Which should you cut back on first if you want to trim belly fat -- carbs or fat?
You might think that dietary fat goes straight to your middle, but research suggests that too many empty carbs is really the first thing to do your belly in.
In a study, healthy overweight men and women went on two consecutive 8-week diet interventions. The first diet period was focused on weight maintenance and the second aimed for weight reduction by cutting calories. Through each phase, the participants followed either a reduced-fat or a reduced-carbohydrate diet. When all was said and done, both groups lost weight. But it turned out that the group on the reduced-carb diet -- which, incidentally, also focused on quality, low-glycemic-index carbs -- lost 11 percent more deep belly fat compared with the group on the low-fat diet. Plus, the low-carb group lost more fat mass overall. (Related: Try these quick and simple low-carb recipes.)
Bye-Bye Belly, Hello Health
Shrinking the amount of belly fat you have is always a good idea for your health, because too much visceral -- or intra-abdominal -- fat increases your risk of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. But it's not always clear how to target that pesky problem area. In addition to cutting out empty carbs like white rice, white bread, and white pasta, consider these strategies as well:
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ReferencesEffects of dietary macronutrient composition on total and intra-abdominal adipose tissue during weight maintenance and weight loss. Goree, L. L. et al., Endocrine Reviews 2011 Jun;32(3):P2-459, meeting abstract.
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