Weight loss teas and supplements have been found to contain dangerous (and sometimes illegal) ingredients like ephedra and cybutrine, which are tied to heart attacks. Bitter orange, a banned stimulant, has also been found in some products. I’ve had patients who’ve taken weight loss supplements that were purchased from places like vitamin shops, who then suffered seizures. (These 15 common supplement ingredients could make you seriously sick.)
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.
Add a cup of low-fat milk, a part-skim mozzarella stick, or a half cup of low-sodium cottage cheese to breakfast, and you may have a belly-busting win. While lots of research links calcium with lower body weights, results from a 2014 study suggest that calcium-containing foods may reduce waist circumference in those genetically predisposed to carrying weight in their midsection.
Start each day by making a large pitcher of “spa water”—that’s detox water filled with sliced whole lemons, oranges or grapefruits—and make a point of sipping your way through at least 8 glasses before bedtime. Citrus fruits are rich in the antioxidant D-limonene, a powerful compound found in the peel that stimulates liver enzymes to help flush toxins from the body and gives sluggish bowels a kick.

If you don’t have an established exercise routine, simply walking is the best first step toward weight loss. “Walking is a pretty good entry point for people,” says Gagliardi. This is particularly true if you have been out of the gym for a while and want to ease back into a workout routine. One small study published in The Journal of Exercise Nutrition & Biochemistry found that obese women who did a walking program for 50 to 70 minutes three days per week for 12 weeks significantly slashed their visceral fat compared to a sedentary control group.
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.
Keeping a toothbrush handy can do more than polish up that smile (and counter the effects of all that belly-slimming garlic); brushing your teeth throughout the day can also help you ditch that belly fat fast. A study conducted a sample of over 14,000 participants found that brushing after every meal was linked to lower weight. That minty toothpaste flavor not only clashes with virtually every food, brushing may also trigger a Pavlovian response that tells your brain the kitchen’s closed.
"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."
The upshot of all these chemicals floating around is big trouble for big-bellied guys. In a study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, researchers took 137 men of all ages and sizes and used seven different measurements to determine their risks of cardiovascular disease. The single best sign of multiple heart-disease risks? No, it wasn't the guys' family histories or their cholesterol profiles. It was the amount of abdominal fat they carried.

Simply take a good hard look at your diet, make a few modifications you can stick with and get your body moving. Not sure where you stand on diet? Write down everything you eat this week, then compare it to the list above and see where you could have made better choices. Don’t beat yourself up though, learning how to lose stomach fat fast is a process. Simply find areas to improve and work on them next week.
Mint tea wards off the munchies. Fill a big teacup with soothing peppermint tea and sniff yourself skinny! While certain scents can trigger hunger (a trick Cinnabon figured out long ago), others can actually suppress your appetite. One study published in the Journal of Neurological and Orthopaedic Medicine found that people who sniffed peppermint every two hours lost an average of 5 pounds a month. Although tea is relatively low in caffeine—about 25% of what a cup of coffee delivers—decaffeinated varieties are great to have on hand for a soothing bedtime treat that will keep you out of the cabinets!
Chamomile-and-lavender tea wards off fatigue and depression by reducing the stress that comes with insomnia. And reduced stress prevents increased levels of inflammation, which have been directly tied to weight and blood sugar disorders like obesity and diabetes. One German study found that chamomile tea significantly improved the physical symptoms related to a lack of sleep, and even helped reduced levels of depression in the chronically sleep-deprived. Another study found that it improved daytime wakefulness in people who suffered from a lack of sleep. Here’s the funny thing about chamomile: Although it’s the most popular tea for bedtime, there’s actually no evidence that it improves the length or quality of sleep.
Insulin (in-suh-lin): A hormone made by the cells in your pancreas. Insulin helps your body store the glucose (sugar) from your meals. If you have diabetes and your pancreas is unable to make enough of this hormone, you may be prescribed medicines to help your liver make more or make your muscles more sensitive to the available insulin. If these medicines are not enough, you may be prescribed insulin shots.
The secret to a slimmer stomach in no time? A whole lot of fiber in your diet. Although many people are loath to add carbs to their diet when they’re trying to lose weight, adding the right, fiber-rich ones can have inches off your belly in a hurry. In fact, researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center found that every 10-gram daily increase in soluble fiber was associated with a 3.7 percent decrease in dangerous visceral fat over five years. Those who were active got even leaner, shaving off twice that much fat in the same amount of time. To start ditching that extra belly fat today, add the 30 Best Foods For Fiber to your menu!
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Skipping breakfast should be an easy way to lose weight, but numerous studies suggest that eating breakfast actually helps prevent weight gain. One reason may be that keeping yourself evenly-fueled all day long prevents that crazy end-of-day urge to eat everything in sight. Another reason may be that eating protein in the morning stokes your metabolism, the mechanism by which energy is burned and weight is lost. Breakfast doesn’t have to be a sit-down affair: Smear a little peanut butter on toast and eat your sandwich during your commute, or pour a handful of nuts and cereal in a ziplock bag for a desk snack once you get to the office.
This red, naturally sweet tea made from the leaves of the Rooibos bush are powerful fat-melters. According to South African researchers, polyphenols and flavonoids found in the plant inhibits adipogenesis—the formation of new fat cells—by as much as 22 percent. The chemicals also aid fat metabolism. Sip this brew to help burn that stubborn bit of chub clinging to your middle, no diet necessary.
When it comes to sugar, white flour, white bread, and many other simple sugars, you’re better off without them. But you absolutely should be including in your meals vegetables, fruits, legumes, and even whole grains, which some fad diets wouldn’t recommend in a million years. Cutting out a whole tribe of foods just because a few members of the family are troublemakers makes no sense whatsoever.
Sure enough, a more recent 2014 report confirmed we need to update the equation. While cutting calories does help you drop pounds, the weight-loss rate slows down by the time you’ve been dieting for four weeks, the analysis found. The 3,500-calorie rule “can lead to unrealistic expectations and eventual frustration when dieters can’t seem to shake those last few pounds,” says Acosta.
If you’re only getting a minimal amount of sleep each night, that leaves more time for you to snack and make otherwise unhealthy decisions that could affect your weight loss. Although it will vary from person to person on how much sleep you actually need to be most effective (and therefore make progress toward your weight loss goals), the ideal number is typically 7 or 8 hours, says Dr. Cheskin. (Struggling to get that shut-eye? This doctor-approved breathing exercise will help you fall asleep fast.)
"Protein is great for fat loss. It helps build and preserve lean muscle tissue and can increase the amount of calories you burn. It’s also a great source of energy that helps you feel fuller for longer, so you’re less tempted to snack. Good sources include chicken breast, tuna, eggs, milk and chickpeas. And if you’re finding it difficult to avoid snacks that are high in carbohydrates, try substituting them for protein shakes or bars. Remember also to opt for the lean sources of protein because some sources can be high in saturated fat."
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