If you do a Google search on diet plans to reduce belly fat you’ll come across several options.
But in this article I’m going to explain why many of these plans fail and what you should be doing instead.
In my practice I’ve seen that people have little success with long term fat loss using most diet plans. And when targeting belly fat these plans are even more problematic.
Why belly fat is important
Many people want to lose belly fat because they don’t like how it looks. But the problem with belly fat is that it’s usually more than skin deep. Belly fat often surrounds the internal organs. This is known as visceral fat and it contributes to several health issues.
Popular diet plans
There are several different options for diet plans, but most fall into one of these categories.
Very low calorie diets
Low carb diets
Low fat diets
Why you should avoid these diets when trying to reduce belly fat
Let’s start with intermittent fasting, which isn’t really a diet plan, but more of a way of eating. I’ve explained several reasons why you should avoid intermittent fasting in this article. And a recent study shows that it can actually make it harder to lose belly fat.
In this study they found that your body may adapt to fasting periods and actually store more fat in the belly.
Diet plans like Keto and many low carb plans often include processed meats. Processed meats, unlike other protein sources have been shown to increase belly fat. These diets often rely on artificial sweeteners which can also contribute to fat storage in the belly.
The keto diet also has a detrimental effect on hormone balance which likely means more belly fat.
Low fat diets, on the other hand, often replace healthy fats with foods containing starchy carbohydrates. These foods are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to belly fat. And people on low fat diets often make the mistake of using processed foods that replace fat with sugar for flavor.
Even if your low fat diet includes whole foods, it likely doesn’t include enough fat or protein for hormone balance.
Very low calorie diets promote more muscle loss than fat loss, and can actually cause belly fat storage as your body goes into a starvation mode.
Reducing carbohydrate consumption is a good idea when it comes to belly fat, but many low carb diet plans don’t provide the right balance of nutrients.
In general diet plans create stress. And stress is one of the leading factors when it comes to belly fat.
Diet plans can have an adverse effect on gut health. Healthy gut bacteria is an important part of reducing belly fat.
Diet plans can cause hormone imbalances which contribute to belly fat. Check out my guide to hormonal weight loss for more information.
What can you do instead?
Instead of choosing one of the popular diet plans when you are looking to reduce belly fat, I recommend making these changes.
Limit sugar in your diet
Sugar in your diet is one of the leading causes of belly fat. It can also lead to blood sugar imbalances which contribute to cravings, binge eating and overall weight gain. Don’t forget to consider beverages like fruit juice, commercial smoothies and specialty coffee and tea.
Limit starchy carbohydrates
While low carb diets are probably not the best idea for losing belly fat, lowering starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, and grains can help to reduce belly fat.
Limit processed foods in your diet
Processed carbohydrates and processed meats both contribute to belly fat and to hormone imbalances.
Eat more fiber
Fibre rich foods like vegetables, beans and legumes are good sources of fibre. According to a 2015 study, those who eat more fibre are much less likely to have high levels of visceral fat.
Eat more protein
Protein is important for keeping levels of belly fat low. It also helps you to keep hormones balanced and helps to reduce cravings and binge eating.
Eat foods that contain healthy fats
Eating foods like fatty fish that contain high levels of omega-3 fats may help to reduce visceral fat around the belly.
Reduce stress levels
Stress triggers release of the stress hormone cortisol. Chronically high cortisol levels cause your body to store fat around the middle. Stress can also lead to emotional and binge eating which usually consists of eating all the foods I suggested limiting.
Get a personalized eating plan
I know this sounds complicated. And it is, because everyone is different and needs different proportions of protein, carbs and fats specific to them and there unique body chemistry.
That’s why I provide personalized eating plans that help you to balance hormones, improve your health and reduce fat levels. Even in the belly.
Book a call to find out how I can help or take the hormone quiz to find out what hormone is keeping you overweight and what your personality has to do with it.
Vicki Witt | Clinical Nutritionist | Holistic Coach | Reiki Master | Certified LEAP allergy therapist Over 25 years of successfully helping you achieve optimal health and weight loss 🍏 | www.vickiwittweightloss.com
Vicki Witt is a Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Coach, and Reiki Master. She has been practicing over 25 years and specializes in holistically customizing diet and lifestyle plans to each individual for weight loss and hormonal control. Her clientele often report they feel the best they have ever felt and wish they had started sooner. One of the USA and Australia's top Nutritionists, she has won multiple awards for her services in the industry.