3. Cut Carbs From Your Diet
Carb restriction is a very effective way to lose fat.
This is supported by numerous studies… when people cut carbs, their appetite goes down and they lose weight.
Over 20 randomized controlled trials have now shown that low-carb diets lead to 2-3 times more weight loss than low-fat diets.
This is true even when the low-carb groups are allowed to eat as much as they want, while the low-fat groups are calorie restricted and hungry.
Low-carb diets also lead to quick reductions in water weight, which gives people near instant results… a major difference on the scale is often seen within a few days.
There are also studies comparing low-carb and low-fat diets, showing that low-carb diets specifically target the fat in the belly, and around the organs and liver.
What this means is that a particularly high proportion of the fat lost on a low-carb dietis the dangerous and disease promoting abdominal fat.
Just avoiding the refined carbs (white breads, pastas, etc) should be sufficient, especially if you keep your protein high.
However… if you need to lose weight fast, then consider dropping your carbs down to 50 grams per day. This will put your body into ketosis, killing your appetite and making your body start burning primarily fats for fuel.
Of course, low-carb diets have many other health benefits besides just weight loss. They can have life-saving effects in type 2 diabetics, for example.
4. Eat Foods Rich in Fiber… Especially Viscous Fiber
Dietary fiber is mostly indigestible plant matter.
It is often claimed that eating plenty of fiber can help with weight loss.
This is true… but it’s important to keep in mind that not all fiber is created equal.
It seems to be mostly the viscous fibers that have an effect on your weight.
These are fibers that bind water and form a thick gel that “sits” in the gut.
This gel can dramatically slow the movement of food through your stomach and small bowel, and slow down the digestion and absorption of nutrients. The end result is a prolonged feeling of fullness and reduced appetite.
One review study found that an additional 14 grams of fiber per day were linked to a 10% decrease in calorie intake and weight loss of 2 kg (4.5 lbs) over 4 months.
In one 5-year study, eating 10 grams of soluble fiber per day was linked to a 3.7% reduction in the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity, but it had no effect on the amount of fat under the skin.
What this implies, is that soluble fiber may be particularly effective at reducing the harmful belly fat.
The best way to get more fiber is to eat a lot of plant foods like vegetables and fruit. Legumes are also a good source, as well as some cereals like oats.
Then you could also try taking a fiber supplement like glucomannan. This is one of the most viscous dietary fibers in existence, and has been shown to cause weight loss in many studies.
Bottom Line: There is some evidence that soluble dietary fiber may lead to reduced amounts of belly fat, which should cause major improvements in metabolic health.
5. Aerobic Exercise is Very Effective at Reducing Belly Fat
Exercise is important for various reasons.
It is among the best things you can do if you want to live a long, healthy life and avoid disease.
Getting into all of the amazing health benefits of exercise is beyond the scope of this article, but exercise does appears to be effective at reducing belly fat.
However… keep in mind that I’m not talking about abdominal exercises here. Spot reduction (losing fat in one spot) is not possible, and doing endless amounts of crunches will not make you lose fat from the belly.
In one study, 6 weeks of training just the abdominal muscles had no measurable effect on waist circumference or the amount of fat in the abdominal cavity.
That being said, other types of exercise can be very effective.
Aerobic exercise (like walking, running, swimming, etc) has been shown to cause major reductions in belly fat in numerous studies .
Another study found that exercise completely prevented people from re-gaining abdominal fat after weight loss, implying that exercise is particularly important during weight maintenance .
Exercise also leads to reduced inflammation, blood sugar levels and all the other metabolic abnormalities that are associated with central obesity .
Bottom Line: Exercise can be very effective if you are trying to lose belly fat. Exercise also has a number of other health benefits.
6. Track Your Foods and Figure Out Exactly What and How Much You Are Eating
What you eat is important. Pretty much everyone knows this.
However… surprisingly, most people actuallydon’t have a clue what they are really eating.
People think they’re eating “high protein,” “low-carb” or whatever… but tend to drastically over- or underestimate.
I think that for anyone who truly wants to optimize their diet, tracking things for a while is absolutely essential.
It doesn’t mean you need to weigh and measure everything for the rest of your life, but doing it every now and then for a few days in a row can help you realize where you need to make changes.
If you want to boost your protein intake to 25-30% of calories, as recommended above, just eating more protein rich foods won’t cut it. You need to actually measure and fine tune in order to reach that goal.
Check out these articles here for a calorie calculator and a list of free online tools and apps to track what you are eating.
I personally do this every few months… I weigh and measure everything I eat to see what my current diet is looking like.
Then I know exactly where to make adjustments in order to get closer to my goals.