Belly fat is not just a tricky thing that makes your clothes look too tight. Fat that is inside the abdomen is also called visceral fat and this is quite harmful. This type of fat is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease among others. Many health organizations use the BMI (body mass index) to classify weight and to predict the risk of metabolic diseases. However, this is misleading. People with a lot of visceral abdominal fat run an increased risk, even if they look thin on the outside. Although losing belly fat can be difficult, there are a number of things you can do to achieve this. Here are 20 effective tips for losing visceral abdominal fat that are scientifically substantiated.
1. Eat lots of soluble fiber
Soluble fibers absorb moisture and form a jelly that ensures that your food passes through the digestive system more slowly. Studies show that this type of fiber promotes weight loss because it helps you feel saturated, so you naturally start eating less. It can also reduce the amount of calories that your body gets from food. And most importantly, soluble fiber can help you fight belly fat. A large observational study with more than 1,100 adults found that the increase in abdominal fat decreased by 3.7% in 5 years for each 10 gram increase in soluble fiber intake. Do your best to eat fiber-rich foods every day. Excellent sources of soluble fiber include linseed, shirataki noodles (konjac noodles), Brussels sprouts, avocados, legumes and blackberries.
2. Avoid feeding with trans fats
Trans fats are made by pumping oxygen into unsaturated fats such as soybean oil. They are in some margarines and some types of spreads (such as peanut butter, hazelnut pastes, etc.) and they are also added to certain packaged foods. These fats are associated with inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance and an increase in abdominal fat, according to observational research and animal studies. A 6-year study found that monkeys who ate a diet rich in trans fats received 33% more belly fat than monkeys who ate a diet rich in unsaturated fats. If you want to reduce the amount of belly fat and protect your health, read all labels carefully and wrap around products with trans fats. They are often listed as "(partially) hydrogenated" or "partially cured" fats.
3. Do not drink too much alcohol
Alcohol can still be healthy in small quantities, but it is extremely harmful if you drink too much. Research also shows that too much alcohol can cause an increase in belly fat. Observational studies show links between heavy alcohol consumption and significantly increased risks of central obesity - in other words, excessive fat storage around the waist. Drinking less alcohol can help to reduce your waist size. You don't have to give it up completely if you like it, but limiting the amount you drink in a day can help. A study with more than 2000 participants showed that those who drank alcohol daily, but on average less than one drink per day, had less belly fat than those who drank alcohol less often, but took more on the days they did drink.
4. Eat protein
Protein is a very important nutrient for weight control. A high protein intake increases the release of the saturation hormone PYY, which reduces appetite and increases the feeling of being full. Protein also increases the metabolic rate and helps maintain muscle mass with weight loss. Many observational studies show that people who eat more proteins more often have less belly fat than those who eat less protein. Make sure you eat a good source of protein with every meal, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, whey protein, or nuts.
5. Reduce stress
Stress can lead to an increase in abdominal fat because it stimulates your adrenal glands to make cortisol; the hormone that is also known as 'stress hormone'. Research shows that high cortisol levels increase appetite and stimulate the storage of belly fat. In fact, women who already have a large waist size often produce more cortisol in response to stress. Increased cortisol provides even more fat storage around the waist. Develop fun and relaxing activities that reduce stress. Yoga or meditation can be effective ways of achieving this.
6. Do not eat much sugar-rich food
Sugar contains fructose, which in excessive use has been associated with various chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes 2, obesity and liver fat. Observational studies show a link between high sugar intake and increased fat around the waist. It is important to realize that it is not just about refined sugar. Even 'healthier' types of sugar (such as real honey) must be eaten sparingly.
7. Do aerobic training (cardio training)
Aerobic training or cardio is a good way to improve your health and burn calories. Research shows that it is one of the best ways of exercise to reduce abdominal fat. However, the results are mixed when it comes to the type of training that is better now, with moderate intensity or high intensity. Apart from intensity, it is important how often and for how long you train. A study shows that postmenopausal women throughout the body lost more fat at 300 minutes of cardio per week than at 150 minutes of cardio per week (always spread over 5 days).
8. Take fewer carbohydrates, especially refined ones
Lowering your carbohydrate intake can work well if you want to lose fat, including belly fat. Diets with less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day cause abdominal fat loss in overweight people, people at risk for diabetes 2 and women with PCOS. You don't even have to follow a very strict low-carb diet; some studies show that replacing refined with unrefined starchy carbohydrates can already improve metabolism and reduce belly fat. In the famous Framingham Heart Study, people who ate the most whole-grain cereals were 17% less likely to have excess belly fat than those who ate many refined grains.
9. Replace your baking fats with coconut oil
Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats you can eat. Research shows that the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil can stimulate the metabolism and can reduce the amount of fat that you store in response to a high calorie intake. There are indications from controlled studies that it can also lead to a decrease in abdominal fat. In one study, obese men used coconut oil for 12 weeks a day and lost 2.86 cm of their waist circumference without intentionally making changes in diet or exercise. The best way to stimulate belly fat loss is by taking about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil daily; the amount that has been used in most studies and that produces good results. However, keep in mind that coconut oil still contains many calories. So do not add extra fats to your food, but replace some of the fats that you already eat with coconut oil.
10. Do strength training (weightlifting)
Resistance training or weightlifting is important for maintaining and increasing muscle mass. Research shows that this type of training can work well to lose abdominal fat in people with prediabetes or diabetes 2 and with fatty liver. One study with overweight teenagers even showed that a combination of strength training and cardio led to the largest decrease in abdominal fat. If you want to start weightlifting it is good to ask for advice from a certified personal trainer.
11. Avoid sugary drinks
Sugar-containing drinks are packed with liquid fructose, which can cause you to grow belly fat. Studies show that sugar-rich drinks lead to more fat in the liver. A 10-week study showed that people who received fructose-rich drinks had a significant increase in abdominal fat. Sugar-rich drinks turn out to be even worse than solid foods with a lot of sugar. Since your brain does not process liquid calories in the same way as solid, it is likely that you will eventually get too many calories that are stored as fat. To get rid of belly fat it is best to ensure that you avoid sugar drinks such as soda and sweet tea and also alcoholic mixed drinks with sugar.
12. Ensure adequate sleep
Sleep is important for many aspects of health, including your weight. Studies show that people who do not get enough sleep usually arrive more and that can also concern abdominal fat.A 16-year study involving more than 68,000 women found that those who slept less than 5 hours a day were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who slept 7 or more hours a night. The condition known as apnea, where breathing occasionally stops during the night, has also been associated with excess belly fat. In addition to at least 7 hours of sleep per night, you must also ensure that your sleep is of sufficient quality. If you think you may have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, tell a doctor and be treated.
13. Keep track of what you eat and how much you train
Many things can help you lose weight and lose belly fat, but eating fewer calories than your body needs to keep its weight is the most important. It can help to keep track of your calorie intake through a food diary (possibly through an online program), or using an app. This appears to be a good strategy for losing weight. In addition, these types of tools help you keep track of how many proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fibers and micronutrients you consume. Many of them also offer the possibility to keep track of your training and exercise. You can find apps / mobile apps to keep track of your diet and calorie intake.
14. Eat oily fish every week
Oily fish is very healthy. It is rich in high-quality proteins and omega-3 fats that protect you against diseases. There is also some evidence that these omega 3 fats would help in reducing belly fat. Studies with adults and children with fatty liver indicate that fish oil supplements can cause a significant decrease in liver and belly fat. The goal is to eat 2 to 3 servings of fatty fish a week, such as salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel and anchovies.
15. Stop drinking fruit juice
Although fruit juice contains vitamins and minerals, it contains just as much sugar as in soft drinks and other sweetened drinks. If you drink a lot of it, you run the same risk of increasing the belly fat. A 250 ml glass of apple juice contains 24 grams of sugar, half of which consists of fructose. If you want to reduce your belly fat, replace fruit juice with water, unsweetened iced tea or (carbonated) water with a slice of lime or lemon.
16. Add apple cider vinegar to your diet
Apple cider vinegar is very good for health, it can, among other things, lower blood sugar levels. It contains acetic acid, a substance that can reduce belly fat storage in animals, according to various studies. A controlled study of obese men who were given 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar a day for 12 weeks showed that their waist size decreased on average by 1.4 cm. Although no human studies have been done yet, it is safe for most people to take 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day; this could lead to a modest reduction in fat.
17. Eat probiotic food or take a supplement
Probiotics are bacteria that occur in some foods and supplements. They are good for health for a variety of reasons, including the intestines and stronger immune function. Researchers have discovered that different types of bacteria play a role in weight regulation and the right balance in gut microbiome can help with weight loss, including loss of abdominal fat. The species that appear to help with the loss of abdominal fat include certain strains of the Lactobacillus family. This includes Lactobacillus fermentum , Lactobacillus amylovorus and especially Lactobacillus gasseri. Probiotic supplements usually contain multiple types of bacteria, so make sure you buy one that contains at least one of the strains mentioned above.
18. Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting has recently become very popular for losing weight. It is an eating pattern where you alternately eat for a while and a while for a while. A popular version is that where you get stuck for 24 hours 1 or 2 times a week. In another method, you fast 16 hours a day and eat all your food within 8 hours. In a survey of intermittent fasting and every-day fast, participants were found to experience 4-7% reduction in fat in a 6 to 24 week period.
19. Drink green tea
Green tea is a very healthy drink. It contains caffeine and the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Both of these substances appear to stimulate digestion. The catechin EGCG has been shown to be effective in getting rid of abdominal fat according to various studies. That effect can be even stronger if drinking green tea is combined with exercise.
1. 20. Change your lifestyle and combine different methods
If you are only going to do one of the things from the list above, that will not have a major effect in itself. If you want good results, you have to combine different methods that prove to work well. It is striking that many of those methods are the same things that we usually associate with healthy eating and healthy lifestyles in general. It is therefore true that the key to abdominal fat loses and ensure that it no longer matters in the long term, consists of a lifestyle change. If you have healthy habits and eat good and unprocessed food, fat loss often follows naturally as a side effect.
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