These are the most effective and science-backed ways to lose belly fat.
Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, isn’t just unsightly. It is seriously dangerous for your health. This type of fat is found deep in the abdomen, under the muscle, where it nestles around vital organs such as the intestines, liver and pancreas, releasing toxic substances that increase the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart problems and diabetes. Here are six of the most effective and science-backed ways to lose visceral fat. Read on to learn more and to ensure your health and that of others, don’t miss these sure signs that you’ve already had COVID.
1. Reduce your stress levels
Chronic feelings of stress cause the brain to produce more cortisol, and stress can lead to “comfortably eating” foods high in fat and sugar. The combination is a quick shortcut to gaining belly fat, says a study published in The Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
2. Lose weight
Perhaps the simplest way to reduce visceral fat is to lose weight. “Weight loss alone can effectively reduce visceral fat,” says W. Scott Butsch, MD, an obesity medicine specialist at the Cleveland Clinic. “By losing 10% of your body weight, you could lose up to 30% of your body fat.”
3. Do this type of exercise
Changing your diet alone will not reduce belly fat; exercise is key. According to a 2020 study published in the journal Nutrients, exercise reduces visceral fat even if you don’t lose weight. This is because it reduces circulating insulin (which tells the body to attach itself to fat) and tells the liver to burn nearby visceral fat stores. Moderate-intensity exercise combined with strength training appears to work best: A 2021 review of studies found that resistance training reduces visceral fat in healthy adults.
4. Avoid added sugar
Visceral fat thrives on sugar. “Fructose, or sugar, causes fat cells to mature faster, particularly visceral fat,” says the Cleveland Clinic. Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet by dumping sugary drinks and juices, refined grains, baked goods, and processed foods, and watch your life shrink.
5. Get lots of protein
Several studies have found that a high-protein diet will burn belly fat and help keep it at bay. One of the latest was published this summer in Scientific Reports: Researchers found that a group of tests that took a protein supplement along with a mildly calorie-restricted diet lost more visceral fat than a group that took a placebo. Furthermore, the gut microbiota of the test group was activated by the protein supplement. Some studies have linked healthy gut bacteria to visceral fat loss, regardless of what you eat.
6. Get enough sleep
Researchers at Wake Forest University found that dieters who slept five hours or less each night gained 2.5 times more weight than people who slept adequately. Experts say poor sleep alters the production of leptin and ghrelin, two hormones that regulate appetite and can increase the feeling of hunger. Not getting enough sleep can also increase the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that tells the body to retain fat around the abdomen. Experts like the National Sleep Foundation say you should aim for seven to nine hours a night. And to overcome this pandemic in the healthiest way, don’t miss these 35 places where you are most likely to contract COVID.