20 Effective Tips to Lose Belly Fat
Belly fat is more than a nuisance that causes your clothes to feel tight.
It’s severely harmful.
This type of fat — referred to as visceral fat — is a higher risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other conditions (1).
Many health institutions use BMI (body mass index) to classify weight and predict the risk of metabolic disease.
However, this is misleading, as people with excess belly fat are at an extended risk even if they look thin on the outside.
Though losing fat from this area can be difficult, there are several things you can do to reduce excess abdominal fat.
Here are 20 effective tips to lose belly fat, backed by scientific studies.
1. Eat Plenty of Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel that aids slow down food as it crawls through your digestive system.
Studies show that this type of fiber supports weight loss by helping you feel full, so you naturally eat less. It may also reduce the number of calories your body absorbs from food.
What’s more, soluble fiber may help fight belly fat.
An observational study in over 1,100 adults found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake, belly fat gain lowered by 3.7% over a 5-year period (6).
Attempt to consume high-fiber foods every day. Excellent sources of soluble fiber include flaxseed, shirataki noodles, Brussels sprouts, avocados, legumes, and blackberries.
Soluble fiber may help you lose weight by boosting fullness and reducing calorie absorption. Try to include plenty of high-fiber foods in your weight-loss diet.
2. Avoid Foods That Contain Trans Fats
Trans fats are produced by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats, such as soybean oil.
They’re found in some margarine and spreads and also often added to packaged foods.
These fats have been connected to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance and abdominal fat gain in observational and animal studies (7, 8, 9).
A 6-year study found that monkeys who ate a high-trans-fat diet gained 33% more abdominal fat than those eating a diet high in monounsaturated fat (10).
To help diminish belly fat and protect your health, read ingredient labels thoroughly and stay away from products that carry trans fats. These are often listed as partially hydrogenated fats.
Some studies have linked a high consumption of trans fat with increased belly fat gain. Whether or not you are trying to lose weight, limiting your intake of trans fat is a good idea.
3. Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol can have health advantages in small amounts but is severely harmful if you drink too much.
Research advises that too much alcohol can also make you gain belly fat.
Observational studies link heavy alcohol consumption to a significantly developed risk of central obesity — that is, excess fat storage around the waist (11, 12).
Cutting back on alcohol may help decrease your waist size. You don’t need to give it up altogether but limiting the amount you drink in a single day can help.
In a study in more than 2,000 people, those who took alcohol daily but averaged less than one drink per day had less belly fat than those who drank less regularly but consumed more alcohol on the days they drank (12).
Lavish alcohol intake has been associated with increased belly fat. If you need to decrease your waistline, consider drinking alcohol in moderation or abstaining entirely.
4. Eat a High-Protein Diet
Protein is a remarkably important nutrient for weight control.
High protein consumption increases the release of the fullness hormone PYY, which decreases appetite and promotes fullness. Protein also raises your metabolic rate and helps you retain muscle mass during weight loss (13, 14, 15).
Many observational studies show that people who eat more protein tend to have less abdominal fat than those who eat a lower-protein diet (16, 17, 18).
Be sure to add a good protein source at every meal, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, whey protein or beans.
High protein foods, such as fish, lean meat, and beans, are ideal if you’re trying to shed some extra pounds around your waist.
5. Reduce Your Stress Levels
A study reveals that high cortisol levels increase appetite and drive abdominal fat storage (19, 20).
What’s more, women who previously have a large waist tend to produce more cortisol in response to stress. Increased cortisol further adds to fat gain around the middle (21).
To help reduce belly fat, involve pleasurable activities that relieve stress. Practicing yoga or meditation can be effective methods.
Stress may promote fat gain around your waist. Minimizing stress should be one of your priorities if you’re trying to lose weight.
6. Don’t Eat a Lot of Sugary Foods
Stress can make you obtain belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.
Sugar contains fructose, which has been linked to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess.
These include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease.
Observational studies revealed a relationship between high sugar intake and increased abdominal fat.
It’s important to understand that more than just refined sugar can lead to belly fat gain. Even healthier sugars, such as real honey, should be used sparingly.
Excessive sugar consumption is a larger cause of weight gain in many people. Limit your intake of candy and processed foods high in added sugar.
7. Do Aerobic Exercise (Cardio)
Aerobic exercise (cardio) is an efficient way to improve your health and burn calories.
Researches also reveal that it’s one of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing belly fat. However, results are mixed as to whether moderate-intensity or high-intensity exercise is more beneficial.
In any case, the regularity and duration of your exercise program are more important than its intensity.
One study found that postmenopausal women lost more fat from all areas when they did aerobic exercise for 300 minutes per week, compared to those who exercised 150 minutes per week (30).
Aerobic exercise is an active weight loss method. Studies suggest it’s particularly effective in slimming your waistline.
8. Cut Back on Carbs, Especially Refined Carbs
Decreasing your carb intake can be very beneficial for losing fat, including abdominal fat.
Diets with under 50 grams of carbs per day antecedent belly fat loss in overweight people, those at risk of type 2 diabetes and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) .
You don’t have to follow a strict low-carb diet. Some research suggests that only replacing refined carbs with unprocessed starchy carbs may improve metabolic health and reduce belly fat.
In the famous Framingham Heart Study, people with the highest consumption of whole grains were 17% less likely to have excess abdominal fat than those who consumed diets high in refined grains.
High consumption of refined carbs is associated with excessive belly fat. Consider reducing your carb intake or replacing refined carbs in your diet with healthy carb sources, such as whole grains, legumes or vegetables.
9. Replace Some of Your Cooking Fats With Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats you can eat.
Researches show that the medium-chain fats in coconut oil may boost metabolism and decrease the amount of fat you store in response to high-calorie intake (37, 38).
Controlled studies suggest it may also lead to an abdominal fat loss.
In one study, obese men who took coconut oil daily for 12 weeks lost an average of 1.1 inches (2.86 cm) from their waists without intentionally changing their diets or exercise routines.
To boost belly fat loss, it’s best to take about two tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil per day, which is the amount used in most of the studies reporting good results.
Coconut oil is still high in calories. Instead of adding extra fat to your diet, replace some of the fats you’re already eating with coconut oil.
Studies suggest that using coconut oil instead of other cooking oils may help reduce abdominal fat.
10. Perform Resistance Training (Lift Weights)
Resistance training, also known as weight lifting or strength training, is necessary for preserving and gaining muscle mass.
Based on studies in people with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease, resistance training may also be beneficial for belly fat loss (41, 42).
One study in overweight teenagers revealed that a combination of strength training and aerobic exercise led to the numerous decrease in visceral fat (43).
If you decide to start lifting weights, it’s a great idea to get help from a certified personal trainer.
Strength training can be an essential weight loss strategy and may help reduce belly fat. Studies suggest it’s even more effective in combination with aerobic exercise.
11. Avoid Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Sugar-sweetened beverages are packed with liquid fructose, which can make you gain belly fat.
Studies show that sugary drinks lead to increased fat in the liver. One 10-week study found significant abdominal fat gain in people who consumed beverages high in fructose (44, 45, 46).
Sugary beverages appear to be even worse than high-sugar foods.
Since your brain doesn’t process liquid calories the same way it does solid ones, you’re likely to end up consuming too many calories later on and storing them as fat (47, 48).
To lose belly fat, it’s best to completely avoid sugar-sweetened beverages such as soda, punch and sweet tea, as well as alcoholic mixers comprising sugar.
Avoiding all liquid forms of sugar, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, is very necessary if you’re trying to shed some extra pounds.
12. Get Plenty of Restful Sleep
Sleep is important for multiple features of your health, including weight. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain more weight, which may include belly fat (49, 50).
A 16-year study in more than 68,000 women found that those who slept less than five hours per night were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who slept seven hours or more per night (51).
The condition known as sleep apnea, where breathing stops intermittently during the night, has also been linked to excess visceral fat (52).
In addition to sleeping at least seven hours per night, make sure you’re getting sufficient quality sleep.
If you suspect you may have slumber apnea or another sleep disorder, speak to a doctor and get treated.
Sleep deprivation is associated with an increased risk of weight gain. Getting enough high-quality sleep should be one of your main priorities if you plan to lose weight and improve your health.
13. Track Your Food Intake and Exercise
Many items can help you lose weight and belly fat, but consuming fewer calories than your body needs for weight maintenance is key (53).
Keeping a food diary or doing an online food tracker or app can help you monitor your calorie intake. This strategy has been shown to be beneficial for weight loss (54, 55).
Also, food-tracking tools assist you to see your consumption of protein, carbs, fiber, and micronutrients. Many also allow you to record your exercise and physical activity.
You can find five free apps/website to track nutrient and calorie intake on this page.
As general weight-loss advice, it’s always a good idea to keep track of what you’re eating. Keeping a food diary or using an online food tracker are two of the most popular ways to do this.
14. Eat Fatty Fish Every Week
Fatty fish are wonderfully healthy.
They’re rich in tone protein and omega-3 fats that protect you from disease (56, 57).
Some evidence implies that these omega-3 fats may also help reduce visceral fat.
Studies in adults and children with the fatty liver disease show that fish oil complements can significantly reduce liver and abdominal fat (58, 59, 60).
Aim to get 2–3 servings of fatty fish per week. Good choices include salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, and anchovies.
Eating fatty fish or taking omega-3 supplements may increase your overall health. Some evidence also suggests it may reduce belly fat in people with the fatty liver disease.
15. Stop Drinking Fruit Juice
Although fruit juice replenishes vitamins and minerals, it’s just as high in sugar as soda and other sweetened beverages.
Drinking large quantities may carry the same risk of abdominal fat gain (61).
An 8-ounce (240-ml) serving of unsweetened apple juice contains 24 grams of sugar, half of which is fructose (62).
To help decrease excess belly fat, replace fruit juice with water, unsweetened iced tea or sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime.
When it befalls to fat gain, fruit juice can be just as bad as sugary soda. Consider withdrawing all sources of liquid sugar to increase your chance of successfully losing weight.
16. Add Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Diet
Drinking apple cider vinegar has wonderful health benefits, including lessening blood sugar levels (63).
It carries acetic acid, which has been proved to reduce abdominal fat storage in several animal studies (64, 65, 66).
In a 12-week controlled study in obese men, those who took one tablespoon (15 ml) of apple cider vinegar per day lost half an inch (1.4 cm) from their waists (67).
Taking 1–2 tablespoons (15–30 ml) of apple cider vinegar per day is safe for most people and may lead to a modest fat loss.
Notwithstanding, be sure to dilute it with water, as undiluted vinegar can erode the enamel on your teeth.
Apple cider vinegar may assist you to lose some weight. Animal studies suggest it may reduce belly fat.
17. Eat Probiotic Foods or Take a Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics are bacteria detected in some foods and supplements. They have many health benefits, including improved gut health and enhanced immune function (68).
Researchers have discovered that different types of bacteria play a role in weight regulation and that having the right balance can help with weight loss, including loss of belly fat.
Those proved to reduce belly fat include members of the Lactobacillus family, such as Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus amylovorus and especially Lactobacillus gasseri (69, 70, 71, 72).
Probiotic supplements typically contain several types of bacteria, so make sure you acquire one that provides one or more of these bacterial strains.
Taking probiotic supplements may support a healthy digestive system. Studies also suggest that beneficial gut bacteria may help weight loss.
18. Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has freshly become very popular for weight loss.
It’s an eating pattern that cycles within periods of eating and periods of fasting.
One popular method involves 24-hour fasts once or twice a week. Another consists of fasting every day for 16 hours and eating all your food within an 8 hour period.
In a survey of studies on periodic fasting and alternate-day fasting, people experienced a 4–7% decrease in abdominal fat within 6–24 weeks (74).
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that alternates between periods of eating and fasting. Studies suggest that it may be one of the most effective ways of losing weight and belly fat.
19. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is an exceptionally healthy beverage.
It comprises caffeine and the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), both of which seem to boost metabolism.
EGCG is catechin, which several studies suggest may be effective in losing belly fat. The effect may be strengthened when green tea consumption is connected with exercise.
Regularly drinking green tea has been linked to weight loss, though it’s probably not sufficient on its own and best combined with exercise.
20. Change Your Lifestyle and Combine Different Methods
Just doing one of the items on this list won’t have a big effect on its own.
If you want good results, you need to connect different methods that have been shown to be effective.
Interestingly, many of these are things generally connected with healthy eating and an overall healthy lifestyle.
Therefore, changing your lifestyle for the long term is the key to losing your belly fat and putting it off.
When you have healthy habits and eat real food, fat loss tends to follow as a natural side effect.
Losing weight and keeping it off is impossible unless you permanently change your dietary habits and lifestyle.
There are no magic explications to losing belly fat.
Weight loss always demands some effort, commitment, and determination on your behalf.
Successfully utilizing some or all of the strategies and lifestyle goals discussed in this article will help you lose the extra pounds around your waist.