Many people want to burn belly fat because they simply don’t like it. Especially if you already have a pretty slim body, that heap of fat above the waistband can be somewhat out of place. However, the aesthetic aspect is not the only reason to want to get rid of belly fat.
There are two types of belly fat: the fat on the surface, and the fat that is deeper around your organs. The surface fat is not very unhealthy. However, the fat around your organs, also known as visceral fat , can greatly increase your risk of heart problems, diabetes and other conditions.
If your belly is especially soft and ‘lumpy’, then the problem is probably mainly the fat on the surface. But do you have a bulging, distended stomach that also feels hard? Then a significant part of the fat is under the firm layer of your abdominal muscles and it is also important for your health that you get rid of the fat as quickly as possible.
Lose belly fat nutrition
So lose belly fat. But how do you do that? The internet often gives the answer that you need certain foods to lose belly fat . Every day a spoonful of apple cider vinegar, for example, or drink extra red fruit. Leafy vegetables and green tea are also commonly heard remedies that supposedly burn extra belly fat.
But how sensible are such lists? Unfortunately, not very sensible.
Yes, there are products that stimulate your fat burning. However, these usually have a minimal effect – your fat burning is not a machine that you can suddenly turn on twice as hard with the right fuel.
And more importantly: even if these types of products would burn fat, it does not automatically mean belly fat . There is no single product that will make your body get fat from a specific place. Your fat reserves are seen as one large stock due to your combustion, where surpluses are distributed evenly, and deficits are made equally from everywhere.
So no, when you take a spoonful of apple cider vinegar, there is not a cell in your body that suddenly thinks: “now we have to get fat out of the belly”. There is no automatic diet to lose belly fat.
Burn fat locally?
This is related to the idea of burning fat locally. There is still the idea that you can burn belly fat by doing enough abdominal exercises. And yet there are plenty of people who have lost little fat on their stomach with a daily abdominal muscle quarter.
Again, that’s because your body doesn’t move fat from where it needs energy . Your metabolism works as a whole, with all supplies being used everywhere. So when you work your abs, the energy for it is drawn from all the fat reserves in your body. And because your abs don’t use that much energy, the result is usually quite meager.
To lose belly fat, you will not have to focus on just your belly. You will have to get so much energy from your body fat that the reserves in your stomach will also be emptied. That means that you need an overall energy deficit – regardless of whether you drink apple cider vinegar with it…
Belly fat and cortisol
But, you might say, if it’s always about the whole body, what about people who only have too much fat on their stomach? If fat has been removed in proportion from all fat reserves, why are their limbs so much slimmer than their bellies?
The reason for this is that your body can indeed prefer certain storage locations. They are just not determined by the place where you do strength training, or by what you eat. Instead, an important role is played by your hormones.
Your hormones determine where your body thinks it needs extra reserve. For example, belly fat is closely related to an excess of cortisol, the stress hormone. The more cortisol in your body, the harder it clings to that bit of fat on your belly. It burns all other supplies rather than belly fat.
So there is an indirect answer to the question “which foods burn belly fat”. Namely: foods that help to keep your cortisol level low. But beware: food is not the only factor there!
Diet against belly fat
Let’s take a look at that food first. When it comes to reducing cortisol , two categories are especially important:
Vegetables and fruit. It contains vitamins and minerals that help to get rid of cortisol.
Omega 3 fats. So eat a portion of fatty fish regularly if you want to burn belly fat.
But it’s much more important to avoid making cortisol. If you don’t address the causes, you can eat fish until you drop, but it won’t really help.
As mentioned, cortisol is a stress hormone. Your body produces it when you are very busy, when you are injured or otherwise ‘need’ to take urgent action. Useful if you are under attack, but causes of cortisol also include: