23 January 2021 / Health and Fitness

8 Effective ways to lose belly fat (Backed by Science)

Diet, Exercise, Stress management and right amount of sleep can do wonders in reducing belly fat and all these are based on science.

8 Effective ways to lose belly fat (Backed by Science)
Mazia AhmedMazia Ahmed

Mazia Ahmed

MSc Nutrition Science, Ph.D. Scholar

Introduction

Every person has belly fat, even the people who are thin and lean with a flat stomach. Having belly fat is normal but too much of it can be a risk factor for the overall health of an individual. A waist size less than 35 inches for females and less than 40 inches for males is considered healthy. Some of the fat tissues are present right beneath the skin while other fat cells are located deep in the body, surrounding the delicate organs such as lungs, heart, liver, etc. This kind of fat is called visceral fat and can be more problematic if accumulated in a larger amount. If you want to lose belly fat then this definitive guide is for you.

What is Belly Fat?

What is Belly fat

The belly fat is made up of visceral fat that cushions the organs present in the abdominal cavity. Too much belly fat can lead to diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart ailments, dementia, cancers (particularly colon cancer and breast cancer), etc. The belly fat does not just accumulate at a spot but it produces lots of harmful end products during its metabolism. 

8 Tips To Lose Belly Fat 

The belly fat can be reduced or controlled by taking care of four key factors, i.e. diet, exercise, stress management, and sleep. The ways are discussed below to lose belly fat:

1. Eating a Healthy, Balanced Diet 

It is vital to maintain a balance in meal portions to lose fat appropriately. Especially when eating a food item that has high-calorie content, preparing a balanced diet chart is important. If you want chocolates or other high-calorie items, supplement that with healthy ingredients like fruits and vegetables. Also, moderate the quantity of protein-rich food to balance the carbohydrate intake. 

Furthermore, Most important part in reducing belly fat is to calculate basal metabolic rate (BMR) of an individual. Many trusted tools can be found on internet who does this job effectively. Once the maintenance calorie is calculated, make sure to put yourself under calorie deficit.

Also read: Eat your Favorite Foods and Still Lose Weight

2. Include High-Fiber Foods

High-Fiber Foods

When you lose weight by eating healthy, belly fat usually burns first. A diet rich in fiber helps in reducing belly fat. Research demonstrates that eating 10 gm of soluble fiber every day builds up a smaller amount of visceral fat. Soluble fibers have a tendency to absorb water and swell-up which helps in slowing down the bowel movement. This type of fiber enhances weight loss by making you feel full for a longer duration of time. It also decreases the absorbance of calories from the food. A study was conducted on about 1100 individuals to know the effect of soluble fiber on belly fat. The results demonstrated that every 10 gm increment in the intake of soluble fiber decreases the belly fat by 3.7 percent when consumed for five years. Excellent sources of soluble fibers include flax seeds, Brussels sprouts, avocados, berries, etc.

Also read: Importance of Dietary Fiber - Dietary Fiber Foods and Vegetables

3. Avoid Foods Containing Trans Fat

Avoid Trans Fat

Trans fats are unhealthy fatty substances that are manufactured synthetically through the hydrogenation of oils. They are found in kinds of margarine, and other spreads and are often added to ready-to-eat packed foods. These fats are associated with increased belly fat along with various other ailments such as inflammation, cardiac diseases, diabetes, etc. A study conducted on monkeys demonstrated an increment of 33% abdominal fat in those who ate a diet containing a high amount of trans fats comparing to the ones that ate a diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids.

4. Avoid Alcohol

Consuming too much alcohol causes serious harm to the body and can also make you gain belly fat. Heavy drinking is directly linked with the occurrence of central obesity i.e. excessive fat around the waist region. Cutting back on the amount of alcohol consumed may help in reducing belly fat. A study conducted on more than 2000 people suggested that people who drink alcohol daily but in lesser amounts accumulate less belly fat in comparison to the ones who drink less frequently but in large quantities.

5. Employ Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting has recently gained popularity as a method of losing weight. It is an eating pattern including periods of eating followed by fasting. There are numerous ways to follow intermittent fasting, each of which is split into days or weeks of eating and fasting pattern. In a study on intermittent fasting, a 4 to 7 % decrease in belly fat was found when followed for 6-24 weeks.

Also read: The complete guide to intermittent fasting | intermittent fasting diet

6. Exercise Regularly

Exercise Regularly

Vigorous exercise cuts down all the extra fat present in the body, including belly fat. A minimum of thirty minutes of exercise for about 5 days a week is required for better results. Brisk walking can also help in reducing belly fat if it makes you sweat and increases your heart rate. One of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing belly fat is aerobic exercise (cardio). Raising the heart rate for thirty minutes at least three times a week is also found effective. It slows down the accumulation of belly fat. Exercising does not necessarily mean hitting the gym; playing soccer with the kids, walking in the garden, or going for Zumba meant the same. 

7. Manage Stress

Stress Management

Every human being in the entire world is suffering from some kind of stress. Having stress does not matter, but how you take it or manage it means a lot. Stress can increase the accumulation of belly fat by stimulating the adrenal glands to produce cortisol-the stress hormone. High cortisol level in the blood increases hunger and also the belly fat storage. To reduce abdominal fat, try to engage in relaxing and pleasurable activities such as spending time with family and friends, practicing yoga or meditation, etc.

8. Sleep

Sleep Well

Getting the right amount of sleep is very much essential for the overall health of an individual, including the reduction of belly fat. It was found in five-year research that people who get seven to eight hours of sleep every night accumulate less abdominal fat as compared to the ones who slept for just five or fewer hours per night.

Word of Wisdom

Losing belly fat mainly boils down to Diet and Exercise; preferably in combination with cardio and weight training. However, Sleep and Mental wellness plays an important role as well. Start following these tips today and you will definitely see the progress, and don't forget to employ dieting tools such as intermittent fasting, foods, and Keto Diet sterically throughout your weight loss journey.

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