There is no good way to be fat, but there is a worst way. Fat around the midsection, or belly fat, can be especially dangerous. And getting rid of this belly bulge is important for more than just reasons of vanity. Because belly fat increases health risks for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
Abdominal fat, also known as visceral fat and sometimes called a “beer gut,” is formed deep in the body and surrounds internal organs. Visceral fat is difficult to lose, but the right type of exercise combined with changes in diet can work. Contrary to popular belief, liposuction is not a solution for belly fat. Read: Fat Returns after Liposuction.
Abdominal fat can build for a number of reasons. Eating food that is high in fat and sugar, leading a sedentary lifestyle, and not exercising for long periods are some of the most common causes. Feeling overstressed or suffering from a lack of sleep contributes, too. And some studies show that people who experience frequent discrimination or harassment are susceptible to putting on belly fat.
Best and Worst Foods for Belly Fat
Some foods are a fast track for putting on belly fat. A good place to begin the pushback is to get these foods out of your life and replace them with foods that reduce belly fat.
A meal plan that’s heavy on fruits and vegetables, high fiber foods, and lean meats will help you lose visceral fat. It’s best to avoid sugary drinks and products heavy in saturated fat, like butter or fatty cheeses. Use natural cooking oils that are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Appropriate portion sizing is also important. Read: Mediterranean Diet Fights Metabolic Syndrome and Belly Fat
As individual diet requirements vary, it’s best to consult a nutritionist when trying to lose abdominal fat. But here are some foods that top our “best and worst foods” list:
Stop drinking soda. A study in the Journal of Obesity found that people who drink diet soda have more belly fat than those who do not drink diet soda. It is suspected that diet soda drinkers overestimate the number of calories they think they are saving and wind up drinking too much. Read: Soda Suicide in America
White tea is a healthier option than soda. White tea blocks the formation of new fat cells and helps the body break down stored fat. Even if you do overindulge, it is harder for you to store the excess calories. Green tea is another option and it’s a good antioxidant that inhibits oxidative stress (think rust). Here’s a comprehensive guide to green tea.
French fries should be avoided. A twenty year Harvard study found that people who eat fries on a regular basis gain over three pounds every four years. In the course of a lifetime, that’s a lot of belly weight. Instead choose the French fries’ healthier cousins: baked sweet potato fries, baked turnip fries, and baked parsnip fries. They are easy to make and taste great.
Beware of fruit juice. All-natural fruit juice contains 36 grams of sugar per cup. Most of the sweetness is from fructose, a type of sugar associated with belly fat. Adding fresh sliced fruit like oranges and grapefruit to spring or mineral water makes a refreshing fruit drink. Keep the peels on because the antioxidants in them flush toxins from the body and release stored visceral fat!
Processed foods like potato chips are considered one of the worst foods for your belly. Potato chips are filled with saturated fat and increase abdominal fat. They are also heavy in salt and cause mid-level bloating. If you are a daily chip eater, cutting them out of your diet will result in losing half a pound of fat from your belly.
Healthy Habits to Reduce Belly Fat
Lifestyle changes can help reduce belly fat, too. Bad health habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol can increase visceral fat. It’s best to break these habits for many health reasons, and getting rid of belly fat is one of them. Read: Belly Fat More Dangerous Than Obesity.
Some studies show that meditating or praying can help with belly fat weight loss by lowering stress levels.
Also, getting enough sleep is important for losing fat. Read: Sleep Loss Causes Weight Gain
If diet and exercise haven’t done much to whittle your middle, then your hormones, your age and other genetic factors may be the reason why. It’s best to follow-up with a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. Read Testosterone Can Help Help Women Lose Weight.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life