elusive, lack of an adequate amount of sleep may be to blame. Poor sleep is associated with numerous health problems such as higher body mass index, weight gain, and lower resting metabolism (21, 22).
Poor sleep is one of the major reasons for increased appetite and food cravings, particularly of foods high in calories, carbs, and fat. And satisfying these cravings for unhealthy foods may result in weight gain (23, 24, 25).
There is no magic wand that will sweep belly fat away. It may need some effort, hard work, and most importantly, emotional support. It is entirely up to you to change your lifestyle by adopting healthy habits. What also goes a really long way is support from your friends, family members or from anyone else who will inspire you to stay motivated throughout your weight loss journey. Finding a community of people to help and inspire may actually be a life saver! Start with MY FAT BELLY GOTTA GO PARTY where you will get the chance to share your thoughts with others to achieve your wellness goals.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements and/or product(s) described in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease, illness or health condition. It is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet or dietary supplement program.
- Maffetone, Philip B, and Paul B Laursen. “The Prevalence of Overfat Adults and Children in the US.” Frontiers in public health. 5:290 (2017). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5671970/
- Leidy, Heather J., et al. “The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men.” Obesity. 19:4 (2011): 818-824. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20847729
- Leidy, Heather J., et al. “The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance.” The American journal of clinical nutrition. 101:6 (2015): 1320S-1329S. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25926512
- Soenen, Stijn, et al. “Normal protein intake is required for body weight loss and weight maintenance, and elevated protein intake for additional preservation of resting energy expenditure and fat free mass.” The Journal of nutrition. 143:5 (2013): 591-596. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23446962
- Halkjær, Jytte, et al. “Intake of macronutrients as predictors of 5-y changes in waist circumference.” The American journal of clinical nutrition. 84:4 (2006): 789-797. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17023705/
- Loenneke, Jeremy P., et al. “Quality protein intake is inversely related with abdominal fat.” Nutrition & metabolism. 9:1 (2012): 5. https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-9-5
- Chutkan, Robynne, et al. “Viscous versus nonviscous soluble fiber supplements: Mechanisms and evidence for fiber‐specific health benefits.” Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. 24:8 (2012): 476-487. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22845031
- Thompson, Sharon V., et al. “Effects of isolated soluble fiber supplementation on body weight, glycemia, and insulinemia in adults with overweight and obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” The American journal of clinical nutrition. 106:6 (2017): 1514-1528. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/106/6/1514/4823179
- Hairston, Kristen G et al. “Lifestyle factors and 5-year abdominal fat accumulation in a minority cohort: the IRAS Family Study.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.). 20:2 (2012): 421-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3856431/
- Leidy, H J, and E M Racki. “The addition of a protein-rich breakfast and its effects on acute appetite control and food intake in ‘breakfast-skipping’ adolescents.” International journal of obesity (2005). 34:7 (2010): 1125-33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4263815/
- Spring, Bonnie J., Regina Pingitore, and Jen Schoenfeld. “Carbohydrates, protein, and performance.” FOOD COMPONENTS TO ENHANCE PERFORMANCE (1994). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209054/
- Kanter, Mitch. “High-Quality Carbohydrates and Physical Performance: Expert Panel Report.” Nutrition today. 53:1 (2018): 35-39. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5794245/
- Hoertel, Heather A et al. “A randomized crossover, pilot study examining the effects of a normal protein vs. high protein breakfast on food cravings and reward signals in overweight/obese “breakfast skipping”, late-adolescent girls.” Nutrition journal. 13:80 (2014). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4249715/
- Leidy, Heather J et al. “Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls.” The American journal of clinical nutrition. 97:4 (2013): 677-88. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3718776/
- Alexander, Katharine E et al. “Association of breakfast skipping with visceral fat and insulin indices in overweight Latino youth.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.). 17:8 (2009): 1528-33. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2836758/
- Chatelan, Angeline et al. “Association between breakfast composition and abdominal obesity in the Swiss adult population eating breakfast regularly.” The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity. 15:115 (2018). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6247634/
- Nicklas, Barbara J et al. “Effect of exercise intensity on abdominal fat loss during calorie restriction in overweight and obese postmenopausal women: a randomized, controlled trial.” The American journal of clinical nutrition. 89:4 (2009): 1043-52. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2667455/
- Hong, Hye-Ryun et al. “Effect of walking exercise on abdominal fat, insulin resistance and serum cytokines in obese women.” Journal of exercise nutrition & biochemistry. 18:3 (2014): 277-85. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241903/
- Kim, Yoonmyung, and Hanui Park. “Does Regular Exercise without Weight Loss Reduce Insulin Resistance in Children and Adolescents?.” International journal of endocrinology. 2013 (2013): 402592. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3876694/
- Fan, Jessie X et al. “Moderate to vigorous physical activity and weight outcomes: does every minute count?.” American journal of health promotion : AJHP. 28:1 (2013): 41-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5512715/
- Beccuti, Guglielmo, and Silvana Pannain. “Sleep and obesity.” Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care. 14:4 (2011): 402-12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632337/
- Spaeth, Andrea M et al. “Resting metabolic rate varies by race and by sleep duration.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.). 23:12 (2015): 2349-56. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4701627/
- Taheri, Shahrad et al. “Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index.” PLoS medicine. 1:3 (2004): e62. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535701/
- Spiegel, Karine, et al. “Brief communication: sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite.” Annals of internal medicine. 141:11 (2004): 846-850. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15583226
- St-Onge, Marie-Pierre, et al. “Short sleep duration increases energy intakes but does not change energy expenditure in normal-weight individuals.” The American journal of clinical nutrition. 94:2 (2011): 410-416. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21715510