Belly fat is associated with many health issues and diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. Specifically it's the deepest layer of belly fat that poses health risks. That's because these "visceral" fat cells actually produce hormones and other substances that can affect your health. There are many dangerous and ineffective gimmicks about how to lose belly fat. While there is no "magic bullet" that will target abdominal fat in particular, this article will explain what causes an expanding waistline and how you can make that spare tire go away.
Belly fat is is different from fat elsewhere in your body. The extra weight some people carry around their waists, arms, and love handles isn’t the same — that’s subcutaneous fat, which sits beneath the skin and is relatively harmless, according to Harvard Medical School. The stuff in your belly, visceral fat, lodges deeper down, around your abdominal organs. It's metabolically active tissue that actually functions like a separate organ, releasing substances into the rest of your body that, in excess, can increase your risk of disease.
1. Nutrition & Hydration – the body is 70% composed of water, and it’s involved in almost every systemic function – ensuring the appropriate level of hydration prior to your workout lifts your training efficiency, and enables your body to make full use of its fuel for your session. Eliminating refined sugars, going low-GI, opting for a diet rich in lean proteins, pursuing healthy fats (think avocados, olive oil, and fish) & eating little-and-often through the day are the best way to regulate sugar levels.
If you're among the 30% of Americans who sleep less than six hours a night, here's one simple way to whittle your waistline: catch more Zs. A 16-year study of almost 70,000 women found that those who slept five hours or less a night were 30% more likely to gain 30 or more pounds than those who slept 7 hours. The National Institutes of Health suggest adults sleep seven to eight hours a night.
To cut calories and lose weight, you have to eat right. That means no empty calories from unhealthy foods, including chips, cakes and cookies. Skip foods that contain simple carbohydrates and eliminate soda altogether. By drinking water and avoiding breads, you may reduce your caloric intake enough to lose weight. If not, opt for vegetable dishes over meat-based ones and choose non-fat dairy when you can.
Eating sugary foods might be satisfying in the moment, but they can increase your cravings for more sugary foods in the future — and that only leads to trouble. "Many foods high in added sugar are also higher in calories and fill you up less than lower-calorie, still-sweet alternatives like fruit," says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in Jersey City, NJ. But there are still ways to satisfy your sweet tooth without ODing on sugar. "When you're baking, cut out some of the sugar in recipes by adding in vanilla extract or cinnamon, blend unsweetened cocoa powder into a smoothie instead of honey, top your French toast with unsweetened frozen fruit instead of syrup, and nosh on a slab of watermelon instead of cookies."
If you're cutting calories, especially from dietary carbohydrate and fat sources, your body is more apt to start using amino acids for energy, which is one reason why the majority of athletes we spoke with increased their protein intake while on a fat-loss program. Whey powders like MuscleTech's Platinum 100% Whey mix easily so can be consumed without a blender.
If you’re looking to get lean, working out before you sit down to sunny-side-up eggs and toast may be your best bet. A study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that doing cardio on an empty stomach results in significantly higher fat oxidation, or fat loss, than exercise performed after you’ve eaten. Try hitting the elliptical or Stairmaster before breakfast, and make sure to bring a small snack with you to the gym to keep your blood sugar in check. To follow up your workout, check out these 16 Post-Workout Snacks Fitness Experts Swear By.
Use the meal as a reward for a week’s worth of hard work, or the completion of a project you’ve been dreading. “It’s OK for people to blow one meal a week without feeling guilty,” says James W. Anderson, M.D., director of the Metabolic Research Group at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. “If you follow a healthy diet 95% of the time, you can relax and enjoy yourself the other 5% of the time without gaining weight.”
The notion that abdominal obesity is the most dangerous kind isn't new. Back in the 1940s, the French physician Jean Vague observed that some obese patients had normal blood chemistry, while some moderately overweight patients showed serious abnormalities that predisposed them to heart disease or diabetes. Almost always, the latter patients carried their fat around their middles. And, almost always, they were men.
You likely keep almonds stocked in your pantry because they’re brimming with healthy fats that keep you slim and satiated. So what if we told you that swapping your sugary pre-workout snack with your favorite nut can help skyrocket your workout’s effectiveness? According to a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, popping about 2.6 ounces of whole almonds increased cyclists’ endurance performance and improved oxygen utilization more than cookies did. Researchers suspect that almonds’ nutrients arginine and quercetin may contribute to these fat-burning effects.
All of our RD experts agree: H2O is crucial for weight loss. “Water is so important when trying to lose weight since it helps to you feel full between meals,” says Amy Shapiro, RD, founder of Real Nutrition NYC in New York City. Here’s a simple hydration rule of thumb: Shoot to consume half as many ounces of water as your total body weight in pounds. (So if you weigh 180, sip on 90 ounces of water each day.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GVZYDOBMXk
The popular "flat belly diets"embrace much of the wisdom found in eating a Mediterranean diet, which helps everything from brain health to hearth health. The basic premise for both diets is eat foods rich in monosaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that may help reduce your belly fat storage. MUFA-rich foods include olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocodos, and fish. Eating yogurt regularly has also been found to be helpful in reducing belly fat.
I do advocate periodic cheat meals, but never for the first meal of the day. Research proves that breakfast is the most important meal of the day when it comes to setting the pace for blood sugar levels. I want my clients to satisfy cravings, but at the same time I want to minimize the damage and prevent body fat accumulation. Take Alpha Omega before and after any cheat meal and you will keep blood sugar levels under control which will minimize body fat accumulation. It is not a fat blocker as that concept is a scam, but the concept is somewhat similar.
However, it’s not just the foods we eat that provide the fuel needed to function normally, our body has room for storage too. Glucose from carbs (stored as glycogen in your liver and muscles) and fatty acids (stored as triglycerides and found all over the body in adipose tissue) are stored as reserves to be used by your body under different conditions.
Water is the medium in which most cellular activities take place, including the transporting and burning of fat. In addition, drinking plenty of calorie-free water makes you feel full and eat less. Drink at least 1oz of water per 2lbs of bodyweight a day (that's 100oz for a 200-lb person). Keep a 20-oz water bottle at your desk, fill it five times a day, and you're set.
Don’t buy your tickets to Bonnaroo just yet; the kind of acid that will help you slim down is the stuff right inside your cabinet. A 12-week study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry reveals that obese study subjects who made vinegar part of their diet dropped more belly fat than a control group, and other research suggests that acidic foods, like vinegar, can increase the human carbohydrate metabolism by as much as 40 percent. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7O3Zjk1EYg
Are you like Old Faithful when it comes to your morning walk or evening jog? Know this: The more you do an activity, the more your body adapts to it, so you burn fewer calories. If you want to light a fire under your metabolism, consider cross-training. For example, if you normally walk, try biking instead. "Since you're not used to working all those different muscles, it's a more intense workout, which can translate into a greater metabolic after-burn because your body is working harder to recover and get oxygen to all your tissues," says Carol Espel, M.S., an exercise physiologist for Equinox Fitness Clubs in New York City.