When people say they want to lose fat, the area they are often focusing on is their belly. Not only is this often the most visible sign of weight gain, but it can also be the most serious. Visceral fat around the belly can be harmful to your health, leading to conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. So, what if anything, can you do to reduce the fat around your belly? Here are three ideas to help lose belly fat fast.
We all know that sugar will make you gain weight, but studies also show that sugar can specifically make it more likely that fat will build up around the belly. Sugar can promote fat storage as well as inducing insulin spikes which encourage our bodies to store more fat.
They can also have an inflammatory effect which can put the body into a stressed-out state. Its response in this situation is often to store more fat with the preferred location being around the belly.
Some sugars are worse than others with the worst being liquid sugars. You brain doesn’t register calories consumed in liquids in the same way that it does solids. A study in the Lancet found that children who consumed large amounts of sweetened beverages were 60% more likely to gain weight. Because we’re trained to focus on the calories we’re getting in our food, we can often forget about any which come through our drinks which is likely to increase the number of calories we consume each day.
If you’re looking to lose belly fat quickly, you should try to eliminate as much sugar from your diet as possible, starting with drinks. This includes fruit juices which many people might consider to be healthy. Keep an eye on the ingredients in your food to severely limit the amount of refined sugar coming into your diet.
Simply restricting your calories will help to reduce fat of all kinds but this routine can be difficult to maintain. Instead, you should think about the type of nutrition you’re taking in. This leads to one simple approach – to eat plenty of protein and as few carbohydrates as possible.
Protein is an efficient source of energy which can fill you up and reduce the number of calories you consume. Better still, one study shows that eating high quality proteins can reduce abdominal fat. Another study focusing on a group of women showed that protein intake could significantly reduce the chances of abdominal fat gain.
A diet in which people get around 30% of their calories from protein sources can lead to reduced fat overall as well as belly fat. By eating lots of eggs, meat, nuts, legumes, fish and dairy products, we can ensure we get lots of high-quality protein into our diet, improve metabolisms and reduce hunger.
If you struggle to get enough high-quality protein through your diet, you may want to try a high-quality protein supplement such as whey protein which can give your body the ingredients it needs.
At the same time as boosting protein levels, we can also seek to limit carbohydrates. A study from the Endocrine Society shows that a modest reduction in carbohydrate intake can promote the loss of deep belly fat even if there is no direct change in weight.
The study focused on 69 overweight men and women. When put onto a diet with 43% of calories coming from carbohydrates, rather than a standard diet of 55%, people saw reduced levels of abdominal fat.
Avoiding some of the least healthy sources of white carbohydrates such as sugary foods and white bread, if coupled with a high protein diet, can be effective at reducing fat in general, especially around the belly.
When we do eat, it’s important that we accurately track intake. This can be easier said than done. While we can plan to maintain a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, it’s not always easy to make sure that what we eat actually does contain the nutrients we’re looking for. Equally, snacks and daily grazing can lead to so-called hidden calories or sugars making their way into our diet. This can upset the balance between healthy high-quality proteins and not so healthy carbohydrates.
This doesn’t mean that you need to scrutinise the ingredients of every food you eat or weigh all your portions, but it can be helpful to keep track of your intake for a few days at a time, every now and again, to monitor your actual versus planned nutrient intake.
Finally, combining all these with a healthy exercise regime will keep your metabolism high, and burn fat. Contrary to some beliefs, though, it is not possible to target where you lose fat – for example, just doing stomach crunches will not necessarily take fat from your belly.
However, as long as you’re burning more calories than you’re taking in (known as a calorie deficit), fat stores across your body – including your belly – will gradually start to come down.