Sometimes, to whip your body into shape, you have to get a little nutty. While nuts are high in fat, it’s that very fat that makes them such powerful weapons in the war against a ballooning belly. In fact, research from Reina Sofia University Hospital reveals that study participants who consumed a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, like those in nuts, over a 28-day period gained less belly fat than their saturated fat-consuming counterparts while improving their insulin sensitivity.
Allow us to throw a wrench in all this weight-loss talk: The evidence of its health benefits isn’t as cut and dry as you’ve been told. A controversial 2013 meta-analysis of almost 100 studies concluded that obesity is linked with all-cause mortality—but overweightness isn’t. Throw in the fact that about 80 percent of dieters will regain the weight, and it’s easy to see why health experts are turning from the calorie-counting approach to a focus on general wellness.
You’d think that since they have few or no calories, artificial sweeteners would help with weight loss. But some studies suggest that’s simply not the case. Guzzling diet soda is actually associated with an elevated risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, a 2013 review of a number of studies in the journals Trends in Endocrinology concluded. Researchers think artificial sweeteners trick your body into thinking it is consuming real sugar, which causes you to release insulin and store belly fat. Artificial sweeteners may also contribute to carbohydrate cravings.
Those trans fats on your menu are hiding out in plain sight and sabotaging your lean belly plans every time you eat them. If a food product says it contains partially hydrogenated oils, you’re eating trans fat, which can increase your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity with every bite. In fact, research conducted at Wake Forest University reveals that monkeys whose diets contained eight percent trans fat upped their body fat by 7.2 percent over a six-year study, while those who ate monounsaturated fat gained just a fraction of that amount. Instead of letting harmful trans fat take up space on your menu, fill up with the 20 Healthy Fats to Make You Thin.
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Rather than a long and low-intensity cardio workout, try the HIIT method of cardio: intense, fast-paced intervals that leave you completely exhausted after only a 20- to 30-minute session. This form of cardio training increases the afterburn effect, allowing your body to continue burning calories long after your workout is over. You can rotate between 30 seconds of your favorite exercises, with rest in between, as long as they work different muscle groups—such as squats, push-ups and kettlebell swings.
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.
The pressure, the puffy stomach, the self-consciousness—this tea can help you ditch all of it. According to numerous studies, flavonoids and other compounds found in the hibiscus plant help to counteract bloating by influencing how aldosterone, the hormone that regulates water and electrolytes balance, affects the body. Enjoy a cup of hibiscus tea and watch your pooch slowly–but surely–deflate.
If you want to shrink your gut, get enough protein in your diet. In this case, about 25 percent of calories. Why? For starters, protein makes you feel full and helps you build muscle (which increases metabolism, thereby making it easier to lose weight). Just as important, high-protein diets have been shown to be the best way of attacking belly fat. In one study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, Danish researchers put 65 people on either a 12 percent protein diet or a 25 percent protein diet. The low-protein dieters lost an average of 11 pounds, which isn't bad. But the high-protein subjects lost an average of 20 pounds--including twice as much abdominal fat as the low-protein group.
Indulging in delicious food is a core principle of Zero Belly Diet. It was the balanced, “zero sacrifice” approach that helped test panelist Jennie Joshi finally lose her pregnancy weight. In just over a month on Zero Belly Diet, Jennie lost 11 pounds, “and the pregnancy pooch is leaving!” she said. “I couldn’t believe I was indulging in dark chocolate—and finally getting results! It’s a lifestyle, not a diet. It’s easy to stick with, and it makes sense.”
Bottom line: Saving your “diet” for certain times might be more appealing than restricting yourself every single day, but it will only work if you can stick to your plan. “We want what we want, when we want it,” Nolan Cohn points out. If you think you’ll fall off the wagon the minute a brunch or happy hour invite comes, this might not be the eating plan for you.
Whether salty soup or beer is to blame for your bulging belly, lemon tea can help fight the bloat thanks to its D-limonene content. The antioxidant compound, which is found in citrus rind oil, has been used for its diuretic effects since ancient times. But until recently, there were no scientific findings to back the claims. An animal study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology confirmed D-Limonene has a therapeutic effect on metabolic disorders in mice with high-fat-diet-induced obesity
Physical activity helps burn abdominal fat. “One of the biggest benefits of exercise is that you get a lot of bang for your buck on body composition,” Stewart says. Exercise seems to work off belly fat in particular because it reduces circulating levels of insulin—which would otherwise signal the body to hang on to fat—and causes the liver to use up fatty acids, especially those nearby visceral fat deposits, he says.
Green tea, known as carmellia simensis, contain polyphenols that produce a thermogenic activity in your body, utilizing calories to be converted to energy, instead of stored as stomach fat. It also contains a natural compound called catechin polyphenols, which stimulates your resting metabolic rate. The caffeine content causes a lipolitic reation in your body, meaning it allows your body to use stomach fat for energy.
"If your diet consists of lots of sports drinks, sugar-sweetened drinks like fizzy pop and flavoured waters, or sugary foods like chocolate and cakes, it will make losing weight harder. While whole fruits and vegetables are undoubtedly good for you, they can also sometimes cause weight gain if you eat too much, as they have high levels of natural sugars in them. Low-fat food options might have high amounts of added sugar in there too, so make sure to check the food label.