Losing the fat around your midsection can be a battle.
In addition to being a risk factor for several diseases, excess abdominal fat may make you feel bloated and discouraged.
Luckily, several strategies have been shown to be especially effective at reducing your waist size.
If you dream about having a flat stomach, this article may be just what you need.
Here are 30 science-backed methods to help you reach your goal of a flat stomach.
1. Cut Calories, but Not Too Much
It is a well-known fact that you need to cut calories to produce weight loss.
One popular approach is to reduce your daily intake by 500–1,000 calories to expect to lose approximately 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) per week (1Trusted Source).
That being said, restricting your calorie intake too much can be counterproductive.
In one study, a group of people who ate 1,100 calories per day slowed their metabolic rate more than twice as much as those who consumed about 1,500 calories per day for four consecutive days (5Trusted Source).
What’s more, this decrease in metabolic rate may persist even after you start behaving like you normally do. That means you may have a lower metabolic rate than you had before you severely restricted your calorie intake (4Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
Therefore, it is important that you don’t restrict your calorie intake too much or for too long.
BOTTOM LINE:Eating too few calories may slow your metabolic rate, even in the long term. Therefore, it is important not to restrict calories too much or for too long.
2. Eat More Fiber, Especially Soluble Fiber
Soluble fibers absorb large quantities of water and slow down the passing of food through the digestive tract.
Furthermore, soluble fiber may decrease the number of calories your body is able to absorb from food (9Trusted Source).
By eating soluble fiber, you are also less likely to accumulate fat around your organs, which reduces your waist circumference and the risk of several diseases (10Trusted Source).
One observational study showed that each 10-gram increase in daily soluble fiber intake decreased fat gain around the midsection by 3.7% over five years (11Trusted Source).
Good sources of soluble fibers include oats, flaxseeds, avocados, legumes, Brussels sprouts and blackberries.
BOTTOM LINE:Eating soluble fiber has been linked to a reduced risk of developing fat around your midsection.
3. Take Probiotics
Overweight and obese people have been shown to have a different composition of gut bacteria than normal-weight people, which may influence weight gain and fat distribution (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).
A regular intake of probiotics may shift the balance towards beneficial gut flora, reducing the risk of weight gain and fat accumulation in your abdominal cavity.
- Lactobacillus fermentum
- Lactobacillus amylovorus
- Lactobacillus gasseri
Probiotic foods include some types of yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kimchi and pickles.
There are also a wide variety of probiotic supplements available. However, these supplements usually contain several strains of bacteria, so make sure to pick one that contains at least one of the strains mentioned above.
BOTTOM LINE:Probiotics may help build up beneficial gut flora. Some Lactobacillus strains have been shown to be particularly effective at reducing waist size.
4. Do Some Cardio
Doing cardio, or aerobic exercise, is an excellent way to burn calories and improve overall health.
Examples of cardio include running, brisk walking, biking and rowing.
BOTTOM LINE:Doing moderate-to-high-intensity cardio for 20–40 minutes per day has been shown to be effective at reducing belly fat.
5. Drink Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are an easy way to add extra protein to your diet.
Getting enough protein in your diet can boost your metabolism, reduce your appetite and assist with fat loss, especially from your midsection (28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source).
Furthermore, studies have suggested that adding protein shakes to your weight loss diet may be especially effective at reducing your waist circumference (32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source).
BOTTOM LINE:Protein shakes are an easy way to add extra protein to your diet. Including them as part of a weight loss diet has been shown to be effective at reducing your waist size.