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 Flat Belly Barre!)
The newest information on how to lose belly fat for good.
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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 2018 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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This time, eat protein like you mean it.
This time, eat protein like you mean it
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.
A diet high in protein may protect you against insulin resistance. 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 fatâ€”including visceral pudgeâ€”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 Japanese study. “One theory is that the acetic acid in the vinegar produces proteins that burn up fat,” explains Pamela Peeke, professor of medicine – 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 2018 study. Or, if you’re just not that into downward dog, any sort of relaxation exercise, even simple deep breathing, can helpâ€”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.)
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