Skip the fad diets and get back to basics
By Devan Dippenaar
With too much visceral fat playing a major role in Type II diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, to name a few, many of us sometimes turn to fad diets, which can be unhealthy. If you are struggling to shift the love handles and find yourself wanting to give up, I believe in the following approach to fat loss.
1. Eat a high protein diet
Protein is an extremely important nutrient for weight management. High protein intake increases the release of the fullness hormone PYY, which decreases appetite and promotes fullness. Protein also raises your metabolic rate and helps you to retain muscle mass during weight loss. Many observational studies show that people who eat more protein tend to have less abdominal fat than those who eat a lower protein diet. High protein foods include fish, meats (choose leaner cuts), beans and legumes.
2. Do some resistance training
Resistance training, also known as weight lifting or strength training, is important for preserving and gaining muscle mass. Based on studies involving people with pre-diabetes, type II diabetes and fatty liver disease, resistance training has been shown to be beneficial for belly fat loss. Strength training can be an important weight loss strategy and may help to reduce belly fat. Studies suggest it’s even more effective in combination with aerobic exercise.
3. Do aerobic exercise (cardio)
Aerobic exercise is an effective way to improve your health and burn calories. Studies have shown that it’s one of the most effective forms of exercise for reducing belly fat. While the jury is still out on whether moderate or high intensity exercise is more beneficial, the frequency and duration of your cardio programme are more important than its intensity.
4. Eat plenty of soluble fibre
Soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system. This type of fibre promotes weight loss by helping you feel full for longer, so that you naturally eat less. It may also decrease the number of calories your body absorbs from food. Fibre is found in most vegetables, fruit, and unprocessed grains, pulses and legumes.
5. Track your food intake and exercise
Many things can help you lose weight and belly fat, but consuming fewer calories than your body needs for weight maintenance is key. Keeping a food diary or using an online food tracker or app can help you monitor your calorie intake. This strategy has been shown to be beneficial for fat loss, and while at first it might seem challenging, with a bit of time you get used to it and will reap the benefits in terms of progress.