Weight Loss

Science-backed Tips to Lose Belly Fat


November 30, 2023

Belly fat refers to the extra weight around the middle section of the body. Usually, there are two forms of this fat. The first type is subcutaneous fat, which accounts for approximately 90% of the fat. The remaining 10% is visceral or intra-abdominal fat. This fat, which is located deep inside the abdomen and gathers around vital organs such as the pancreas, liver, and intestines, could potentially increase the risk of diseases like colorectal cancer, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. 

A well-rounded diet paired with regular physical activity is necessary for significant weight reduction. While it is not possible to spot-reduce fat in specific areas of the body, there are ways to reduce overall body fat, thus reducing belly fat.

Tips to Lose Belly Fat

Portion Control

Mindful eating or portion control is the first step towards healthy weight loss. Portioning the meals can help keep calorie consumption under control and lose weight. Pay close attention to the carbohydrates when adhering to portion control. It’s not necessary to adopt a low-carb eating plan, but cutting back on simple carbohydrates like fruit juice and sweets is a smart idea. Instead, go for sources of carbs such as whole grains, beans, and legumes, as well as vegetables. 

Limit Unhealthy Beverages or Alcohol

Avoid packaged fruit juices, sweetened beverages, and flavoured energy drinks. These juices may market themselves as healthy, but they are high in calories and simple sugar content. Consume whole fruits rather than store-bought juices to cut down calorie intake. 

Although carbonation is calorie-free, it can bloat the belly. Therefore, it is vital to avoid carbonated drinks altogether. It’s essential to monitor alcohol consumption as well because drinking too much of it might lead to an increase in belly fat, particularly in middle-aged men. 

Detox Drinks

Detox drinks assist in flushing out toxins from the body. It cleanses the stomach and improves gut health. They’re made from fibre-rich leafy greens promote good gut bacteria and aid weight management. 

Read More: Detox Waters for Weight Loss – Experts Advice

Consume a Protein-rich Diet

A high-quality protein diet helps with weight loss since it speeds up metabolism and lessens cravings and hunger pangs between meals. Moreover, protein has a high thermic effect that helps burn calories. 

Aim for at least 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal and 10 grams of protein per snack. When people consume adequate protein, they feel full and don’t crave refined carbohydrates or foods high in trans fats.

Include More Fibre

The numerous benefits of fibre are no secret. Fibre can make the digestive system strong and reduce bloating. There is research suggesting that fibre assists in managing weight, obesity, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. For those who struggle to stick to a strict diet, simply increasing fibre consumption can result in weight loss. Make an effort to include 25 to 30 grams of fibre daily in the diet. 

Engage in Cardio and Strength Training

Exercise plays the chief role in weight loss, particularly in the reduction of belly fat. The best results will come from a combination of weight training and cardiovascular exercise. Start with 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week, plus two days of muscle-strengthening activities.

Read More: Effective Exercises for Reducing Belly Fat At Home: A Comprehensive Guide

Quality Sleep

It is crucial to get a good amount of sleep every day. Studies show that insufficient sleep accumulates visceral fat in the body and leads to fat storage and weight gain. In adults under 40, getting less than five hours of sleep every night corresponds to a considerably greater buildup of visceral and subcutaneous fat. 

Read More: An Explainer Guide to Poor Sleep and Weight Gain

Drink Enough Water

Drinking enough water can help prevent consuming extra calories. Drinking more water makes one feel fuller, which lowers the appetite and curbs the desire for snacking. Furthermore, a hydrated body performs better. 

Foods to Eat

Although there are no such foods that directly target belly fat reduction, having fibre-rich foods with reasonable amounts of protein and healthy fats may help in reducing overall body fat, thereby reducing belly fat. They are avocados, oats, chia seeds, eggs, lean protein, vegetables, berries, green tea, etc. Moreover, including apple cider vinegar in the diet can assist in reducing overall fat and belly fat. Probiotics also aid in weight and belly fat reduction. Health experts claim low-fat yoghurt can help lose belly fat and overall weight.

Read More: Fuel Your Weight Loss Journey with Foods That Burn Belly Fat

Try Intermittent Fasting

Choosing when to eat may be just as helpful as what one eats in terms of effectively losing weight. Cycling between the eating and fasting phases is known as intermittent fasting. Fasting people usually choose a “window” to eat within which they consume all of their meals and snacks. Other potential advantages of this eating habit include better insulin sensitivity and hunger signalling. Find a time slot that works for your daily routine. However, try to avoid eating too late at night as this can interfere with sleep. 

Read More: Unlocking the Secrets: Intermittent Fasting and Belly Fat Reduction


Controlling portion sizes, exercising, maintaining appropriate posture, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, eliminating toxins using detox water, and eating a diet high in protein and fibre are some strategies for reducing belly fat. It is best to avoid fruit juices in packages, fizzy drinks, alcoholic beverages, sweetened beverages, and flavour-infused energy drinks since they are high in empty calories. Additionally, a few food items like eggs, avocados, oats, chia seeds, veggies, berries, lean protein, and green tea may aid in lowering total body fat, which in turn may lower belly fat. Probiotics, which include apple cider vinegar, can reduce weight and abdominal fat. The best forms of exercise to help weight loss include aerobic exercises that raise heart rate, such as walking, running, or swimming, and aerobic activity mixed with strength training if lowering total body fat, including belly fat, is the ultimate goal. 

HealthifyMe Suggestion

Have you heard of the term stress belly? Stress belly is the extra abdominal fat that accumulates as a result of chronic or prolonged stress. Most people realize they have a stress belly after struggling to lose weight. Despite following the best weight loss guidance, people with a stressful belly won’t notice much difference in their stomachs because they aren’t treating the hormones that are at the root of the problem. Prolonged stress leads to increased blood sugar levels, which makes cortisol levels rise, which increases belly fat. It’s easier said than done, but reducing and limiting your stress and stress hormones is key to controlling elevated stress cortisol levels. Find time to do more things that calm you down and make you feel relaxed. Planning time for yoga, activities with loved ones, reading, art, and more can ensure that you get to unwind.

The Final Word

It is not a good idea to approach weight loss with the mindset of strictly cutting down all types of food. Reducing carbohydrate intake while increasing fibre and protein intake is more effective than a low-fat diet in reducing abdominal fat. Aim for moderate-intensity exercise for at least half an hour on most days of the week. To make sure you can make a significant dietary change without running any risks to your health, please speak with a healthcare provider.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information, please contact our certified nutritionists Here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are effective ways to lose belly fat?

A: Some practical ways to lose belly fat are cutting down on consuming sodas, alcohol, sugary beverages, having a light dinner, exercising, portion control, and trying detox water. In addition, having a diet rich in protein and fibre, getting quality sleep, maintaining a good posture, adequate hydration, and healthy alternatives can help. 

Q: Can spot reduction techniques target belly fat specifically?

A: Spot reduction techniques that target belly fat specifically are a myth. However, toning the muscles in specific areas is possible through spot exercises, like sit-ups. Experts suggest that fat reduction in a particular area is only possible by reducing overall body fat. 

Q: How does diet affect belly fat reduction?

A: A diet high in protein and fibre and low in carbohydrates assists in reducing weight. A weight-loss-friendly diet with proper exercise will help in toning down the body, thereby reducing belly fat.

Q: What role does exercise play in losing belly fat?

A: Exercising while eating healthy significantly assists in fat reduction since it creates a calorie deficit. Doing aerobic exercises, spot exercises or engaging in other physical activities such as swimming, playing tennis, or badminton promotes belly fat loss over time.

Q: Are there specific foods that can help with belly fat loss?

A: Certainly, some protein and fibre-rich foods like chia seeds, avocados, oats, quinoa, ragi, eggs, lean protein, leafy greens, nuts, and green apples are suitable for fat reduction. In addition, berries and fruits like watermelon or oranges are also beneficial.

Q: How does stress impact abdominal fat accumulation?

A: Stress plays a massive role in abdominal fat accumulation. Cortisol levels increase due to stress that damages cells or lowers insulin sensitivity. Cortisol causes abdominal fat accumulation as it stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Moreover, stress leads to disrupted sleep, overeating and lower metabolic rate. Stomach or triceps are the most susceptible areas of fat storage or weight gain related to stress. 

Q: Can genetics affect the distribution of belly fat?

A: Genetics significantly affect fat storage. The genome association research carried out shows genetic factors widely influence the distribution of fat. Genes and fat storage affect women to a higher extent than men.

Q: What is the role of sleep in losing belly fat?

A: Disturbed sleep patterns or poor quality sleep leads to fat accumulation. It is essential to get a good night’s sleep to lose belly fat. A lack of sleep can make one crave sugar and binge on oily, fried foods.

Q: Are there specific types of workouts that are more effective for targeting belly fat?

A: Yes, some exercises, such as vertical leg crunch, lunge twist, bicycle exercise, lunge reach, squat jump, crunches, bird dog, etc., help reduce belly fat. These are simple exercises you can do while watching TV.

Q: How do hormonal changes influence belly fat in men and women?

A: Biologically, men and women are different. With age, the hormone levels, distribution of fat and fat accumulation get changed. For example, women during their childbearing age store fat in the lower part of the body, whereas older men tend to store fat around their abdomen due to less testosterone and oestrogen, respectively.

Q: Is intermittent fasting a practical approach for belly fat reduction?

A: Rather than focusing on what you eat, intermittent fasting focuses on the time you eat, which is a practical approach to reduce belly fat. Intermittent fasting uses up stored fat that promotes weight loss.

Q: Can supplements or weight loss products help with belly fat loss?

A: Supplements and weight-reducing products may help improve metabolism. They do not, however, produce effective weight loss results. It is advisable to avoid using artificial weight loss techniques. You can acquire a toned figure without experiencing any adverse effects or gaining it back with a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Q: What are some common misconceptions about losing belly fat?

A: Some misconceptions related to belly fat include target fat/belly fat reduction, eating rice increases abdominal fat, calorie restriction results in belly fat reduction, avoiding all carbohydrates will decrease belly fat, etc.

Q: How long does it typically take to see noticeable results when trying to lose belly fat?

A: Every individual is unique. Therefore, results may vary from person to person. However, experts and personal experiences suggest most people will be able to witness results within three months to six months.

Q: What are some practical tips for maintaining belly fat loss in the long term?

A: A good diet, healthy alternatives, healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, training, or engaging in other physical activities like tennis, badminton, swimming, yoga, dancing, etc., are a few practical and effective tips for maintaining belly fat loss in the long term.

Research Sources

Clinical Evidence and Mechanisms of High-Protein Diet-Induced Weight Loss

Effect of Fibre Supplementation on Body Weight and Composition, Frequency of Eating and 

Dietary Choice in Overweight Individuals

Sleep Deprivation: Effects on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance

Sleep Duration and Five-Year Abdominal Fat Accumulation in a Minority Cohort: The IRAS Family Study

Gene-Environment Interactions on Body Fat Distribution

About the Author

Nahida is a registered dietician with 9 years of experience, working extensively with individuals dealing with obesity, diabetes, thyroid and PCOD. In addition, she has worked with NGOs supporting cancer patients by providing them with nutritional counseling. After completing her post-graduation in Dietetics & Applied Nutrition from Mumbai University, she went on to finish her MBA in Healthcare Services. Nahida is also a certified diabetes educator from International Diabetes Center. Currently a Sr. Nutritionist with HealthifyMe, Nahida is looking forward to let people take their weight off their mind and body by enjoying the journey.

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