The idea that there are special foods (blueberries, dark chocolate, avocados etc) which will somehow “kill” belly fat is of course, complete nonsense.
But it’s the sort of nonsense that seems to pop up every so often on daytime TELEVISION or in the happy-clappy health magazines when they’ve run out of “I’m ok and you’re okay” articles to publish.
It seems that people want to hear that there are “good” foods and “bad” foods, and if you want to get rid of belly fat, all you need to do is avoid the bad ones and eat the good ones.
Ultimately, burning stomach fat — or fat stored in any part of your body for that matter — requires burning away more calories than you take in.
Don’t despair; you can lose that spare tire, experts say. But there’s no secret formula.
“There is no magic bullet, diet plan, specific food, or type of exercise that specifically targets belly fat. But the good news is belly fat is the first kind of fat you tend to lose when you lose weight, ” says Michael Jensen, MD, a Mayo Clinic endocrinology specialist and obesity researcher.
Whether you’re an “apple” shape with excess belly fat, or a “pear” with wide hips and thighs, when you lose weight, you’ll most likely lose proportionately more from the abdominal region than elsewhere.
“Ninety-nine percent of people who lose weight will lose it in the abdominal region before anywhere else — and will lose proportionately more weight from the upper body, ” says Jensen, also a professor of medicine.
And why is that? “Visceral fat, the kind tucked deep inside your waistline, is more metabolically active and simpler to lose than subcutaneous fat under the skin, especially when you have plenty of it, ” explains Penn State researcher Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD.
And the more weight you have to lose, the more quickly you’re likely to start losing your belly fat, experts say.
“People who are significantly overweight may see quicker results in their belly than someone who has less to lose in that area, such as a postmenopausal pouch, ” says Georgia State University nutrition professor, Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD.