That stubborn fat around your belly can be more than just annoying—it can be harmful to your health. That’s because belly fat commonly results in visceral fat, which surrounds vital organs such as the liver and intestines.
To make matters worse, this particular type of fat can alter your normal hormonal balance and create havoc with your metabolism. Obviously, these aren’t your typical fat storage cells.
Having excess stomach fat might also be an indicator of additional fat surrounding your heart, stomach, and kidneys. If this occurs, you’re pretty much on the highway to Diabetes City.
So the natural question arises: How much is too much belly fat?
10 Easy Ways to Reduce Belly Fat
Even though burning off belly fat isn’t easy (it’s called stubborn for a reason), there are a few steps you can take to help you decrease that waistline.
1. Cutting Back the Calories
It’s a sad fact, but you can’t target fat in only one area of the body. Rather, you’ll have to focus on decreasing the total amount of calories you consume, since losing weight in general will result in some loss of belly fat.
2. Get Moving
Exercise offers more benefits than simply losing weight, and it often doesn’t burn the amount of calories that you might expect. That said, when combined with an overall healthy diet, working out on a regular basis can really deliver a boost to your weight loss efforts.
3. Do Strength Training
On average, most people who engage in some form of resistance training will notice some decrease in belly fat. As a matter of fact, overweight kids who engaged in aerobic exercise combined with strength training saw the largest decreases in visceral fat, according to research published in the Journal of Sports Sciences. (2)
4. Increase Protein Intake
According to brain scans, consuming protein decreases the activity in areas of the brain that trigger food cravings. Protein also raises the production of hormones that cause you to feel satiated, so you end up feeling fuller for longer stretches of time.
5. Eat More Fruits and Veggies
Loaded with nutrients and packed with fiber, by increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables you’ll get fuller on fewer calories. You can fill up half your plate with veggies, or try starting with a salad before each meal.
6. Limit Sugary Beverages
The processed sugar found in many foods, particularly juice and sodas, becomes quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, spiking insulin levels. While there’s no concrete proof that these beverages are a direct cause of obesity, research does show that frequently consuming sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with weight gain, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. (3)
7. Get Sugar From Healthy Sources
Rather than consuming sugar from drinks, focus on getting it from natural whole foods. When you eat foods in their natural forms you consume other nutrients, like fiber. You’ll tend to stay fuller when you actually chew and process your food.
After all, there’s a huge difference between eating an orange and drinking a glass of orange juice, since eating an orange occurs more slowly, giving your body more time to digest it.
8. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Another sure-fire way for guys to decrease belly fat is to limit alcohol consumption. Besides being an obvious source of empty calories, alcohol also has to be metabolized by the body, causing it to take a temporary pause from fat-burning mode.
It’s a well-known fact that the stress hormone cortisol is tied to increased stomach fat and weight gain. According to a 2018 review of research studies published in Current Obesity Reports, individuals having high cortisol levels over long periods of time are more likely to experience increased stomach fat. (4)
Taking part in calming activities like meditation, tai chi, or yoga, or by just avoiding conflict altogether, can make a big difference in the battle of the bulge.
10. Weight Loss Supplements
An easy way to kick-start your weight loss efforts is by taking fat burning supplements. Not all weight loss supplements are created equal, however, and while helpful, they’re only a temporary solution.
Be sure to do your homework before starting with weight loss supplements to know which type is right for you. For a look at our recommendations, check out our list of the best men’s fat burners, updated for 2020.