By Dr. Bhavna Gandhi, Dietitian/Nutritionist
With age, especially during late twenties or early thirties and beyond, it is almost an accepted fact that you will grow fat in the middle. Belly fat affects both men and women with bulging waistlines. This however, is just more than unsightly, as belly fat increases the chance of heart disease, diabetes and other serious ailments.
A few simple and proven ways to reduce belly fat are mentioned here:
- Reducing carbohydrates in your diet: Carbohydrates are the source of energy for your body, as they are usually transformed into glucose by the body, which can then be absorbed by the cells. However, your diet may include too many carbs and cause you to gain belly fat. Reducing carbs is known to have the following benefits:
- Reduces appetite in general
- Burns fat reserves as the body tries to use alternative sources of energy
- Diet low in carbohydrates are also know to reduce water weight and show quick results during weight loss
- Low carb diet will have a beneficial effect, if you have type 2 diabetes and helps in keeping the blood glucose levels under control
- Avoid CRAP foods: Avoiding CRAP wherein, C: Carbonated beverages & caffeine, R: Refined sugars, A: Alcohol & Artificial sweeteners, P: processed food from the diet is of great help in burning belly fat.
- Unprocessed and lean meat: Unprocessed and lean meats are a good source of protein and have fewer calories than non-lean meats. Lean meats are popular amongst people following low calorie and low fat diets. Poultry is a good source of selenium, vitamins B3 and B6, and choline.
- Avoid processed sugar and sweetened beverages: Fructose found in most products within the market, such as cookies, sweets, sodas and other similar beverages cannot be absorbed or processed by the liver and is converted into fat. This will not only increase your girth, but also contribute to insulin resistance and lead to serious problems such as heart diseases.
- Include and increase fiber in your diet when you want to lose belly fat: Fiber, especially viscous fiber is known to improve bowel movements and improves the health of gut bacteria. It also reduces abdominal fat and thus reduces belly fat.
- Increase protein intake: Reducing carbs and increasing protein in your diet will help you lose belly fat as well as over all body fat quickly. Protein decreases the chance of developing insulin resistance and also helps the body in using up the blood glucose for energy more efficiently. Include unprocessed animal protein as well as vegetarian protein sources in your diet to lose belly fat, but ensure that they are cooked or prepared in a healthy way.
- Try brisk walking or free hand exercises: You don’t have to go to the gym with an expensive fee to lose belly fat. Just try free hand exercises and cardio to ensure that the metabolism in your body remains high along with a balanced diet as mentioned above. Brisk walking in general is very effective in reducing belly fat.