Carrying excess weight around the middle is not just an aesthetic concern, but a major health concern too. The “visceral fat” usually present when you have a larger mid-section increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even dementia, which means it is worth expending effort to reduce it.
Losing weight in general is the best way to shrink your waistline, but limiting a few food groups in particular can be especially effective in reducing fat in this particular area.
These tend to increase belly fat:
Excess calories from alcohol tend to settle in your belly region. This is partly because when you drink alcohol, your liver is too busy burning off alcohol to burn off fat, leaving you with extra belly fat. Alcohol can also make you feel hungrier by affecting hormones that regulate satiety, so you’re likely to eat more while you’re drinking, which makes the problem even worse.
2. Trans fats.
The trans fats in partially hydrogenated oils – found in many processed foods (even foods that say “0 grams trans fats per serving”) can increase fat around the belly and redistribute fat tissue to the abdomen from other parts of the body (yikes!). To avoid trans fats, limit your intake of fast foods, fried foods, margarine, packaged pastries, and packaged snack foods. Anything that says “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredients list means there are trans fats present.
3. Sweets. The problem with eating too many sweets is that sugar is a primary source of unnecessary calories. Indulging in something sweet as a treat is fine, but if you’re adding sugar to everything, drinking caloric beverages, or eating lots of packaged foods, you’re probably getting way too much. Limit sugar to less than
How to Get Rid of Belly Fat
1. Limit or avoid the food groups listed above. Not only will you reduce belly fat this way, you’ll also reduce calories in general.
2. Eat plenty of fiber from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains (real, whole, intact grains as opposed to foods with fiber added). Naturally occurring fiber can help trim more belly fat when part of a calorie-controlled diet.
3. Cut down on sugar. Enjoy a sweet treat once in awhile, but avoid sweetened beverages and other high-sugar, high-calorie foods.
4. Exercise. Burning calories through cardiovascular exercise (when you get your heart rate up and sweat) helps trim belly fat much more than abdominal exercises like sit-ups and crunches. So do something active and heart-pumping on most days of the week.
Remember, all excess calories – whether from alcohol, sweetened beverages, refined carbohydrates, or any other food group – can increase belly fat. So eating fewer calories than you burn should be your main focus when you’re trying to lose weigh or get fit.
Evie Tracy (@EvieTracy)April 11, 2013 at 5:35 am
Great tips for losing belly fats! Weight loss is not the same as fat loss. You may be burning calories or losing weight, but there is no guaranteeing those calories and that weight loss has come from fat. Unless, of course, you are doing resistance training. Unlike aerobic exercise, which burns both fat and muscle, resistance training pushes energy usage towards fat loss exclusively.
AmeliaApril 12, 2013 at 4:34 pm
Thanks for the great reminder about the importance of resistance training. It is so effective!