As you have learned, belly fat affects every aspect of your health, from metabolism to hormones and cardiovascular function. Since it surrounds your internal organs, it won’t be easy to get rid of it. The key to losing belly fat is to eat clean, cut back on carbs, and train smart. Here are some tips to help you out:
Clean Up Your Diet
If you still have belly fat, your diet might not be as healthy as you think. Steer clear of refined sugar, alcohol, white flour, deli meats, chips, margarine, cookies, soft drinks, and other heavily processed foods. Ready-made meals and junk food are off limits. Stick to whole, natural foods, such as low sugar fruits, leafy green vegetables, raw nuts, seeds, fish, lean meat, and poultry.
Cut Back on Carbs
Whole grains, rice, and most fruits are healthy, but this doesn’t mean they support weight loss. For example, one cup of rice boasts over 45 grams of carbs per serving. One medium potato provides about 37 grams of carbs. Fruit juices can have up to 70 grams of sugar per glass. Maintaining a low carb intake is essential for those looking to shed belly fat.
Simple carbs raise insulin and blood sugar levels, which increases your risk of diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and abdominal obesity. The best thing you can do is to gradually cut back on carbs. Leafy green vegetables, cruciferous veggies, berries, nuts, and seeds are rich in fiber and complex carbs, which accelerate fat loss. Use them as a substitute for starches and grains.
Watch Out for Hidden Sugars
High sugar consumption is the main culprit behind visceral fat. Even if you remove table sugar from your diet, you still need to watch out for hidden sugars. This harmful ingredient comes in many forms, such as molasses, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, agave nectar, barley malt, and golden syrup. Brown sugar and coconut sugar are not better either. They do contain more nutrients, but carry the same side effects as table sugar.
Load Up on Protein
Protein is the building block of cells and tissues. It supports muscle growth and repair, accelerates fat loss, and elevates your metabolism. By eating high-protein foods, you’ll maintain lean mass while on a diet.
Compared to fats and carbs, this nutrient takes up to 30 percent more calories to digest. This explains its metabolism-boosting effects. Additionally, most foods that are rich in protein keep hunger at bay and reduce cravings. Your daily protein should come from chicken and turkey breast, lean beef, salmon, tuna, sardines, tilapia, eggs, low fat cheese, Greek yogurt, and other low calorie, nutritious foods.
When it comes to losing belly fat, exercise and diet are equally important. However, not all exercises are created equal. High intensity interval training or HIIT has been shown to increase metabolism and reduce visceral fat. It’s the most effective way to slim down and boost your fitness level. Unlike steady state cardio, HIIT takes less time and preserves muscles while torching stubborn fat. For best results, mix HIIT with strength training.