The key driver of excess fat in the belly and liver can be excess sugar consumption. This applies especially to sugary beverages such as soft drinks. However, having abdominal fat is the major risk factor of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Because of this, losing belly fat has tremendous health benefits and can help you live longer. You can measure the circumference of your waist by a measuring tape. Anything in males above 40 inches (102 cm) and females above 35 inches (88 cm) is called abdominal obesity.
1. Eat Protein
Protein is the most vital element of weight loss that may reduce cravings by 60%, boost metabolism by 80–100 calories per day and help you eat up to 441 fewer calories. Therefore, adding protein is the most efficient way to lose belly fat. A study shows that protein over 5 years decreased the accumulation of belly fat. The study also shows that eating refined carbs and oils increased abdominal fat, but fruits and vegetables were less likely to increase in body fat. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Most of these studies that show the effectiveness of protein had 25–30% of calories coming from protein. So try to raise your consumption of high-protein foods like whole eggs, fish, seafood, legumes, nuts, meat, and dairy products. These foods are the highest sources of protein. If you are struggling to get enough protein in your diet, a high-quality protein supplement such as whey protein is a good and easy way to increase your total protein intake.
Protein can reduce cravings by up to 60%. A 5-year study found that eating protein reduced belly fat. Whey protein powder is the easy way to boost your protein intake.
2. Don’t Eat Sugar
Added sugar in foods and drinks is very unhealthy. Sugar is half glucose, half fructose, and the liver metabolizes only a small amount of fructose. When you ingest too much sugar, your liver becomes overloaded with fructose. Therefore, your body converts the excess amount into fat. Many studies have shown that excess sugar can lead to increased accumulation of fat in the belly and liver because of eating excess amounts of fructose. Some experts think that this is the fundamental mechanism behind the health damaging effects of sugar. It increases abdominal fat and liver fat, leading to insulin resistance, which is the primary cause of all metabolic problems. (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
Liquid sugar is even worse. Your brain cannot record liquid calories, so you end up ingesting more calories when you drink sugar-sweetened drinks. Studies show that sugar-sweetened drinks can cause obesity in children. To reduce the consumption of sugar, consider limiting sugary drinks entirely. This includes beverages such as sodas, fruit juices, and multiple high-sugar drinks. If you compare refined sugar with fruit sugar, the quantity of fructose you get from fruit is minimal. You need to read labels if you want to cut back on refined sugar. Even foods that are healthy may contain an excessive amount of sugar. (13, 14)
When you consume a lot of added sugar, your liver becomes overloaded with fructose and the excess amount of fructose is converted into fat.
3. Cut Carbs
Carbs limitation is a very efficient way of losing belly fat. By cutting carbs, you can lose both appetite and weight. Over 20 randomized controlled studies have shown that low-carb diets result in weight loss 2-3 times higher than low-fat diets. This is true even if low-carb groups may consume as much as they want, while low-fat groups are limited in calories. Low-carb diets also lead to rapid water weight reduction, resulting in instant outcomes, meaning you can notice a difference within 1–2 days. (15, 16, 17)
Studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets also show that low-carb diets aim specifically at the fat in the abdomen. It should be enough to avoid refined carbs, particularly if you maintain your protein intake. Consider cutting your carbs to 50 grams per day if you need to lose weight quickly. This will bring your body into ketosis, kill your appetite, and make your body burn fat as fuel. Low-carb diets have many other health advantages. For example, in type 2 diabetics, it can have life-saving effects. (18, 19, 20, 21)
Over 20 randomised controlled studies have shown that low-carb diets result in 2-3 times more weight loss than low-fat diets. Low-carb diets also cause rapid water weight loss.
Related article: 7 most effective weight loss diets reviewed
4. Eat Fiber-Rich Food
Dietary fiber is mostly a plant-based substance that is indigestible, meaning it stays intact inside the stomach. These fibers bind with water and form a dense gel sitting in the gut. The gel can dramatically slow food through your digestive system, which results in fullness and decreased appetite. One review study shows that an extra 14 grams of fiber per day can help with a 10 percent calorie reduction and a 4.5 lbs (2 kg) weight loss over 4 months. (22, 23, 24, 25)
Another 5-year study, eating 10 grams of soluble fiber per day can help with a 3.7% decrease in abdominal fat. This means that soluble fiber can be efficient in losing belly fat. Eating a lot of plant-based food like vegetables and fruit is the best way to get more fiber. Some cereals, such as whole oats and legumes, are also an excellent source of fiber. You can also use glucomannan fiber supplement, which is one of the most effective fibers for weight loss. (26, 27)
Dietary fibre is a plant-based indigestible substance that can slow food through your digestive system, which results in a feeling of fullness and decreased appetite.
If you want to live longer, exercise is one of the best things you can do. Exercises that target multiple muscle groups seem to be efficient in fat loss. Several studies have shown that aerobic exercise causes significant reductions in belly fat. Another research discovered that exercise prevented individuals from gaining abdominal fat after losing weight, suggesting that exercise during weight maintenance was significant. Exercise also contributes to lower inflammation, blood sugar, and can fix almost all metabolic abnormalities. (28, 29, 30, 31)
Exercise prevents the accumulation of abdominal fat. It also helps to reduce inflammation, blood sugar levels, and all the other metabolic problems.
6. Track How Much You Eat
To lose belly fat, eating the right food is important. This is something that almost everyone understands. Most people don’t really have an idea what they’re eating. People believe they eat high protein low-carb or something else, but they overestimate or underestimate drastically. We believe it’s crucial for anyone who really wishes to optimize their diet to track record for a while.
It doesn’t imply that you have to weigh and analyze everything for the rest of your life, but it can help you understand where you need to create improvements now and then for a few days in a row. As suggested above, you want to increase your protein consumption to 25–30% of calories, eating more protein-rich foods will not be enough. To achieve that aim, you still need to count how many calories you eat and burn. (32)
Eating the right foods is essential for weight loss. To accomplish this goal, you must track how many calories you consume and burn.
Suggested article: 7 ways to lose fat without counting calories
Studies have shown that reducing carbs can help you in losing belly fat. There is some proof that soluble dietary fiber may also reduce fat formation in the belly. This should cause significant improvements in metabolic health and decreased risk of multiple disorders. If you’re trying to lose belly fat, exercise can be very efficient.
- Ratio of visceral-to-subcutaneous fat area predicts cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes. J Diabetes Investig. 2018.
- A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2005.
- Intake of macronutrients as predictors of 5-y changes in waist circumference. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006.
- Effects of Dietary Coconut Oil on the Biochemical and Anthropometric Profiles of Women Presenting Abdominal Obesity. Lipids 44, 593–601 (2009).
- Fructose and sugar: A major mediator of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. J Hepatol. 2018.
- Beverages contribute extra calories to meals and daily energy intake in overweight and obese women. Physiol Behav. 2013.
- The effects of a low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet on mood, hunger, and other self-reported symptoms. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007.
- A lower-carbohydrate, higher-fat diet reduces abdominal and intermuscular fat and increases insulin sensitivity in adults at risk of type 2 diabetes. J Nutr. 2015.
- Short-term weight loss and hepatic triglyceride reduction: evidence of a metabolic advantage with dietary carbohydrate restriction. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011.
- 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, 2017.
- Lifestyle factors and 5-year abdominal fat accumulation in a minority cohort: the IRAS Family Study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2012.
- The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat. J Strength Cond Res. 2011.
- Exercise training prevents regain of visceral fat for 1 year following weight loss. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010.