We only include products that we believe are of value to our readers. We may receive a commission if you purchase through the links on this page. Here’s our process.
Belly fat can be more than just a problem that makes your clothes feel too tight.
It is extremely harmful.
One type of belly fat — referred to as visceral fat — is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions.
Many health agencies use the body mass index (BMI), to determine weight and predict the likelihood of developing metabolic disease.
However, this is misleading, as people with excess belly fat are at an increased risk even if they look thin
Although it can be hard to lose fat in this area, there are many things you can do.
These 20 proven tips will help you lose belly fat.
1. Consume plenty of soluble fibre
Soluble fiber absorbs water to form a gel which helps slow down food passing through your digestive system.
This type of fiber is proven to promote weight loss. It makes you feel fuller, which means you eat less. It can also reduce the amount of calories your body absorbs through food.
Insoluble fiber can also be used to reduce belly fat
An observational study in over 1,100 adults found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake, belly fat gain decreased by 3.7% over a 5-year period.
High fiber foods should be consumed every day. Excellent sources of soluble fiber include:
Soluble fiber can help you lose weight by increasing your fullness and decreasing calorie absorption. Include high-fiber foods in your weight loss plan.
2. Trans fats should be avoided
Trans fats can be created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats like soybean oil.
They’re found in some margarines and spreads and also often added to packaged foods, but many food producers have stopped using them.
In observational and animal studies, these fats have been shown to be linked to inflammation, heart disease and insulin resistance.
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
To help reduce belly fat and protect your health, read ingredient labels carefully and stay away from products that contain trans fats. These fats are sometimes referred to as partially hydrogenated.
Studies have shown that a high intake trans fat can lead to an increase in belly fat. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to lose weight or not, it is worth limiting your intake.
3. Don’t drink too much alcohol
Alcohol can have health benefits in small amounts, but it’s seriously harmful if you drink too much.
Research suggests that too much alcohol can also make you gain belly fat.
Studies have shown that excessive alcohol intake is linked to an increased risk of developing central obese — that is, extra fat storage around your waist
Your waistline may shrink if you cut back on alcohol. It doesn’t mean you have to stop drinking alcohol completely, but it can be helpful to limit how much you drink each day.
More than 2000 people were involved in a study about alcohol consumption.
Results showed 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 drank.
Increased belly fat has been linked to excessive alcohol consumption. You can reduce your waistline by drinking moderately or completely abstaining from alcohol.
4. Eat a high protein diet
For weight management, protein is an essential nutrient.
High protein intake increases the release of the fullness hormone PYY, which decreases appetite and promotes fullness.
You can also increase your metabolism rate and help you retain muscle mass when you lose weight .
Numerous observational studies have shown that people who eat higher amounts of protein tend to have lower abdominal fat
Be sure to include a good protein source at every meal, such as:
If you are looking to lose some weight, high-protein foods like fish, lean meats, and beans will be a great choice.
5. Reduce your stress levels
Cortisol, also known as stress hormone, can cause belly fat gain by stimulating the adrenal glands to release it.
Research has shown that high levels of cortisol can increase appetite and cause abdominal fat storage (20Trusted Source, 20TrustedSource).
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 .
Engage in activities that reduce stress to help lose belly fat. Practicing yoga or meditation can be effective methods.
Stress can lead to fat gain around the waist. If you want to lose weight, it is important that stress be reduced.
6. Sugary foods should be avoided
Sugar is high in fructose. This has been linked with several chronic diseases.
These include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and fatty liver diseases
Studies by observation show that high sugar intake is associated with increased abdominal fat
Refined sugar alone can cause belly fat gain. Even healthier sugars, such as real honey, should be used sparingly.
Many people are concerned about their sugar intake. Reduce your intake of sugary candy and other processed foods that are high in added sugar.
7. Cardio exercise (cardio).
Aerobic exercise (cardio) is an effective way to improve your health and burn calories.
It’s also proven to be one of the best forms of exercise to reduce belly fat. The results of studies on high-intensity exercise are not consistent
It is more important to exercise regularly and for a longer time than intensity.
One study found that postmenopausal women lost more fat from all areas when they did aerobic exercise for 300 minutes per week, compared with those who exercised 150 minutes per week
Aerobic exercise can be a great way to lose weight. Research suggests that it is particularly effective in slimming your waistline.
8. Reduce carb intake, especially refined carbs
For losing weight, it can be beneficial to reduce your carb intake.
People who are overweight, at-risk for type 2 diabetes, or women with polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), can lose belly fat by eating a diet with less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day
It doesn’t mean you have to eat a low-carb diet. Research suggests that replacing refined carbs by unprocessed starchy carbohydrates may increase metabolic health and decrease 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
Excessive belly fat is linked to a high intake of refined carbohydrates. Reduce your carb intake and replace refined carbs with whole grains, legumes, and vegetables.
9. Coconut oil can be used to replace some of your cooking oils
Coconut oil is one of the healthiest fats you can eat.
Research has shown that medium-chain fats found in coconut oil can increase metabolism and reduce the amount of fat stored in response to high caloric intake
Controlled studies suggest it may also lead to abdominal fat loss
In one study, men with obesity 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
However, evidence for the benefits of coconut oil for abdominal fat loss is weak and controversial
Coconut oil is high in calories. Coconut oil can be used to replace fats in your diet.
Research suggests that coconut oil may be a better option than other cooking oils for reducing abdominal fat.
10. Perform resistance training (lift weights).
For maintaining and growing muscle mass, resistance training (also known as weight lifting, strength training) is essential.
Studies involving prediabetes, type 2, diabetes and fatty liver disease have shown that resistance training can be helpful in reducing belly fat
One study that looked at teenagers who were overweight found that strength training combined with aerobic exercise resulted in the greatest reduction of visceral fat
It’s a smart idea to seek the guidance of a certified personal coach before you start lifting weights.
Strength training is a great way to lose weight and reduce belly fat. Research suggests that strength training is even more effective when combined with aerobic exercise.
11. Sugar-sweetened drinks should be avoided
Sugar-sweetened beverages are loaded with liquid fructose, which can make you gain belly fat.
Sugary drinks are linked to higher levels of liver fat, according to studies. A 10-week study showed significant abdominal fat gain among high fructose drinkers
Sugary drinks appear to be worse than high-sugar foods.
Your brain doesn’t process liquid calories in the same way as it processes solid calories so you might end up eating too many calories and then storing them as calories
It’s best not to drink sugar-sweetened drinks if you want to lose belly fat.
- Sweet tea
- Mixers alcoholic beverages containing sugar
If you are trying to lose weight, it is important to avoid all forms of sugary liquids, including sugar-sweetened beverages.
12. Restful sleep is key.
Your health is dependent on your sleep. Research shows that people who get less sleep are more likely to gain weight .
A 16-year study involving more than 68,000 women found that 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
Excess visceral fat has been linked to sleep apnea .
In addition to sleeping at least 7 hours per night, make sure you’re getting sufficient quality sleep.
Talk to your doctor if you think you might have sleep apnea.
A higher risk of weight gain is associated with sleep deprivation. If you want to lose weight or improve your health, it is important that you get enough quality sleep.
13. Monitor your food intake and do some exercise
There are many things that can help you lose weight or belly fat. However, it is important to eat fewer calories than your body requires for weight maintenance (54Trusted Source).
You can track your calories by keeping a food journal or using an app or online food tracker to help you. This strategy has been proven to be effective in weight loss (55TrustedSource, 56TrustedSource).
Food-tracking tools allow you to track your food intake, including calories, protein, carbs, and fiber. Many allow you to track your exercise and other physical activities.
You can find five free apps/websites to track nutrient and calorie intake on this page.
It’s a good idea to track what you eat as a general advice for weight loss. Two of the most popular methods to track your food intake are keeping a food journal and using an online food tracker.
14. Every week, eat fatty fish
Fatty fish are incredibly healthy.
They are high in quality protein and omega-3 oils that help protect against disease (57TrustedSource, 58TrustedSource).
Evidence suggests that these omega-3 oils may help to reduce visceral fat.
Research in children and adults with fatty liver disease has shown that fish oil supplements can reduce liver and abdominal fat.
Try to eat 2-3 portions of fatty fish each week. These are some of the best choices:
Consuming omega-3 supplements or fatty fish may help improve your overall health. It may also reduce belly fat in those with fatty liver disease, according to some evidence.
15. 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.
An 8-ounce (240-mL) serving of unsweetened apple juice contains 24 grams of sugar, half of which is fructose.
To help reduce excess belly fat, replace fruit juice with water, unsweetened iced tea, or sparkling water with a wedge of lemon or lime.
Fruit juice can cause fat gain just like sugary soda. To reduce your chances of losing weight, avoid all forms of sugary drinks.
16. Add apple cider vinegar to your diet
Drinking apple cider vinegar has impressive health benefits, including lowering blood sugar levels (64Trusted Source).
It is rich in acetic acid which has been shown in animal studies to decrease abdominal fat storage (65TrustedSource, 66TrustedSource, 67TrustedSource).
In a 12-week controlled study in men diagnosed with obesity, those who took 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of apple cider vinegar per day lost half an inch (1.4 cm) from their waists .
Taking 1-2 tablespoons (15-30 mL) of apple cider vinegar per day is safe for most people and may lead to modest fat loss.
Make sure you dilute the vinegar with water as undiluted vinegar can cause enamel erosion.
If you want to try apple cider vinegar, there’s a good selection to choose from online.
Apple cider vinegar could help you lose weight. It may reduce belly fat, according to animal studies.
17. Probiotic food and supplements are recommended.
Probiotics are bacteria found in some foods and supplements. They have many health benefits, including helping improve gut health and enhancing immune function
Researchers discovered that different bacteria types play a role when it comes to weight regulation. This can lead to weight loss and even belly fat loss.
Members of the Lactobacillus Family have been shown to reduce belly fat, including Lactobacillus fermentum and Lactobacillus amylovorus, as well as Lactobacillus gasseri
Probiotic supplements often contain multiple types of bacteria. Make sure to buy one that contains at least one of these strains.
Probiotic supplements can help support a healthy digestive tract. Research also suggests that beneficial gut bacteria could help with weight loss.
18. Intermittent fasting is a good idea.
Intermittent fasting has recently become very popular as a weight loss method.
It’s an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and periods of fasting
One popular method involves 24-hour fasts once or twice a week. Another option is to fast for 16 hours every day and eat all your food in an eight-hour time period.
In a review of studies on intermittent fasting and alternate-day fasting, people experienced a 4-7% decrease in abdominal fat within 6-24 weeks
Some evidence suggests that intermittent fasting and fasting in general may not be as beneficial to women as it is for men.
Modified intermittent fasting may be a better option than others, but you should stop fasting immediately if there are any adverse effects.
Intermittent fasting refers to a eating style that alternates between fasting and eating. It may be the best way to lose weight and stomach fat, according to studies.
19. Drink green tea
Green tea is an exceptionally healthy beverage.
It contains both caffeine and the antioxidant epigallocatechin galate (EGCG), which are believed to increase metabolism .
EGCG, a catechin found in green tea, may be able to help you lose belly fat. There have been several studies. Green tea can increase the effect when combined with exercise
Green tea consumption has been shown to be linked with weight loss. However, it is not as effective as exercise and should be consumed in combination with green tea.
20.Change your lifestyle and combine different methods
One item on the list will not have an impact on your overall health.
You can get great results by combining different methods that have been proven to work.
Interestingly, many of these methods are things generally associated with healthy eating and an overall healthy lifestyle.
Changing your lifestyle over the long-term is key to losing belly fat and maintaining it.
When you have healthy habits and eat real food, fat loss tends to follow as a natural side effect.
It is hard to lose weight and keep it off unless you make permanent changes in your lifestyle and dietary habits.
The bottom line
There are no magic solutions to losing belly fat.
It takes effort, dedication, perseverance, and commitment to lose weight.
You can lose weight by successfully implementing some or all the lifestyle and strategies discussed in this article.