Many are happy to have bulky arms, or a bit of extra weight in the rear, but a big belly? No, thank you. In recent years the diet book trade has focused on stomachs, and not just because we all want to bounce a quarter off of our abs: Many recent studies have shown that there’s a link between excess abdominal fat and health risks, especially heart attacks. But there are a lot of books out there to digest, and we’ve got the skinny on them.
This question is on so many minds: how can I lose belly fat...and fast? While there's no magic formula of food and exercise to reduce belly fat with the snap of your fingers, there are nutrition choices, exercises and lifestyle changes that can help. Here's your guide to understanding exactly what belly fat is and how you might be able to reduce it over time.
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The meals shown here are "templates" that you can vary any number of ways to please your tastebuds and avoid eating the same old thing every day. Follow them and you'll get between 2,400 and 2,800 calories per day. That should provide plenty of calories for all but the most severely obese, while allowing most guys to lose fat around their middles at a steady pace. (Don't worry about hitting the numbers on the nose every time. If you exceed your fat quota during lunch, for instance, just cut back a little during dinner.)
Salt, in moderation, is a good thing—the mineral is necessary for a healthy heart and brain. But too much salt and you’ll retain water, bloating up like a water balloon. Cutting salt is one of the primary ways to drop extra water weight (one reason you may see a big weight loss when starting a new diet!). Move the salt shaker off your table so you’ll get out of the habit of routinely salting all your food. Then if you taste your food and still really want salt you can still stand up and get some. For more weight loss benefits, add these fat-burning foods to your plate to help you lose weight.

A diet that’s low in fat and carbohydrates can improve artery function, according to a 2012 study by Johns Hopkins researchers. After six months, those on the low-carb diet had lost more weight, and at a faster pace. But in both groups, when weight was lost—and especially when belly fat shrank—the arteries were able to expand better, allowing blood to travel more freely. The study shows that you don’t have to cut out all dietary fat to shrink belly fat. For heart health, simply losing weight and exercising seems to be key. 
Essentially, that meal plan involves eating plenty of leafy greens and fiber-rich vegetables, as well as high-fiber, low-sugar fruits, like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and pears. He also recommends two to three servings of whole grains per day, as well as six to seven servings of protein — with a preference for nuts, legumes, fish, and dairy over beef, pork, and chicken.

You’re a father now. You don’t have time to work out for hours each day. What you do have time for is HIIT, or high-intensity interval training. In this type of workout, you basically sprint, jump rope, do jumping jacks, or whatever type of cardio you can for 30 to 60 seconds, all-out followed by an equivalent amount of rest to recover. Repeat this sweat/rest cycle 6-8 times. It’s a short, compact workout that gets your heart rate way up, which increases calorie burn—and strengthens your heart and lungs, to boot. 


It’s the best fruit for weight loss. That means Pink Lady over Granny Smith, watermelon over honeydew, red grapes over green ones. The higher levels of nutrients called flavonoids—particularly anthocyanins, compounds that give red fruits their color—calm the action of fat-storage genes. In fact, red-bellied stone fruits like plums boast phenolic compounds that have been shown to modulate the expression of fat genes.
Successfully flattening your stomach is a matter of burning body fat and building muscle. The best way to burn body fat is through cardio exercises such as running, walking, elliptical training, and bicycling. With these exercises, burning stomach fat, shedding love handles, and building a six pack is completely do-able. So send your body the memo: flat abs are in style and it’s time to get yours!
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 Orthopedic Medicine found that people who sniffed peppermint every two hours lost an average of five pounds a month. (Although tea is relatively low in caffeine—about 25 percent of what a cup of coffee delivers—decaffeinated varieties are great to have on hand for a soothing bedtime treat.) Consider also adding a few drops of peppermint oil to your pillow or burning a minty candle to fill the room with slimming smells. For a stress- and belly-free mind and body, alternate your mint tea tea with one of these 5 Teas That Melt Fat Fast.
A 2014 Harvard study found that men who did twenty minutes of daily weight training had less of an increase in age-related abdominal fat compared with men who spent the same amount of time doing aerobic activities, and other studies have shown similar levels of success when guys hit the gym to cut down on fat. The implication: Guys can cut belly fat most efficiently with weight training.

Sure, ketchup is tasty, but it’s also a serious saboteur when it comes your weight loss efforts. Ketchup is loaded with sugar — up to four grams per tablespoon — and bears little nutritional resemblance to the fruit from which it’s derived. Luckily, swapping out your ketchup for salsa can help you shave off that belly fat fast. Fresh tomatoes, like those used in salsa, are loaded with lycopene, which a study conducted at China Medical University in Taiwan links to reductions in both overall fat and waist circumference. If you like your salsa spicy, all the better; the capsaicin in hot peppers, like jalapeños and chipotles, can boost your metabolism, too.
Your phone, tablet, and television may be affecting your waist size in more ways that one. Obviously if you’re sitting on electronics then you’re not moving around and burning calories. But the effects go beyond just energy. Blue light from electronic screens can disrupt your circadian rhythms; so our addiction to electronics is reducing our sleep as people favor Netflix-bingeing to bed. Both of these effects have been linked to higher levels of belly fat. These 21 other terrible habits will make your belly fat worse.

You can’t spot-pick the geographic location of weight loss on your body any more than you can choose which parts of your head go bald first. In order to lose the tire, you’ll need to shed from all over. But you can work on strengthening the muscles in the abdominal area, which will give your stomach a more toned appearance as the pounds start coming off (and help you avoid that excess skin situation you’ve seen with buddies who lose a significant amount of weight). Sit-ups and crunches should form the core of your gut-busting workout, but also consider planks, which many fitness pros believe are the best all-around workout for your midsection.


A study published in Advances in Nutrition found that catechins boost the liver's ability to burn body fat into energy. The study examined participants who worked out at least 25 minutes every day. During the study, half of the participants consumed four to five cups of tea per day. The participants that drank green tea lost an average of 2 pounds more than those that only exercised.
"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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