20 Effective Tips to Lose Belly Fat (Backed by Science)

4. Eat a high protein diet

Protein is an extremely important nutrient for weight management.

High protein intake increases the release of the fullness hormone PYY, which decreases appetite and promotes fullness.

Protein also raises your metabolic rate and helps you to retain muscle mass during weight loss .

Many observational studies show that people who eat more protein tend to have less abdominal fat than those who eat a lower protein diet .

Be sure to include a good protein source at every meal, such as:

  • meat
  • fish
  • eggs
  • dairy
  • whey protein
  • beans

SUMMARYHigh protein foods, such as fish, lean meat, and beans, are ideal if you’re trying to shed some extra pounds around your waist.

5. Reduce your stress levels

Stress can make you gain belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone.

Research shows that high cortisol levels increase appetite and drive abdominal fat storage .

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 .

To help reduce belly fat, engage in pleasurable activities that relieve stress. Practicing yoga or meditation can be effective methods.

SUMMARYStress may promote fat gain around your waist. Minimizing stress should be one of your priorities if you’re trying to lose weight.

6. Don’t eat a lot of sugary foods

Sugar contains fructose, which has been linked to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess.

These include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver disease .

Observational studies show a relationship between high sugar intake and increased abdominal fat .

It’s important to realize that more than just refined sugar can lead to belly fat gain. Even healthier sugars, such as real honey, should be used sparingly.

SUMMARYExcessive sugar intake is a major cause of weight gain in many people. Limit your intake of candy and processed foods high in added sugar.

7. Do aerobic exercise (cardio)

Aerobic exercise (cardio) is an effective way to improve your health and burn calories.

Studies also show that it’s one of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing belly fat. However, results are mixed as to whether moderate or high intensity exercise is more beneficial .

In any case, the frequency and duration of your exercise program are more important than its 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 .

SUMMARYAerobic exercise is an effective weight loss method. Studies suggest it’s particularly effective at slimming your waistline.

8. Cut back on carbs — especially refined carbs

Reducing your carb intake can be very beneficial for losing fat, including abdominal fat.

Diets with under 50 grams of carbs per day cause belly fat loss in people who are overweight, those at risk for type 2 diabetes, and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) .

You don’t have to follow a strict low carb diet. Some research suggests that simply replacing refined carbs with unprocessed starchy carbs may improve metabolic health and reduce 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.

SUMMARYA high intake of refined carbs is associated with excessive belly fat. Consider reducing your carb intake or replacing refined carbs in your diet with healthy carb sources, such as whole grains, legumes, or vegetables.