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9 Proven Ways To Lose Stubborn Belly Fat
And one really good reason why ignoring it is no longer an option.
By Hallie Levine
5 Proven Ways To Lose Belly Fat
Belly fat is maligned for its way of tampering with any outfit that doesn’t involve a muumuu, but really there’s something way worse about the stuff: When white fat expands in your abdomen, nestling deep among your organs, it sets you up for some serious health trouble.
We now know that this type of fat, called visceral fat, churns out stress hormones like cortisol and inflammatory substances called cytokines that affect the body’s production of insulin. The result: It’s worse than just being generally overweight; you’re looking at increased risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. (Give your entire body a shape-up in just minutes a day with the exclusive ballet-inspired routines from Prevention’s Flat Belly Barre!)
Read on for the newest information on how to lose belly fat for good.
MORE: The Crunch-Less Abs Workout That Sculpts Your Stomach In All The Right Places
Never stop moving.
Never stop moving
There’s one thing to like about visceral fat: It yields fairly easily to aerobic exercise. Vaporizing calories via running, biking, swimming—anything that gets your heart rate up—wins over resistance training when it comes to getting rid of the stuff. A 2011 study from Duke, published in the American Journal of Physiology, found the sweet spot: Jogging the equivalent of 12 miles a week will help you lose belly fat.
Not ready to run yet? Here’s how to start walking for weight loss:
Walk Stronger: How to Start Walking When You Have 50+ Pounds To Lose
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MORE: 50 Ways To Lose 10 Pounds
This time, eat protein like you mean it.
This time, eat protein like you mean it
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Of course you know that protein’s essential for a slimmer you and essential for losing belly fat—you couldn’t have made it through the Paleo and South Beach crazes without hearing all about it. But here’s why protein really needs to play a prime roll on your plate: “Your body starts to produce more insulin as you age, since your muscle and fat cells aren’t responding to it properly,” explains Louis Aronne, MD, Director of the Obesity Clinic at Cornell. And insulin promotes fat storage, especially around your belly (yippee!).
A diet high in protein may protect you against insulin resistance, Aronne says. One easy way to up your intake is to add Organic Whey Protein to your smoothies, meals, or snacks. (You can also meal prep these 6 protein-packed recipes that will actually last all week.)
In one study, obese women who followed a diet for eight weeks that was roughly 30% protein, 40% carbs, and 30% fat lost significantly more fat—including visceral pudge—than women who stuck to a plan that was 16% protein, 55% carbs, and 26% fat.
Pound the polyunsaturates.
Choose your fats carefully
This just in: Saturated fat packs on more visceral fat than polyunsaturated ones, according to a 2014 Swedish study. When subjects ate 750 more calories daily for seven weeks, either in the form of palm oil (saturated) or sunflower oil (polyunsaturated), the former gained more visceral fat while the latter gained more muscle mass and less body fat. You know the deal: Polyunsaturated fats are the ones in nuts, seeds, and fish and can help you lose belly fat. (Here are 4 ridiculously healthy seeds you should be eating every single day.)
Head spinning? Check out this handy chart on good fats vs bad fats.
Obese people who consumed a tablespoon or two of vinegar daily for eight weeks showed significant decreases in body fat, particularly visceral fat, according to a 2009 Japanese study. “One theory is that the acetic acid in the vinegar produces proteins that burn up fat,” explains Pamela Peeke, professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and author of Fight Fat After 40.
MORE: 4 Things That Happen When You Drink Apple Cider Vinegar With Every Meal
Postmenopausal women who tried yoga for 16 weeks reported significant reductions in visceral fat in one 2012 study. Or, if you’re just not that into downward dog, any sort of relaxation exercise, even simple deep breathing, can help—the key is to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is linked to belly fat. (Try these 2-minute stress solutions to calm down fast.)
Try this 10-minute yoga routine for weight loss:
Yoga for Weight Loss: 10-Minute Practice for All-Day Energy
Routinely squeaking by on five hours or less per night increases visceral fat levels, according to a 2010 Wake Forest University study. As you likely already know, 8 hours is the number to aim for and is ideal for losing belly fat. These 20 ways to sleep better every night can help.
MORE: These Cooling Pillows Are Perfect For Sweaty Sleepers
…but don’t sleep late on weekends.
…but don’t sleep late on weekends
Women who wake up and go to bed at the same time each evening have lower levels of body fat, according to a recent Brigham Young University study. Chaotic sleep habits cause your internal clock to go haywire, which in turn causes your body to secrete fat-storing hormones like cortisol. (Avoid these 10 more unhealthy weekend habits that set you up for a less-than-stellar week.)
Become the queen of this tea.
Get more green
Moderate exercisers who stocked up on the antioxidants found in green tea, called catechins, were more likely to lose belly fat while exercising than those who didn’t take them. One study put the daily dose at 625 mg, the equivalent of two or three eight-ounce cups of green tea. (Follow these steps to make the perfect cup of tea.)
This is your body on good-for-you green tea:
As in, make sure you’re eating a lot of it. In a 2011 trial, subjects who increased their soluble fiber intake by 10 grams a day (the equivalent of two small apples, one cup of green peas, and one half cup of pinto beans) reduced visceral fat by 3.7% after five years.
MORE: 6 Hearty Bean Soups That Will Keep You Full For Hours
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20 Effective Tips to Lose Belly Fat (Backed by Science)
Belly fat is more than just a nuisance that makes your clothes feel tight.
Fat inside the belly area is also termed visceral fat, and it is seriously harmful.
This type of fat is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and heart disease, to name a few (1).
Many health organizations use BMI (body mass index) to classify weight and predict the risk of metabolic disease. However, this is misleading.
People with excess belly fat are at an increased risk, even if they look thin on the outside (2).
Although 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.
- Eat Plenty of Soluble Fiber
Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system.
Studies show this type of fiber promotes weight loss by helping you feel full so you naturally eat less. It may also decrease the amount of calories your body absorbs from food (3, 4, 5).
What’s more, soluble fiber may help fight belly fat. An observational study of over 1100 adults found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake, belly fat gain decreased by 3.7% over a 5-year period (6).
Make an effort to consume high-fiber foods every day. Excellent sources of soluble fiber include flaxseeds, shirataki noodles, Brussels sprouts, avocados, legumes and blackberries.
- Avoid Foods That Contain Trans Fats
Trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats such as soybean oil.
They’re found in some margarines and spreads, and they’re also added to some packaged foods.
These fats have been linked 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 monkeys that ate a diet high in monounsaturated fat (10).
To help reduce belly fat and protect your health, read ingredient labels carefully and stay away from products that contain trans fats. These are often listed as “partially hydrogenated” fats.
- Don’t Drink Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol can have health benefits in small amounts, but it is seriously harmful if you drink too much.
Research suggests too much alcohol can also make you gain belly fat.
Observational studies link heavy alcohol consumption with significantly increased risk of central obesity — that is, excess fat storage around the waist (11, 12).
Cutting back on alcohol may help reduce your waist size. You don’t need to give it up altogether if you enjoy it, but limiting the amount you drink in a single day can help.
In a study of more than 2000 people, those who drank alcohol daily but averaged less than one drink per day had less belly fat than those who drank less frequently but consumed more alcohol on the days they did drink (12).
- Eat a High-Protein Diet
Protein is an extremely important nutrient for weight control.
High protein intake increases 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 include a good protein source at every meal, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, whey protein or nuts.
- Reduce Your Stress Levels
Stress can make you gain belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone.”
Research shows high cortisol levels increase appetite and drive abdominal fat storage (19, 20).
What’s more, women who already 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, engage in pleasurable activities that relieve stress. Practicing yoga or meditation can be effective methods.
- Don’t Eat a Lot of Sugary Foods
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 (22, 23, 24).
Observational studies show a relationship between high sugar intake and increased abdominal fat (25, 26).
It’s important to realize that more than just refined sugar can lead to belly fat gain. Even “healthier” sugars (such as real honey) should be used sparingly.
- Do Aerobic Exercise (Cardio)
Aerobic exercise (cardio) is an effective way to improve health and burn calories.
Studies also show it is one of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing belly fat. However, results are mixed regarding whether moderate-intensity or high-intensity exercise is more beneficial (27, 28, 29).
Regardless of intensity, how often and how much you exercise is important. One study found postmenopausal women lost more fat from all areas when they did aerobic exercise for 300 minutes per week versus 150 minutes per week (30).
- Cut Back on Carbs, Especially Refined Carbs
Reducing carb intake can be very beneficial for losing fat, including abdominal fat.
Diets with under 50 grams of carbs per day cause belly fat loss in overweight people, those at risk of type 2 diabetes and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (31, 32, 33).
You don’t have to follow a strict low-carb diet. Some research suggests that simply replacing refined carbs with unprocessed starchy carbs may improve metabolic health and reduce belly fat (34, 35).
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 (36).
- Replace Some of Your Cooking Fats With Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats you can eat.
Studies 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 abdominal fat loss.
In one study, obese men who took coconut oil daily for 12 weeks lost an average of 1.1 inch (2.86 cm) from their waists without intentionally changing their diets or exercise routines (39, 40).
To boost belly fat loss, it’s best to take about 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil per day, which is the amount used in most of the studies reporting good results.
However, keep in mind that coconut oil is still high in calories. Instead of adding extra fat to your diet, replace some of the fats you are already eating with coconut oil.
- Perform Resistance Training (Lift Weights)
Resistance training, also known as weight lifting or strength training, is important 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).
In fact, one study in overweight teenagers showed that a combination of strength training and aerobic exercise led to the greatest decrease in visceral fat (43).
If you decide to start weight lifting, it is a good idea to get advice from a certified personal trainer.
- Avoid Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Sugar-sweetened beverages are loaded 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 showed 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. Because 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 containing sugar.
- Get Plenty of Restful Sleep
Sleep is important for many aspects of health, including your 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 of more than 68,000 women found those who slept less than 5 hours per night were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who slept 7 hours or more per night (51).
The condition known as sleep apnea, where breathing actually stops intermittently during the night, has also been linked to excess visceral fat (52).
In addition to sleeping at least 7 hours per night, make sure you’re getting sufficient quality sleep.
If you suspect you may have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, speak to a doctor and get treated.
- Track Your Food Intake and Exercise
Many things 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 using 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).
In addition, food-tracking tools help you see your intake of protein, carbs, fiber and micronutrients. Many also allow you to record your exercise and physical activity.
You can find 5 free apps/website to track nutrient and calorie intake on this page.
- Eat Fatty Fish Every Week
Fatty fish are incredibly healthy.
They are rich in quality protein and omega-3 fats that protect you from disease (56, 57).
Some evidence also suggests that these omega-3 fats may help reduce visceral fat.
Studies in adults and children with fatty liver disease show fish oil supplements 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.
- Stop Drinking Fruit Juice
Although fruit juice provides vitamins and minerals, it’s just as high in sugar as soda and other sweetened beverages.
Drinking large amounts may carry the same risk for abdominal fat gain (61).
An 8-ounce (248-gram) serving of unsweetened apple juice contains 24 grams of sugar, half of which is fructose (62).
To help reduce excess belly fat, replace fruit juice with water, unsweetened iced tea or sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime.
- Add Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Diet
Drinking apple cider vinegar has impressive health benefits, including lowering blood sugar levels (63).
It contains a compound called acetic acid, which has been shown to reduce abdominal fat storage in several animal studies (64, 65, 66).
In a controlled study of obese men, those who took 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per day for 12 weeks lost half an inch (1.4 cm) from their waists (67).
Although no other human studies yet exist, taking 1 to 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day is safe for most people and may lead to modest fat loss.
- Eat Probiotic Foods or Take a Probiotic Supplement
Probiotics are bacteria found in some foods and supplements. They have all sorts of health benefits, including improved gut health and enhanced immune function (68).
Researchers have found different types of bacteria play a role in weight regulation, and having the right balance can help with weight loss, including loss of belly fat.
Those shown to reduce belly fat include members of the Lactobacillus family. These include Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus amylovorus and especially Lactobacillus gasseri (69, 70, 71, 72).
Probiotic supplements typically contain several types of bacteria, so make sure you purchase one that provides one or more of these bacterial strains.
- Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting has recently become very popular for weight loss.
It is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and periods of fasting (73).
One popular method involves 24-hour fasts once or twice a week. Another involves fasting every day for 16 hours and eating all your food in an 8 hour period.
In a review of studies on intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting, people experienced a 4–7% decrease in abdominal fat within a period of 6-24 weeks (74).
More details: How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight and Belly Fat.
- Drink Green Tea
Green tea is an exceptionally healthy beverage.
It contains caffeine and the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), both of which appear to boost metabolism (75, 76).
EGCG is a catechin, which several studies suggest may be effective for losing belly fat. The effect may be strengthened when green tea consumption is combined with exercise (77, 78, 79).
- Change Your Lifestyle and Combine Different Methods
If you do just one of the items on this list, then it won’t have a big effect on its own.
If you want good results, then you need to combine different methods that have been shown to be effective.
Interestingly, many of these are the same things we generally associate 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 keeping it off.
When you have healthy habits and eat real food, fat loss tends to follow as a natural side effect.
22 Ways to Lose 2 Inches of Belly Fat in 2 Weeks
A slimmer waist, healthier body, and reduced risk of chronic disease start today with these belly fat-fighting tips.
22 Ways to Lose 2 Inches of Belly Fat in 2 Weeks
Let’s face it: that marshmallowy middle you’re sporting didn’t get there overnight. Stressful days at the office, indulging in one-too-many cheat meals, or finding excuses to skip a day, week, or month’s worth of workouts are all making it easy to pack on the pounds and making it difficult to get them off.
Watching that extra junk around your trunk turn your body into a full-blown Buddha belly puts you at an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and early death. Luckily, losing the weight doesn’t have to take forever; with these 22 belly fat-fighting tips, you can shave two inches off your waistline in as little as two weeks. Think your age will stand in the way of your weight loss? The 20 Ways to Lose Your Belly When You’re Older will help folks of any age get on track to their best body ever.
Start Your Day Early
Woman at window
Don’t let extra hours lounging in bed stand between you and a flatter belly. While getting enough sleep can help boost your metabolic rate, sleeping in may undo any benefit you’d enjoy from catching a few extra winks. One study reveals that late sleepers who snoozed past 10:45 in the morning ate nearly 250 more calories over the course of the day, despite eating half as many fruits and vegetables as their early bird counterparts. Even worse, they chowed down on more salty, sugary, and trans fat-laden fast food than those who woke up earlier. If you happen to head out of the house early, you’re in for an additional metabolic boost; researchers at Northwestern University have found that people exposed to just a short period of early morning sunlight had lower BMIs than their late-waking counterparts.
Bring on the Berries
Blueberries in bowl
Instead of satisfying your sweet tooth with some refined sugar, turn to berries and enjoy a slimmer waistline in no time. Berries are loaded with antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, and research from the University of Michigan reveals that rats given a berry-rich diet shaved off a significant proportion of their belly fat when compared to a control group. Berries like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are also loaded with resveratrol, an antioxidant pigment that has been linked to reductions in belly fat and a reduced risk of dementia, to boot.
Skip the Hydrogenated Oils
Those trans fats on your menu are hiding out in plain sight and sabotaging your lean belly plans every time you eat them. If a food product says it contains partially hydrogenated oils, you’re eating trans fat, which can increase your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity with every bite. In fact, research conducted at Wake Forest University reveals that monkeys whose diets contained eight percent trans fat upped their body fat by 7.2 percent over a six-year study, while those who ate monounsaturated fat gained just a fraction of that amount. Instead of letting harmful trans fat take up space on your menu, fill up with the 20 Healthy Fats to Make You Thin.
Switch to Sprouted Bread
Sprouted grain bread
While it’s often assumed that bread is off-limits when you’re trying to lose belly fat, the right bread may actually expedite the process. Switching to sprouted bread can help out carb-lovers eager to get their fix without going up a belt size, thanks to the inulin content of sprouted grains. The results of a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism reveal that found that pre-diabetic study subjects whose diets were supplemented with inulin shaved off more belly fat and total weight than those whose meal plans didn’t pack this healthy prebiotic fiber.
Do you even lift, bro? If you’re serious about getting rid of that belly fat fast, resistance training might just be the key. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that adding weight training to adult male test subjects’ workouts significantly reduced their risk of abdominal obesity over a multi-year study period, although doing the same amount of cardio had no such effect. Research from the University of Maryland even found that just 16 weeks of weight training boosted study participants’ metabolic rates by a whopping 7.7 percent, making it easier to ditch those extra inches around your middle.
Say So Long to Sweeteners
While many people turn to artificial sweeteners in a misguided attempt to whittle their waistlines, those fake sugars are likely to have the opposite effect. According to researchers at Yale, artificial sweeteners are actually linked with an increased risk of abdominal obesity and weight gain, possibly because they can trigger cravings for the real stuff and spike insulin levels in a similar fashion to real sugar.
Make Fiber Your Friend
The secret to a slimmer stomach in no time? A whole lot of fiber in your diet. Although many people are loath to add carbs to their diet when they’re trying to lose weight, adding the right, fiber-rich ones can have inches off your belly in a hurry. In fact, researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that every 10-gram daily increase in soluble fiber was associated with a 3.7 percent decrease in dangerous visceral fat over five years. Those who were active got even leaner, shaving off twice that much fat in the same amount of time. To start ditching that extra belly fat today, add the 30 Best Foods For Fiber to your menu!
Swap Out Ketchup For Salsa
Sure, ketchup is tasty, but it’s also a serious saboteur when it comes your weight loss efforts. Ketchup is loaded with sugar — up to four grams per tablespoon — and bears little nutritional resemblance to the fruit from which it’s derived. Luckily, swapping out your ketchup for salsa can help you shave off that belly fat fast. Fresh tomatoes, like those used in salsa, are loaded with lycopene, which a study conducted at China Medical University in Taiwan links to reductions in both overall fat and waist circumference. If you like your salsa spicy, all the better; the capsaicin in hot peppers, like jalapeños and chipotles, can boost your metabolism, too.
Score Some Rays
While few would suggest you start hitting up the tanning beds for better health, getting some natural sunlight can help you get rid of those extra inches on your waist in a hurry.
Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that vitamin D-deficient overweight women between 50 and 75 who upped their intake of the so-called sunshine vitamin shed more weight and body fat than those who didn’t. To practice safe sun, make sure you’re limiting yourself to 15 sunscreen-free minutes per day.
Nosh on Some Nuts
Sometimes, to whip your body into shape, you have to get a little nutty. While nuts are high in fat, it’s that very fat that makes them such powerful weapons in the war against a ballooning belly. In fact, research from Reina Sofia University Hospital reveals that study participants who consumed a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, like those in nuts, over a 28-day period gained less belly fat than their saturated fat-consuming counterparts while improving their insulin sensitivity.
Instead of subjecting yourself to another endless workout, crank up the intensity and you’ll see results faster than you ever thought possible. The results of a study conducted at McMaster University in Ontario reveal that adult male study subjects who exercised intensely for a single minute had equivalent respiratory and metabolic changes to those who worked out at a slower pace for close to an hour, so if you want to burn through that belly fat, say so long to slow and steady.
Flavor Your Food With Garlic
A little garlic in your meals could mean a lot less weight around your middle. The results of a Korean study found that mice given a high-fat diet supplemented with garlic lost significantly more weight and abdominal fat than those who just ate fatty foods. Even better, they also improved their liver health, making it easier to stay healthy and burn off that excess fat in the long term. For more flavorful ways to make your food more enjoyable, turn to the 20 Spicy Recipes That Fire Up Your Metabolism and watch those pounds melt away.
Keeping a toothbrush handy can do more than polish up that smile (and counter the effects of all that belly-slimming garlic); brushing your teeth throughout the day can also help you ditch that belly fat fast. A study conducted a sample of over 14,000 participants found that brushing after every meal was linked to lower weight. That minty toothpaste flavor not only clashes with virtually every food, brushing may also trigger a Pavlovian response that tells your brain the kitchen’s closed.
Fill Up on Fish
If you’ve got weight to lose and you want it gone fast, try swapping out your usual proteins in favor of fish. Not only is fish lower in calories than an equivalent amount of beef or chicken, a study published in Obesity reveals study subjects who added omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in fish, to their diets shed more weight and had an easier time keeping it off than those who skipped them.
Don’t Give Up on Grains
You don’t have to go low-carb to ditch those extra pounds around your waist in a short period of time. In fact, opting for more whole grains might just get you there faster. Researchers at Tufts University have linked eating three or more daily servings of whole grains to as much as a 10 percent reduction in visceral body fat, the kind that ups your risk for chronic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Add Some Acid
Apple cider vinegar
Don’t buy your tickets to Bonnaroo just yet; the kind of acid that will help you slim down is the stuff right inside your cabinet. A 12-week study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry reveals that obese study subjects who made vinegar part of their diet dropped more belly fat than a control group, and other research suggests that acidic foods, like vinegar, can increase the human carbohydrate metabolism by as much as 40 percent.
Snack on Some Veggies
Your parents weren’t kidding about how important veggies are for a healthy body. What they probably didn’t tell you, however, was that snacking on veggies is also one of the easiest ways to shed unwanted belly fat, too. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, opting for non-starchy veggies, like cauliflower, broccoli, and cucumber, as snacks helped overweight kids shed 17 percent of their visceral fat while improving their insulin sensitivity over a five-year period. Think snacking on veggies will leave you hungry? The 20 Most Filling Fruits and Veggies will have your belly satisfied in no time.
Crank Up the Calcium
Say cheese! Adding some extra calcium to your diet could be the key to getting that flat stomach you’ve been dreaming about. Over just 12 months, researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville found that obese female study subjects who upped their calcium intake shed 11 pounds of body fat without other major dietary modifications. To keep your calcium choices healthy, try mixing it up between dairy sources, calcium-rich leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
Snack on Some Tart Cherries
Basket of cherries
That sour cherry is pretty sweet when it comes to your health. The results of a study conducted at the University of Michigan found that rats given high-fat foods along with tart cherries ditched nine percent more body fat than those in a control group over just 12 weeks. Cherries are also a good source of antioxidant pigment resveratrol, which has been linked to reductions in belly fat, dementia risk, and lower rates of macular degeneration among the elderly.
Hit the Track
You don’t have to be the next Usain Bolt in the making to enjoy some serious belly-slimming results from hitting the track from time to time. Even a moderate-rate jog a few times a week can blast through that belly fat; in fact, a study conducted at Duke University Medical Center found that, over the course of an eight-month study, overweight adult study subjects who jogged 12 miles a week lost the most belly fat and burned 67 percent more calories than participants who did an equivalent amount of resistance exercise, or a combination of cardio and resistance work.
Sleep It Off
Want to lose that belly fat? In your dreams! Seriously, though: a good night’s sleep is one of the best ways to get rid of that extra fat around your waist for good. Among the 60,000 women participating in the Nurses’ Health Study, those who snoozed for fewer than five hours a night were at the greatest risk of becoming obese and gaining 30 or more pounds over the course of the 16-year study period when compared to those who slept for seven or more hours.
Stop treating your kitchen like an all-night diner and you’ll stop seeing those unwanted pounds piling onto your frame, too. The results of a study published in Cell Metabolism found that mice who only had access to food during an eight-hour period stayed slim over the course of the study, while those who ate the same number of calories over a 16-hour period gained significantly more weight, particularly around their middle. When you’re finished with dinner at night, shut the fridge and don’t look back until morning — your belly will thank you. When you do head back to the kitchen in the A.M., make sure the 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen are there waiting for you.Follow Me ---->