Belly fat is more than a nuisance that makes your clothes feel tight. It’s seriously harmful. This type of fat, referred to as visceral fat, is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.
Many health organizations use body mass index to classify weight and predict the risk of metabolic disease.
For this reason, losing this fat can have significant benefits for your health and well-being.
1. Avoid foods that contain trans fats
Trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats, such as soybean oil.
They’re found in some margarines and spreads and also often added to packaged foods, but many food producers have stopped using them.
These fats have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance, and abdominal fat gain in observational and animal studies.
To help reduce belly fat and protect your health, read ingredient labels carefully and stay away from products that contain trans fats.
2. Avoid sugar and sugar-sweetened drinks
Foods with added sugars are bad for your health. Eating a lot of these types of food can cause weight gain.
Studies show that added sugar has uniquely harmful effects on metabolic health. Numerous studies have indicated that excess sugar, mostly due to the large amounts of fructose, can lead to fat building up around your abdomen and liver.
3. Eat a high protein diet
Protein is an extremely important nutrient for weight management.
High protein intake increases the release of the fullness hormone PYY, which decreases appetite and promotes fullness.
Protein also raises your metabolic rate and helps you to retain muscle mass during weight loss.
Many observational studies show that people who eat more protein tend to have less abdominal fat than those who eat a lower protein diet.
4. Reduce your stress levels
Stress can make you gain belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone.
Research shows that high cortisol levels increase appetite and drive abdominal fat storage.
What’s more, women who already have a large waist tend to produce more cortisol in response to stress. Increased cortisol further adds to fat gain around the middle.
5. Exercise regularly
Exercise is among the best things you can do to increase your chances of living a long, healthy life and avoiding disease.
Helping to reduce abdominal fat is among the amazing health benefits of exercise.
This doesn’t mean doing abdominal exercises, as spot reduction — losing fat in one spot — is not possible. In one study, 6 weeks of training just the abdominal muscles had no measurable effect on waist circumference or the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.
Weight training and cardiovascular exercise will reduce fat across the body.