Flat Stomach

Are you working hard to get those chiseled flat stomach abs? Even more importantly, do you want to live a long, healthy life without the burden of disease? Using the following six strategies will help you carve away toxic visceral fat for good:

  1. Soluble fiber—found in oatmeal, beans, apples, and carrots—attracts water and forms a gel in the intestines, slowing digestion and increasing satiety. Feeling fuller longer can help with weight loss and contribute to visceral fat reduction. Soluble fiber also works to reduce belly fat by binding to dietary fat in the intestine and clearing it from the blood stream. In a five-year study, researchers found a 4 percent decrease in visceral fat for every 10 grams of soluble fiber consumed (1).

  2. Cleanse. When you get on an Isagenix system involving Cleanse Days, you spark greater metabolism of fat, including visceral fat. As you may know, the system incorporates Shake Days and Cleanse Days. A review by Krista Varady, Ph.D., from the University of Illinois-Chicago shows that both daily calorie restriction, as on Shake Days and, especially, intermittent fasting as on Cleanse Days can reduce stubborn visceral fat by as much as 5 to 15 percent (2).

  3. Unwind. Studies have shown that chronically high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol have been linked to increased visceral fat. Luckily, new findings suggest that “mindful intervention” (such as mediation or yoga) can decrease cortisol levels and, in turn, visceral fat. And the most important stress-management tool is sleep, a time when your brain and body renew.

  4. Regular physical activity, when combined with with good quality nutrition, is one of the fastest ways to tackle belly fat and get a flat stomach. In fact, studies have shown that aerobic exercise significantly reduced visceral fat by up to 12 percent (3). Aerobic exercise (or “cardio” in gym lingo) is any activity that you can sustain for more than just a few minutes while your heart, lungs, and muscles work overtime. Work up a sweat, get your heart thumping, and burn away that belly fat.

  5. Protein. Dietary protein not only helps you create muscle needed for a flat stomach, but also revs up the body’s metabolism. In addition, muscle tissue takes more energy to maintain compared to fat or bone. This means that having more muscle will increase the overall amount of calories you burn every day. When your body has this increased metabolic need, visceral fat is likely to be used as an energy source—what a win-win situation! In particular, research shows that whey protein has the best amino acid profile (high in branched-chain amino acids) for building lean tissue and increasing thermogenesis and fat burning.

  6. Vitamin D and Calcuim. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin D supplementation along with calcium had significant reductions in visceral fat in overweight and obese individuals (4). It can be difficult to meet your calcium and vitamin D needs simply through diet and sunlight exposure, so don’t forget to take your A.M. and P.M. packs!

Belly fat is more than just unattractive; it is deadly. Visceral fat—not the fat you can pinch, but the fat within the belly that bathes your internal organs—is metabolically active tissue that secretes pro-inflammatory mediators, stimulates fat storage, and has been linked to insulin resistance, abnormal blood lipids, and cardiovascular disease risk. It’s crucial to get rid of toxic visceral fat to protect your body from its vicious attacks.

Achieving a flat stomach doesn't just look good, it's good for your health.

References

1. Hairston KG, Vitolins MZ, Norris JM, Anderson AM, Hanley AJ, Wagenknecht LE. Lifestyle factors and 5-year abdominal fat accumulation in a minority cohort: the IRAS Family Study. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2012;20:421-7.

2. Varady KA. Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss? Obes Rev 2011;12:e593-e601.

3. Johnson NA, Sachinwalla T, Walton DW et al. Aerobic exercise training reduces hepatic and visceral lipids in obese individuals without weight loss. Hepatology 2009;50:1105-12.

4. Rosenblum JL, Castro VM, Moore CE, Kaplan LM. Calcium and vitamin D supplementation is associated with decreased abdominal visceral adipose tissue in overweight and obese adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95:101-8.

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