1. Consume enough soluble fiber.
Soluble fiber absorbs water and creates a gel, which slows the passage of food through your digestive system. According to research, this fiber may aid in weight loss by making you feel full, causing you to eat less (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
Furthermore, soluble fiber may aid in the reduction of abdominal fat.
Over a 5-year period, an older observational study including over 1,100 adults discovered that for every 10-gram (g) increase in soluble fiber intake, belly fat accumulation decreased by 3.7% (5Trusted Source).
2. Avoid foods containing trans fats.
Trans fats are made by injecting hydrogen into unsaturated fats like soybean oil.
They were previously found in several margarines and spreads, as well as in packaged meals, but most food manufacturers have stopped using them.
In observational and animal studies, these lipids have been associated with inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance, and belly fat growth (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
A 6-year study discovered that monkeys fed a high trans fat diet developed 33% more belly fat than those fed a high monounsaturated fat diet (10Trusted Source).
Read ingredient labels carefully and avoid goods containing trans fats to help reduce belly fat. These are frequently referred to as partially hydrogenated fats.
3. Limit your alcohol consumption.
Alcohol has health benefits in small amounts, but it can be detrimental if used in excess.
According to research, drinking too much alcohol may contribute to belly obesity.
Heavy alcohol use is associated with a significantly higher risk of acquiring extra fat storage around the waist, according to observational studies (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
Cutting back on alcohol may help you lose weight. You don’t have to fully abstain from drinking, but limiting how much you drink in a single day can help.
Over 2,000 persons participated in one study on alcohol usage. According to the findings, people who drank alcohol on a daily basis but consumed less than one drink per day had less belly fat than those who drank less frequently but had more alcohol on the days they drank (12Trusted Source).
According to the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, men should limit their alcohol consumption to two drinks or less per day and women to one drink or less per day (13Trusted Source).
4. Consume a high-protein diet
Protein is a critical nutrient for weight management. A high-protein diet stimulates the production of the fullness hormone peptide YY, which reduces hunger and promotes fullness.
Protein also increases your metabolic rate and assists you in maintaining muscle mass while losing weight (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Many observational studies have found that those who consume more protein had less belly fat than those who consume less protein (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source).
5. Lower your stress levels
Stress causes belly fat accumulation by causing the adrenal glands to generate cortisol, often known as the stress hormone.
According to research, elevated cortisol levels enhance appetite and promote belly fat storage (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
Furthermore, women with a larger waist tend to create more cortisol in reaction to stress. Cortisol elevation contributes to belly fat accumulation (21Trusted Source).
6. Limit your intake of sugary foods.
Sugar may contain fructose, which has been related to a number of chronic diseases when taken in large quantities.
Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease are examples (22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source).
Observational studies demonstrate a link between excessive sugar consumption and belly obesity (25Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source).
It’s critical to understand that more than just refined sugar can contribute to belly fat accumulation. Even natural sweets, like honey, should be used in moderation.
7. Engage in aerobic activity (cardio).
Aerobic exercise (cardio) is a great strategy to improve your health while also burning calories.
It has also been shown in studies to be a beneficial form of exercise for reducing belly fat. However, research on whether moderate or high-intensity exercise is more beneficial is conflicting (27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).
In any case, the frequency and duration of your workout regimen are vital considerations.
According to one study, postmenopausal women who exercised for 300 minutes per week lost more fat from all areas than those who exercised for 150 minutes per week (30Trusted Source).
Researchers did find, however, that changes in visceral belly fat were not statistically different between the two groups (30Trusted Source).
8. Limit carbs, especially processed carbs.
Reducing your carbohydrate intake can help you lose fat, including abdominal fat.
In fact, low-carb diets have been shown to reduce belly fat in those who are overweight, at risk of type 2 diabetes, and have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source).
You are not required to follow a rigorous low-carb diet. Some study suggests that substituting unprocessed starchy carbs for refined carbs may enhance metabolic health and reduce abdominal fat (34Trusted Source, 35Trusted Source).
According to the Framingham Heart Study, persons who ate the most whole grains were 17% less likely to develop excess belly fat than those who ate the most refined grains (36 Trusted Source).
9. Engage in resistance exercises (lift weights).
Resistance exercise sometimes referred to as weightlifting or strength training, is essential for maintaining and growing muscle mass.
Resistance exercise may also be effective for belly fat loss, according to research including persons with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease (37Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source).
For example, one study of overweight teenagers found that a combination of strength training and aerobic activity resulted in the greatest decrease in visceral fat (39 Trusted Source).
If you decide to begin lifting weights, consult with a doctor first and seek counsel from a licensed personal trainer.
10. Limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages.
Sugar-sweetened beverages include a lot of added sugars like fructose, which can lead to belly obesity.
Consuming at least one serving of sugar-sweetened beverages per week was associated with increased abdominal fat in one research of persons with type 2 diabetes compared to consuming less than one serving per week (40Trusted Source).
Furthermore, because your brain does not absorb liquid calories in the same way that it does solid calories, you are more likely to consume too many calories later on and store them as fat (41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source).
11. Get lots of shut-eye.
Sleep is essential for many aspects of your health, including weight management. Sleep deprivation has been associated to an increased risk of obesity and belly fat in some groups, according to research (43Trusted Source, 44Trusted Source, 45Trusted Source, 46Trusted Source).
A 16-year study of over 68,000 women discovered that those who slept less than 5 hours per night were considerably more likely to acquire weight than those who slept 7 hours or more per night (47Trusted Source).
Sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing stops intermittently during the night, has also been associated with extra visceral fat (48 Trusted Source).
Make sure you get enough quality sleep in addition to sleeping at least 7 hours per night.
Consider speaking with a doctor about treatment options if you feel you have sleep apnea or another sleep issue.