Are you looking to learn how to lose belly fat fast, whether you are trying to fit into that sexy dress for an upcoming wedding or aiming for that six pack abs? Or maybe you are just tired of being mistaken for being pregnant like I was?
Whatever your motivation may be, belly fat is the most dangerous fat in your body and can cause much more than just a body image issue. If you have a lot of excess fat around your waistline, you should take some steps to reduce it, even if you’re not very heavy.
Why Belly Fat Is Dangerous
Study after study has shown that people with the largest waist circumferences have the highest risk of life-threatening metabolic diseases. You are considered abdominally obese if your waist circumference measures 35 inches (88 cm) for women and 40 inches (102 cm) for men, and this puts you at significant risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Belly fat is seen as the root cause for many health problems because it is located within striking distance of your heart, liver and other core organs, putting pressure on them and potentially disrupting their functions.
As much as we all want that perfectly flat ab, belly fat always seems to be the last one to budge when you are trying to lose weight. The older you are, the harder it gets to lose belly fat. Even if you lose weight, it doesn’t always mean you are losing belly fat. It can be one of the most frustrating parts of weight loss for sure.
If you want to learn how to lose belly fat fast, you’ll need to first understand what it is and what causes it.
What Is Belly Fat?
Your body has 2 main types of fat:
- Subcutaneous fat: This fat is the layer that lies directly below the skin’s surface and can be found all over your body.
- Visceral fat: Otherwise known as the dangerous belly fat, visceral fat hangs beneath your abdominal muscles and surrounds your major organs such as the heart and the liver.
These fat cells are actually metabolically active, secreting hormones and chemicals that can impact every organ in your body.
When you’re at a healthy weight, the hormones and chemicals secreted by fat cells can help to regulate your insulin, appetite and even burn stored fat.
However, overweight individuals tend to have more and larger fat cells than normal that can produce more hormones and chemicals than your body needs. This negatively impacts the body over time, increasing risks for diseases like diabetes, stroke and heart attack.
What Causes Belly Fat Gain?
Some common factors that cause belly fat gain are:
1. Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol consumed in moderation can have healthful effects on your body. Red wine, for example, may potentially lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
However, drinking high levels of alcohol may lead to chronic inflammation, liver diseases and other health issues (1).
Alcohol has also been shown in studies to suppress fat burning, and excess calories from alcohol are stored as belly fat, resulting in the unsightly beer belly (2).
If you are trying to lose weight, it’s best to limit your alcohol consumption to 1 glass of wine once a week or avoid it all together.
2. Imbalance In Gut Microbiome
There are researches that point to gut bacteria imbalance potentially causing abdominal fat and weight gain.
Comparative studies of the gut microbiome of overweight versus normal weight individuals have found specific bacterias that may increase the number of calories that are absorbed from food (3).
A study done on families with lean and obese twins have also confirmed a core set of micro flora shared among families that may influence weight gain and location of weight stored (4).
We will look into how to improve your gut health further down in the article.
Stress can bring on both physical and emotional responses that can contribute to weight gain.
When your body is under stress, it produces cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone”, to respond to the stress. Unfortunately, excess cortisol can cause weight gain, especially in your midsection.
For many people, stress leads to emotional overeating. And much of the extra calories end up going to the abdominal region due to the high levels of stress hormone(5).
Your big belly may not be just due to excess fatty deposits. Bloating is another common cause that can make your stomach look and feel bigger than it should be.
Bloating is caused by intestinal gas due to food intolerances such as wheat allergies or lactose intolerance. Eating too quickly and not chewing your food well can also lead to air swallowing and a bloated belly.
You should also limit your consumption of carbonated drinks as the fizz can cause gas to be trapped in your belly.
How To Lose Belly Fat Fast - 7 Proven Ways Without Exercise
Have you wondered why you can’t lose belly fat even though you worked hard at exercising your midsection?
While exercise is important to keeping your body fit and healthy, your diet determines 90% of your success with belly fat and weight loss.
When you exercise your abdominals, you are strengthening and building your abdominal muscles. However, the visceral fat buried behind your abdominal muscles are not affected by your exercises (6).
Abs are made in the kitchen. I was able to lose my post twin pregnancy belly without doing any sit-ups nor crunches!
Without further ado, here are the 7 evidence-based ways to lose belly fat fast:
1. Eat foods rich in soluble fiber
Studies have found that eating more fiber-rich foods can significantly reduce your abdominal fat (7).
While we often hear that eating more fiber can help you lose weight, not all fiber are created equal.
Soluble and viscous fibers bind with water to form a thick gel in your gut. This gel can slow the movement of food through your stomach, resulting in a prolonged feeling of satiety and reduced appetite (8).
A 5-year study found that eating 10 grams of soluble fiber per day significantly reduced abdominal fat, without affecting the amount of fat under the skin. This is potentially helpful if you are looking to lose belly fat without losing weight anywhere else.
To increase your fiber intake, eat lots of plant foods like vegetables and fruits. Legumes (beans), flax seeds and oats are also good sources.
2. Eat more protein
Adding more protein into your diet may be the single most effective long-term strategy to reduce your belly fat and lose weight.
So what are some good protein sources? Foods such as whole eggs, fish, seafood, meat, nuts, legumes, and dairy products are rich in protein.
If you struggle with getting enough protein into your diet, then a quality protein supplement, such as whey protein, is a healthy and convenient alternative to boost your intake.
3. Eat probiotic foods or take probiotic supplements
Probiotics are bacteria found in some fermented foods and supplements. They provide many health benefits including enhancing your gut health, boosting the immune system, and even regulate your weight (12).
Studies have found that bacteria belonging to the Lactobacillus family, including Lactobacillus gasseri, Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus amylovorus, may reduce belly fat(13, 14, 15).
Probiotic supplements typically contain several types of bacteria, so make sure you purchase one that provides one or more of these bacterial strains like this one.
4. Add apple cider vinegar
The scope of apple cider vinegar health benefits is wide and impressive, including improved skin and digestive health.
The acetic acid found in apple cider vinegar has been shown to reduce abdominal fat accumulation in animal studies (16).
5. Spice up your food
Cayenne peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, which is known to boost your body’s metabolism, causing your body to produce extra heat and burn more calories for fuel. Capsaicin has also been shown to promote the breakdown of visceral fat in your midsection(18).
There are also many ginger benefits for weight loss, and ginger works well for reducing the bloat in your belly. Coriander is another spice excellent for reducing belly bloat.
6. Cut refined carbs from your diet
Reducing carb intake, especially refined carbs, can be very beneficial for losing fat, including abdominal fat.
Studies have shown that low-carb diets specifically target the fat in the belly and surrounding organs such as the liver (19).
Even if you just replace refined carbs (white bread, pasta, etc...) with unprocessed starchy carbs, research has shown that this may reduce belly (20).
7. Don’t eat sugar and avoid sugar-sweetened drinks
Sugar is a major culprit when it comes to weight gain, especially processed or refined sugar. Many studies have shown that excess sugar directly leads to the accumulation of belly fat (21).
Sugar-sweetened drinks are even worse for you because they are empty calories and can lead you to eat more total calories.
If you are trying to lose belly fat and weight, minimize your intake of sugar and consider completely removing sugary drinks from your diet. A healthier alternative to processed sugar is raw honey due to its numerous beneficial enzymes and minerals. For cooking or baking, maple syrup is a more suitable alternative than raw honey as it is heat stable.
A great alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages is flavored detox waters that are infused with whole fruits, herbs, and spices.
Lastly, if you are trying to lose your belly fat, don’t rely on the scale to track your progress. The scale numbers may not always reflect the changes in your waistline.
Use a measuring tape around your belly button and record your belly size on a weekly basis. Always do this first thing in the morning before you eat or drink to ensure that you are getting a consistent baseline measurement.
Have you found other ways to get rid of belly fat? Please share in the comment below!
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