“Belly fat loss” has been promoted in extremely unhealthy, unsustainable, and sometimes dangerous ways as a result of diet culture and companies attempting to sell their products. These fad diets and weight loss products can cause physical and mental harm.
Flat belly teas are some of the most obvious examples of this, as they market themselves as aiding in weight loss and are frequently made with natural laxatives that can cause stomach and gut lining issues.
Something like this is not only potentially harmful, but it is also misleading. Belly fat diets may help you get rid of bloating or lose a few pounds, but the results are only temporary and never address the underlying issue.
So, are there healthy ways to lose belly fat and keep it off while still nourishing and caring for your body? And what does the science say about abdominal fat loss and how it relates to diet?
Not all fats in our bodies are the same, nor do they pose the same level of health risk. Subcutaneous fat is fat that lies just beneath the skin and outside of the abdominal wall. According to Harvard Health, subcutaneous fat accounts for approximately 90% of our body’s fat.
The remaining 10% of body fat is visceral fat, and experts warn that this type of fat should be monitored. This is due to the fact that visceral fat is found beneath our abdominal wall and around our abdominal organs. This type of fat in excess has been linked to heart disease and other serious illnesses.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “quick fix” for visceral fat. However, research suggests that a healthy diet and long-term weight loss can help you lose this type of belly fat.
While many people are looking for a miracle solution to lose belly fat, there isn’t one. This is due to the fact that, while our culture has marketed the ability to specifically target belly fat with the right foods and exercise, it is more about your overall weight management. Furthermore, researchers discovered that losing and maintaining weight loss through a healthy diet and regular exercise can help keep visceral fat at a healthy level.
According to Harvard Health, eating plenty of fibre and complex carbs such as whole grains, vegetables, and protein sources such as lean meat and legumes can help with overall weight loss. They also advise limiting your consumption of added sugars and refined carbohydrates, as these can contribute to weight gain and thus more belly fat.
Diet is undoubtedly one of the most important factors in weight loss. In a study published in BMC Public Health, participants who lost weight through diet and exercise lost the same amount of visceral fat as those who lost weight only through diet. However, the exercise and diet group saw a greater change in subcutaneous fat.
Exercise, like other aspects of life, is still important in weight loss. Harvard recommends five methods for reducing visceral fat: exercise, diet, stress reduction, quitting smoking, and getting enough sleep.
A recent Mayo Clinic study discovered that a lack of sleep was associated with more visceral fat. In other words, make sure you get enough sleep every night.
Even though our society constantly tells us that there are quick and easy ways to lose belly fat, science says that it takes a more holistic approach that includes losing body fat in a healthy, sustainable way by making beneficial changes to our diet and lifestyle.