You've heard the claims - follow this diet and you'll have six-pack abs in no time! You know that belly fat is the most dangerous kind because it leads to high blood pressure and heart disease. Is there really a specific eating plan that can give you a super-star mid-section? According to Newsweek magazine - not exactly. They interviewed the experts about busting the belly-fat - and here's what they learned. For starters, know this:
- Quantity counts. Our friend Dr. David Katz is director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center. He says it's simple - cut calories as a whole and you'll lose belly fat. The notion that you're going to eat a specific food and banish belly fat is usually a gimmick. When the amount of calories you take in is less than the amount you burn off, you'll lose weight. Now, that said, there ARE some foods that can help keep fat from collecting around the belly in particular. For example:
- Whole Grains. Researchers at Penn State compared obese adults eating whole grains to obese adults eating refined grains. After 12 weeks, both groups lost an average of eight to 11 pounds. The whole-grain eaters lost double the fat in the belly area. One possible reason is that whole grains contain fiber, which helps slow digestion and prevent blood sugar from increasing too quickly. As a result, this helps keep insulin levels lower. Lower insulin levels appear to decrease fat-cell size in the abdominal region. Good sources of whole grains include oatmeal, brown rice, barley and vegetables.
- Dark Chocolate is good for cutting belly fat. Research shows that people with a lot of BAD LDL cholesterol are more likely to collect fat around the middle, but dark chocolate contains good HDL cholesterol-boosting flavanols - which counteract that. You need to look for varieties made with at least 70% cocoa to reap the benefits.
- However, you should also keep in mind that Mother Nature plays a big role. Belly fat is often genetic and while you can't change your DNA, you can - and should - stay extra vigilant about exercising and watching your diet if your family tends to be of the apple-shaped variety.