Belly fat is not just a problem because it can look bad. In fact, having lots of fat in the abdominal area is strongly linked to diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
For this reason, losing belly fat has massive benefits for your health and can help you live longer. Belly fat is usually estimated by measuring the circumference around your waist. This can easily be done at home with a simple tape measure.
Anything above 40 inches (102 cm) in men and 35 inches (88 cm) in women is known as abdominal obesity.
Fortunately, there are a few proven strategies that have been shown to target the fat in the belly area more than other areas of the body.
Avoid consuming sugar
Added sugar is very unhealthy.
Studies show that it has uniquely harmful effects on metabolic health.
Sugar is half glucose, half fructose, and fructose can only be metabolized by the liver in significant amounts.
When you eat a lot of added sugar, the liver gets overloaded with fructose and is forced to turn it into fat.
Numerous studies have shown that excess sugar, mostly due to the large amounts of fructose, can lead to increased accumulation of fat in the belly and liver.
Some believe that this is the primary mechanism behind sugar's harmful effects on health. It increases belly fat and liver fat, which leads to insulin resistance and a host of metabolic problems.
Liquid sugar is even worse in this regard. Liquid calories don't get "registered" by the brain in the same way as solid calories, so when you drink sugar-sweetened beverages, you end up eating more total calories.
Studies show that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children, for each daily serving.
Eat more protein
is the most important macronutrient when it comes to losing weight.
It has been shown to reduce cravings by 60%, boost metabolism by 80-100 calories per day and help you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day.
If weight loss is your goal, then adding protein is perhaps the single most effective change you can make to your diet.
Not only will it help you lose, it also helps you avoid re-gaining weight if you ever decide to abandon your weight loss efforts.
There is also some evidence that protein is particularly effective against belly fat.
One study showed that the amount and quality of protein consumed was inversely related to fat in the belly. That is, people who ate more and better protein had much less belly fat (15).
Another study showed that protein was linked to significantly reduced risk of belly fat gain over a period of 5 years
Cut carbs from your diet
Carb restriction is a very effective way to lose fat.
This is supported by numerous studies. When people cut carbs, their appetite goes down and they lose weight
Low-carb diets also lead to quick reductions in water weight, which gives people near instant results. A difference on the scale is often seen within 1-2 days.
There are also studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, showing that low-carb diets specifically target the fat in the belly, and around the organs and liver.
What this means is that a particularly high proportion of the fat lost on a low-carb diet is the dangerous and disease promoting abdominal fat.
Just avoiding the refined carbs (sugar, candy, white bread, etc) should be sufficient, especially if you keep your protein intake high.
However, if you need to lose weight fast, then consider dropping your carbs down to 50 grams per day. This will put your body into ketosis, killing your appetite and making your body start burning primarily fats for fuel.
Of course, low-carb diets have many other health benefits besides just weight loss. They can have life-saving effects in type 2 diabetics
Eat foods rich in fiber, especially viscous fiber
Dietary fiber is mostly indigestible plant matter.
It is often claimed that eating plenty of fiber can help with weight loss.
This is true, but it's important to keep in mind that not all fiber is created equal.
It seems to be mostly the soluble and viscous fibers that have an effect on your weight.
These are fibers that bind water and form a thick gel that "sits" in the gut.
This gel can dramatically slow the movement of food through your digestive system, and slow down the digestion and absorption of nutrients. The end result is a prolonged feeling of fullness and reduced appetite.
Exercise is very effective at reducing belly fat
Exercise is important for various reasons.
It is among the best things you can do if you want to live a long, healthy life and avoid disease.
Listing all of the amazing health benefits of exercise is beyond the scope of this article, but exercise does appear to be effective at reducing belly fat.
However, keep in mind that I'm not talking about abdominal exercises here. Spot reduction (losing fat in one spot) is not possible, and doing endless amounts of ab exercises will not make you lose fat from the belly.
Track your foods and figure out exactly what and how much you are eating
What you eat is important. Pretty much everyone knows this.
However, most people actually don't have a clue what they are really eating.
People think they're eating "high protein," "low-carb" or something else, but tend to drastically over- or underestimate.
Culled from healthline.com