When Johns Hopkins researchers compared the effects on the heart of losing weight through a low-carbohydrate diet versus a low-fat diet for six months—each containing the same amount of calories—those on a low-carb diet lost an average of 10 pounds more than those on a low-fat diet—28.9 pounds versus 18.7 pounds. An extra benefit of the low-carb diet is that it produced a higher quality of weight loss, Stewart says. With weight loss, fat is reduced, but there is also often a loss of lean tissue (muscle), which is not desirable. On both diets, there was a loss of about 2 to 3 pounds of good lean tissue along with the fat, which means that the fat loss percentage was much higher on the low-carb diet.
That doesn't mean you can't slim down your stomach, though. Follow a balanced and calorie-controlled diet to lose fat all over your body consistently, and you'll burn fat in your midsection, too. Include strength training to hold onto metabolism-boosting muscle, and use exercises like planks and side planks to cinch your abdominal muscles and give the appearance of a leaner stomach.
That’s because it theoretically causes a mild ketosis (yep, the basis of the keto diet), which is a fat-burning state that should make you feel less hungry. The key in being successful with a low-carb diet (especially if you’re used to a more high-carb lifestyle) is to compensate for those lost carbs with protein-rich foods, says Dr. Cheskin. That way, your volume of food stays the same, but you’re doing it healthfully rather than in a way that exacerbates your weight gain.
For example, you might not realize just how much you eat when you go out to happy hour with friends. But if you take the split second to take a step back and make yourself aware of that fact, you’re more able to make a healthy decision. “The awareness and then planning and coming up with strategies for what else I can be doing—that might give me the same benefit of eating those comfort foods that make me feel better,” says Gagliardi.
IBS, or irritable bowel syndrome, is the most common gastrointestinal disorder. IBS symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, and bloating—So. Much. Bloating. While the causes aren’t all known, it’s thought to be linked to lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, hormones, and stress. Sufferers often find that making changes in these areas eliminates or reduces their IBS (and their stomach circumference!). Here’s how these 10 myths about fat can keep you from losing weight.
It takes more than just crunches! We start to gain weight in our midsection when our cortisol levels spike. Stress is one of the primary culprits for high levels of cortisol secretion. When this happens cortisol breaks downs lean muscle (the type of tissue that burns calories most efficiently) and also holds on to fat storage in the abdominal region. That stress can even get WORSE with bad dieting; studies show that the stress caused by dieting can increase cortisol levels, making no change in belly fat even with calorie restriction. So how do you shape up? Incorporate these 6 things below and you will be on your way to a flatter belly in no time flat!
This easy a.m. ritual works on two levels. First, a recent study found that exposure to sunlight in between the hours of 8 am and noon reduced your risk of weight gain regardless of activity level, caloric intake, or age. Researchers speculate that the morning light synchronizes your metabolism and undercuts your fat genes. And burning calories before you eat means you’re exercising in a fasted state—the energy you burn comes right from your fat stores, instead of the food you ate. But what really stunned Martha was the improvement in her heart health. Before starting Zero Belly Diet, Martha’s heart rate would typically soar to 112 beats per minute (bpm) within moments of starting her exercise bike workout. “After the first week and a half I could not raise my heart rate over 96 bpm with the same workout. It was great to see change in the mirror, and even better to know good things were happening that I couldn’t even see.”
For people who are already active, Jim recommends running or walking up stairs (or using a stairclimber) as opposed to standard walking, since doing a leisurely stroll probably won't get their heart rate up. But for someone who isn't typically active and just starting out on a weight-loss journey, walking could be a good form of exercise. If you want to get a jump-start on walking for weight loss, check out this four-week walking plan.
Not only is ginger one of the healthiest spices on the planet, but it also fights inflammation. According to numerous studies, ginger, traditionally used to ease stomach pain, blocks several genes and enzymes in the body that promote bloat-causing inflammation. This means you can enjoy that second serving of nutrient-dense veggies without worry. If you prefer the taste of chai tea, typically made from a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger, that may also do the trick—but may be less potent.
Green tea supplements are one of the most popular additions to weight loss regimens. You can get these same fat burning powers just by drinking a cup of green tea. Green tea catechins reduce belly fat by speeding up metabolic rates. These catechins also boost energy levels so you can attack your workouts harder. Tea catechins also encourage the digestive system to reduce fat storage over time.
Certain carbohydrates have a tendency to be poorly absorbed in your intestines and then rapidly fermented, leading to gas and bloating. Common culprits include refined carbohydrates and simple sugars—like those found in processed foods with added sugars. Excess sodium can also cause bloating due to increased water retention. Opt for freshly prepared foods and reduce processed, packaged foods to cut back on belly bloaters. In the morning, swap your sugar-laden bowl of cereal for this Green Smoothie, made with fresh fruits and vegetables to get your day started the right way.
"Researchers are now discovering that gut bacteria also seem to play a role in the complex process of weight loss and weight gain," he writes. "We don't know exactly how much impact our Little Buddies have on our weight, but we're learning enough to believe that understanding the connection more fully may help us as we confront the obesity epidemic in the United States — and in our own bodies."
Rooibos tea is made from the leaves of the “red bush” plant, grown exclusively in the small Cederberg region of South Africa, near Cape Town. What makes rooibos tea particularly good for your belly is a unique and powerful flavonoid called Aspalathin. Research shows this compound can reduce stress hormones that trigger hunger and fat storage and are linked to hypertension, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Yup, sometimes the kettle can be as effective as the kettlebell.
Safety Warning — Zero Tea contains NO laxatives. Potential side effects may include: headache, gas, stomach cramps, bloating, constipation, vomiting, or diarrhea. This product contains caffeine. If you experience any discomfort immediately cease taking. Do not brew more than 15 minutes. This product contains a blend of herbal ingredients including senna. Consult your healthcare provider prior to use if you are pregnant, nursing, taking any medication, or if you have a medical condition
Oolong tea enhances metabolism, helps your body to digest fat and block carbohydrates. This tea also comes from the camellia sinesis plant, but is processed differently. When the leaves are picked, they are shaken, which causes bruising. As the leaves dry, the bruised edges turn a reddish color with the surfaces becoming light yellow. The leaves are then pan fried, which creates a semi-fermented tea. Oolong tea also helps you to digest your food better after a meal.
"Feeling stressed can wreak havoc on our bodies. It can cause our body to produce the steroid hormone cortisol, which can make you crave sugary foods that provide instant energy and pleasure. Short-term bursts of cortisol are necessary to help us cope with immediate danger, but our body will also release this hormone if we’re feeling stressed or anxious. When our cortisol levels are high for a long amount of time, it can increase the amount of fat you hold in your belly."