Easy Ways to Get Rid of Belly Fat

In addition to being a cosmetic issue, a fat belly indicates you may be at risk of developing certain diseases. The Mayo Clinic warns that the visceral fat in the belly that surrounds the internal organs increases the chances you might develop heart disease, stroke, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, high triglycerides, low levels of good cholesterol, sleep apnea and metabolic syndrome. Losing weight by reducing overall calorie intake helps reduce overall fat, including belly fat. Other strategies may encourage the fat at your belly to be more responsive to weight loss efforts.

Exercise

Participating in a consistent, moderate-to-high intensity cardiovascular routine helps reduce belly fat. Lead researcher, Cris Slentz of Duke University, conducted a study showing that exercising the equivalent of 20 miles of jogging per week results in a significant reduction of belly fat. The findings, published in the “Journal of Applied Physiology” in 2005, suggest that exceeding American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) standard exercise guidelines for health is required to experience a loss of belly fat.

Dietary Changes

Including certain foods, and excluding others, can help reduce belly fat. The Curtin University in Australia released a study in October 2009 demonstrating that a higher dairy intake can target belly fat. Dieters consumed five servings of low-fat dairy, such as yogurt, milk and cottage cheese, a day and experienced a greater reduction in fat and waist size than dieters who consumed just three servings daily. Replacing your intake of refined grains, like white bread, with whole grains seem to affect belly fat as well as indicated by a 2008 study in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Participants who consumed a compound in green tea along with 180 minutes a week of moderate intensity exercise, elicited a greater loss of belly fat than those who did not take the compound. This study, reported in the “Journal of Nutrition” in 2009 suggests that catechins in green tea can induce a change in fat distribution and have implications for the loss of belly fat. Reducing your intake of saturated fats and trans fats can help reduce belly fat as well.

Vices

Lack of sleep, smoking and overuse of alcohol all contribute to the accumulation of belly fat. A study in the journal “Sleep” in 2010 found that participants who got five or fewer hours of sleep per night were more likely to store fat at their belly than people who achieved the optimal seven to eight hours of sleep nightly. Smoking, along with being an overall health risk, also causes fat to store at the abdomen. “Obesity Research” reported on a British study in 2005 showing that in 21,000 participants, smokers–even when of normal weight–accumulated more fat at their midsection.

About this Author

Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.