Losing belly fat is a common goal, yet a goal that many seem to struggle with. It’s very easy to get caught up in diet culture promoting “specialty” drinks, dangerous pills, and other products that lack scientific evidence to confirm they are safe and effective. When it comes to your health, there is one place where fat seems to be especially dangerous. This place is around the abdomen, known as belly fat.
Why should we be concerned about belly fat?
Belly fat, otherwise known as visceral fat, poses many health threats. Visceral fat is the fat surrounding a person’s vital organs. It has been found that abdominal fat disrupts the normal balance and functioning of our hormones. Scientists are also learning that visceral fat produces immune system chemicals called cytokines – which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, visceral fat sits on top of our portal vein, which carries blood from the intestines to the liver. Anything produced by visceral fat (ie cytokines), enter the portal vein and travels straight to the liver. This is where issues are seen with cholesterol levels and blood sugar management.
How to Lose Belly Fat?
1. Get Enough Protein
Eating enough protein is crucial while trying to lose belly fat. A study done in 2015 proves that protein plays a vital role when it comes to promoting weight loss and how it is a primary contributor to weight management. Protein-rich foods will keep you full and satisfied throughout the day. Protein also manages your blood sugar and keeps your insulin low, both of which are crucial when trying to get rid of excess belly fat. Moreover, protein has a thermogenic effect which means you actually burn calories at rest! I usually suggest supplementing with a high-quality protein powder when trying to get rid of visceral fat. One scoop daily is a great place to start. My personal favourite is Schinoussa Grass Fed Whey with added probiotics. For plant-based powders, I would suggest Garden of Life Plant Based Protein.
2. Reduce Stress
Study after study has shown that stress can cause a person to pack on extra pounds. The release off stress hormone cortisol can cause hormonal changes that promote fat storage, especially around the abdomen. Stress can also increase an individual’s appetite making it harder to maintain a healthy weight. Many tend to eat more when they are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and frustrated. We cannot always control stressful situations but we can control how we choose to manage stress. Supplementing to combat the effects of stress is important when trying to lose belly fat. I suggest Stress Rescue or Adrenal Pro to help lower cortisol levels and avoid excess fat storage, especially around the belly.
3. Keep your Vitamin D levels up
A 2016 review indicates getting more sun could reduce the risk of developing obesity and lead to a reduction in weight. This is due to the synthesis of vitamin D from the sun. Here in North America, we are deficient in vitamin D almost all year round, which is why it is so important to supplement with this crucial vitamin. Vitamin D is also responsible for mood regulation. Those low in Vitamin D experience low mood, fatigue, and anxiety which can indirectly cause weight gain by increasing appetite. Vitamin D deficiency has also been shown to cause bone loss which results in a slower metabolic rate. Slower metabolic rate = less calories being burned at rest = potential weight gain. Vitamin D can be taken in both liquid or capsule form.
4. Try Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has shown time and time again that it has a positive impact on belly fat loss. A trial done in 2009 followed 175 people taking 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar every day for three months. Those who consumed vinegar experienced modest weight loss and had lower triglyceride levels compared to those who did not. A recent study followed 39 individuals over a 12-week period on a calorie restricted diet. Those taking vinegar while on the diet lost more weight compared to those that did not. When it comes to apple cider vinegar, choosing high-quality products is a MUST. It is important that the vinegar is unfiltered and raw. If you enjoy a liquid, try taking 1 tablespoon of Braggs apple cider vinegar daily. If you’re looking for gummy form, Goli is definitely the way to go.
5. Incorporate Probiotics Daily
Adding a probiotic daily can help tremendously when it comes to losing some of that belly fat. Over the last several years, incredible research has come out showing the connection between gut bacteria and a healthy weight. A study done in 2014 followed weight changes in women attempting to reduce body fat. It was found that after 12 weeks, women who were taking probiotics lost more weight than the women on the placebo. They also continued to lose weight after the trial had finished, while the placebo group was only able to maintain their weight loss. This is because certain probiotic strains promote weight loss! In addition to promoting weight loss, probiotics can optimize the gut balance within the intestines leading to better digestion. Many taking probiotics notice less bloating around the abdomen. This probiotic for women is a great choice for those looking to shed some belly fat. For men, I would suggest this probiotic.
6. Fish Oil
Fish oil is one of my most recommended supplements when it comes to abdominal weight loss and overall health. Studies show that fish oil can actually have an anti-abdominal obesity effect even without weight loss! This means that it can target and reduce that stubborn belly fat ONLY. If you have excess weight to lose in other places, it will take care of that as well. Not only has fish oil been shown to help with belly fat, but it has also been shown to reduce inflammation caused by carrying excess weight. Almost all chronic conditions have an inflammatory component so working to bring down inflammation does wonders for our overall health. Fish oil has also been shown to improve metabolic speed, therefore helping you to burn calories at rest. If you’re looking for a high-quality fish oil supplement for belly fat, you want one that is high in EPA. This AquaOmega supplement is perfect.
7. Green tea
Green tea for weight loss is SO underrated and should most definitely be considered with goals to lose belly fat. Green tea has been used for decades in Chinese medicine for weight management and so much more! Studies suggest that green tea can help to speed up metabolism and break down excess fat, both of which result in weight loss and weight management. Green tea has also been shown to reduce cholesterol, manage diabetes, improve heart function and so much more! Drinking 1-2 cups of green tea daily is a good place to start when supplementing for belly fat loss. Choosing a high-quality, organic green tea is important. My favourite is the Pride of India green tea.
Allison is the in-house nutritionist at House of Wellness. She is a registered holistic nutritionist with experience in weight loss, mental health, hormonal balance, and digestion. She is passionate about helping others elevate their health and truly discover their highest potential! Allison believes in products made with integrity and focuses on effective solutions to help her customers and clients.
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