How does dieting affect belly fat?

If you want to banish belly fat, you've gotta eat. Yep, that's right. Don't starve yourself. Eat. Research shows that dieting too intensely or tracking every morsel too closely creates perfect conditions for adding belly fat, not subtracting it. While it's good to think about what you're putting into your mouth, don't obsess about it. Watch portion sizes, choose healthy foods, be aware of how many times you visit the snack cupboard, but don't make things too difficult.

One of the key steps to losing belly fat is get away from the traditional American diet that is high in sugars and processed carbs. The best diet for losing belly fat is a high-fiber diet.

Most carbs in our diet come from processed grains, such as white flour, which is used to make breads, cereals and pasta. The fiber has been removed from the grains to make them more tasty and to avoid spoiling. Eating carbs that have the fiber removed is like eating table sugar. Refined carbs cause the blood sugar to shoot up. Because of high sugar levels, the body sends out messages to store the extra sugar in the belly fat.

In an effort to reduce belly fat most dieters try to post-pone eating as long as possible. Unfortunately, when the body is hungry and you don't eat, messages are sent out to transfer more sugar to your belly fat in preparation for possible starvation.

Fiber in the diet slows the absorption of carbs. As a result hunger is delayed and all of the sugar is "burned up."

Of course, it is easy to understand these basic concepts, but converting to a high fiber diet is a major challenge. One easy way to start is to add chia seeds to your diet. However, just adding chia seeds is not enough to lose that belly fat.

To succeed in long term weight loss you must eliminate sugars and processed grains like flour from your diet and replace them with foods that are high in fiber. For example substitute white bread with whole grain bread (be careful to read the labels; many so-called healthy foods are full of sugar and low in fiber). You can also replace potatoes with whole grains like wheat berry or pearl barley. Nuts and berries are also high in fiber and are very nutritious. 

Eliminating those "bad carbs" and replacing them with foods that are high in fiber is the best approach to losing belly fat. It may not be easy, but it is worth a try. 

Continue Learning about Belly Fat

The Mind–Belly Fat Connection
The Mind–Belly Fat Connection
In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer and Bart are watching TV when Homer decides to show off the remarkable powers of his beer belly: He takes a beer ...
Read More
How can yogurt help me lose belly fat?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
A recent study found that those who ate three yogurts a day while dieting lost 81% more belly fa...
More Answers
6 Things You Should Know About Belly Fat
6 Things You Should Know About Belly Fat6 Things You Should Know About Belly Fat6 Things You Should Know About Belly Fat6 Things You Should Know About Belly Fat
Carrying a few extra pounds around your midsection? Slim down with these simple tweaks.
Start Slideshow
Why Belly Fat Is a Killer
Why Belly Fat Is a Killer

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.