Many folks think that they have to cut out fat entirely when they’re trying to lose weight and belly fat. Believe it or not, though, certain dietary fats can actually help to burn belly fat. In fact, research has shown that diets rich in healthy fats promote increased fat loss, especially from the midsection.
The main fat fighters are monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Here’s how they work:
- They help to fight off inflammation. Inflammation can be damaging to your overall health and trigger your body to store more belly fat. By decreasing chronic inflammation in your body, these fats can help decrease internal stressors that pack on the pounds.
- They take longer to digest. This extended digestion helps you feel full longer, preventing cravings and overeating. Do you remember the fat-free diet fad from the’90s? It didn’t work because when you eat meals with little fat (and mostly carbohydrates), you have a limited feeling of satiety. As a result, you consume more food, and therefore more calories, throughout the day.
- Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce stress hormones in your body. Having increased belly fat can be a telltale sign of having too much stress in your life. This increased level of stress causes an increase in the production of stress hormones like cortisol. This increase in stress hormone production promotes an increase in the storage of belly fat. However, having more omega-3s in your meal plan helps cut stress hormones, and therefore, cut down on the amount of belly fat they can store.
Some dietary fats can be quite negative to your health and can increase belly fat. These are the fats you want to limit:
- Saturated fats: These fats are mainly found in animal proteins, so a diet rich in high-fat dairy, red meat, and processed meat is high in saturated fat. These fats have been linked with an increased risk for heart disease, elevated cholesterol levels, and inflammation in the body. A small amount of saturated fat each day is alright, but you want to make sure that less than 10 percent of your total daily calories comes from saturated fat. So on the Belly Fat Diet plan, you’re allotted 14–18 grams of saturated fat per day.
- Trans fats: These fats are found mostly in processed foods, such as fried foods, pastries and other baked goods, biscuits, muffins, crackers, and even some brands of microwave popcorn. These fats can lower your good cholesterol, raise your bad cholesterol, and trigger inflammation. In fact, research has shown that even just 2 grams of trans fats per day can have a negative impact on your health. Because these fats can pack inches onto your waistline, you need to eliminate them from your diet to successfully reach your flat-belly goals.
Although healthy fats can be essential for getting rid of belly fat, balance is key. Too much of a good thing can be bad, especially when it comes to fats. Healthy fats have powerful health and weight loss benefits, but they’re also high in calories. So it’s important that you consume just enough of these healthy fats to reap their belly-flattening benefits without consuming so much that you cancel out their effects.
Great sources of monounsaturated fats include:
- Natural peanut or almond butter
- Olive oil
- Peanut oil
- Sesame oil
Terrific sources of omega-3 fatty acids include
- Chia seeds
- Omega-3 eggs