It seems like there's always a new fad diet or supplement that promises to blast away belly fat: Atkins, Whole30, green tea, keto, cinnamon, intermittent fasting, to name a few. And while many people have found varying success on many of these programs, the promises that they can immediately transform your body are overblown.
"There is still no miracle diet, food, nutrient, or bioactive component that will target abdominal fat," Kari D. Pilolla, PhD, RDN, of the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, wrote in an article for ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal. She continued that this belly fat increases risk for heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. But while targeting belly fat is important, there is no miracle cure or specific diet that can do the trick.
Avoid Trans and Saturated Fats, but Eat Plenty of Fiber
There are, however, some dietary patterns that have been found to help reduce belly fat. For example, a diet low in trans and saturated fat and higher in fiber has been found to help reduce belly fat. To decrease belly fat, try to avoid or limit both trans fats and saturated fats; we recommend eating healthier fats instead — MUFAs (monounsaturated fats) and PUFAs (polyunsaturated fats) found in foods like avocados and olive oil. "These recommendations are consistent with heart-healthy diets like the NIH-developed Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Mediterranean-style diet," she wrote.
She also urged health and fitness professionals to stay up to date and critical of peer-reviewed and published research evidence. "A single study, even if well designed, does not support changing diet or exercise recommendations," she wrote.
Since belly fat is such a persistent issue for people, both for aesthetics and health purposes, there's no shortage of belly-fat-related content and recommendations on the internet. But it's important to be discerning with the information and stay up to date with the latest research. If you're looking to lose weight and target belly fat, it's best to talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian to find the best diet for you.