Does fasting reduce belly fat?
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Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is not only unsightly, but also leads to many health risks, such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity. Many people choose intermittent fasting to reduce their excess belly fat. However, does this eating pattern really work as expected?
1. Some facts about belly fat
Most of us have a certain amount of belly fat, even those with flat abs. However, having too much belly fat affects your health in different ways.
Some fat is located just under your skin, others may be deeper inside or around your heart, liver, lungs and other organs. The deeper fats, called visceral fat, act as a cushion, helping to support the organs in the body.
In fact, our body only needs a small amount of visceral fat. Too much of this fat can lead to dangerous conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, colon and breast cancer.
When your weight increases beyond the allowable limit, the body will start to store fat in certain areas, especially the organs around the heart. Even in thin people, they can still store a lot of visceral fat. The amount of excess fat you have will depend on factors such as your genes, lifestyle, and physical activity level.
Visceral fat tends to occur more in people who do not exercise regularly or have an unhealthy diet. Therefore, whether you are thin or overweight, it is important to participate in sports activities every day to avoid storing belly fat or other unhealthy fats in the body.
2. How do you know how much belly fat you have?
The most accurate way to help you determine how much belly fat or visceral fat you have is a CT or MRI scan. In addition to the above methods, you can also check your belly fat at home through a tape measure.
You can take a measuring tape, then wrap it around your waist and check your waist circumference. For the most accurate results, you should stand upright when measuring. For women, the ideal waist size is under 35 inches and less than 40 inches if you're a man.
3. Does fasting reduce belly fat?
Intermittent fasting for weight loss is becoming a popular weight loss method in recent years. When applying this eating pattern, you will still eat normally on some days of the week and only spend a few days to significantly reduce your calorie consumption.
Some studies show that intermittent fasting has short-term effects. People who followed this diet were able to lose weight, belly fat as well as markers of inflammation.
When you fast, the body's cells are under mild stress. On days when you consume less calories will help cells strengthen their ability to cope with stress and fight some diseases.
Does fasting reduce belly fat? Within 12 hours of not eating, the body will begin to change to save energy and work more efficiently. The empty stores of glucose or sugar burn fat and create chemical byproducts, called ketones. This substance will circulate throughout the body, helping to improve insulin sensitivity, nourish the brain and reduce inflammation. In addition, blood levels of sodium and the compound TMAO (which is linked to heart disease) also plummeted, while a red blood cell count increased, which promotes heart health.
Furthermore, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein essential for the healthy maintenance of nerve cells, spiked. Meanwhile, cells switch from an active to a resting state, repairing and cleaning up faulty mitochondria (the cell's energy-producing furnace) and reducing oxidative stress (the cell damage that causes cell damage). aging tissue).
When we eat again, the cells have adapted and better use fats, proteins and carbs. Nutrition experts say that switching back and forth between fasting and eating again can bring many health benefits, including weight loss, reducing belly fat. However, to lose belly fat and get the nutrients you need, you should eat healthy, limiting sugary desserts and processed foods.
4. Some risks of fasting to reduce belly fat
A lot of people use fasting to reduce belly fat, but sometimes it can unintentionally become a habit of binge eating and fasting.
For people with diabetes or those on blood sugar control medications, fasting can cause blood sugar to drop to dangerous levels. And for people who are thin or elderly, fasting can lead to bone and muscle loss.
Ideally, if you have any health conditions, you need to consult a nutritionist before trying to apply the method of intermittent fasting to lose weight.
5. Ways to help "break" belly fat effectively
Belly fat or visceral fat is considered the main cause of increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and a number of other diseases. Instead of following a weight loss intermittent fasting diet, you can still significantly lose your excess belly fat through the following lifestyle and dietary changes:
5.1. Add more soluble fiber
Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel-like mixture, which slows down the digestion of food in the body. Studies have shown that this type of fiber helps promote weight loss by making you feel fuller faster, thereby curbing cravings naturally. In addition, it also helps reduce the number of calories that your body absorbs from food.
In particular, soluble fiber has the ability to fight belly fat. Results of a study in more than 1,100 adults showed that every 10 gram increase in soluble fiber resulted in a 3.7% reduction in belly fat over a five-year period. Therefore, you should try to add more soluble fiber-rich foods to your daily diet, including:
Blackberries Flaxseed Legumes Brussels sprouts Avocado noodles (Shirataki noodles)
5.2. Avoid consuming foods containing trans fats
Trans fats are commonly found in some margarine and packaged foods. Consuming a lot of these fats can lead to inflammation, heart disease, increased belly fat, and insulin resistance. An animal experiment showed that adopting a diet rich in trans fats resulted in a 33% increase in belly fat.
To help reduce belly fat and protect your health, you should read nutrition labels carefully and stay away from foods containing trans fats. They are often listed on product labels as partially hydrogenated fats.
5.3. Don't drink too much alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can make you gain belly fat. Therefore, when limiting alcohol consumption will help you significantly reduce your waist size.
5.4. Eat a high protein diet
Protein is an extremely important nutrient, helping you manage your weight.
When consuming a lot of protein will increase the level of the hormone PYY, which helps reduce appetite and promote feelings of fullness. In addition, protein also increases the body's metabolic rate and maintains muscle mass during weight loss.
Many studies have shown that people who eat a lot of protein tend to have less belly fat than people with a low protein diet. Here are some protein-rich foods that you should choose, including:
Dairy products Meat Fish Eggs Beans Whey protein
5.5. Control stress levels
Stress can increase belly fat by stimulating the adrenal glands to produce the stress hormone cortisol. Experts believe that high levels of cortisol will increase appetite and promote the accumulation of excess fat in the abdomen.
On the other hand, women who already have large waistlines tend to produce more of the hormone cortisol in response to stress. To help lose belly fat effectively, you should engage in enjoyable activities that help manage and manage your stress.
5.6. Do exercise
Vigorous exercise will help you get rid of excess body fat, including visceral fat. Experts recommend that you do moderate exercise, at least 30 minutes a day and do it about 5 days a week.
Some exercises to reduce belly fat that you should apply, such as brisk walking, jogging or cycling. These activities make your heart beat faster, sweat more, thereby helping to burn visceral fat and improve physique extremely effectively.
5.7. Sleep well and get enough sleep
Sleep is especially important for many aspects of a person's health, including weight control. Studies show that people who don't get enough sleep or sleep less than 7 hours a night tend to gain more weight and belly fat than people with good sleep quality.
In addition, sleep apnea can also increase the risk of storing excess visceral fat in the body. This is a sleep disorder that can seriously affect your health if not treated early.
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References: healthline.com, webmd.com