Lose Belly Fat With Diet and Exercise

Visceral fat is dangerous because it sits close to vital organs and can release toxins that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. The good news is that you can lose belly fat with diet and exercise.

Avoid foods and beverages that contain sugar and instead choose whole grains, low-fat dairy and fruits. Include protein-rich foods like lean meats, fish and nuts. Up your intake of soluble fiber, which can help you feel full and slow down absorption of sugar.


The best exercise to lose belly fat is full-body strength training. Studies show that this type of exercise can reduce the amount of fat in your abdomen by boosting your metabolism and increasing muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so it’s a great way to burn more overall calories.

Abdominal exercises, such as crunches, can help tone abdominal muscles, but they don’t burn the visceral fat that sits underneath. To lose belly fat, you need to do both cardio and strength training exercises.

Experts recommend high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which includes short bursts of intense exercise, followed by lower-intensity movements and periods of rest. You can also incorporate walking into your workouts to burn more calories. Studies suggest that walking a mile (1.6 km) can burn 100 calories. Other forms of aerobic exercise include swimming, cycling, jumping rope and jogging. Try to get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.


Everyone has some belly fat, and it is not just for looks. Some is right under the skin, but other — visceral — fat surrounds the heart, lungs and liver, and it releases hormones that can lead to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and heart conditions.

Although it’s not possible to spot-reduce belly fat, you can lose it overall by cutting back on calories and eating more whole foods and lean proteins. Start by eliminating sugary drinks, such as soda and juices. You should also limit alcohol, which adds empty calories and can stop fat from being burned.

Figure out what’s driving your unhealthy eating habits. For example, if you tend to grab a handful of chips after work, try swapping them for carrots or roasted chickpeas. Then make a plan to cut back on your overall carb intake without eradicating them completely, the NHS advises. This can help you drop belly fat and keep your energy up throughout the day.


Getting a good night’s sleep is an important part of weight loss. When you sleep well, your body releases the hormone melatonin which helps control appetite and cravings, especially for high-calorie sugary foods. A good quality of sleep also helps your metabolism to burn fat efficiently.

Chronic sleep loss disrupts the balance of hormones that regulate hunger and satiety, leading to overeating and poor food choices. It also interferes with the ability to exercise, which is necessary for maintaining a healthy weight.

Several studies indicate that people who sleep less than 7 hours per night have an increased risk of accumulating excess abdominal fat. This is because insufficient sleep leads to a surge in cortisol, a stress hormone that causes the body to store energy as fat and decrease insulin sensitivity the next day. A lack of sleep also impairs the body’s natural production of leptin, a hormone that signals satiety. To improve your sleep, avoid using electronic devices in the bedroom and stick to a regular schedule of sleeping and waking up, including on weekends.

Stress Management

Long-term stress can negatively impact your mental and physical health, including contributing to belly fat. It does so by increasing the body’s production of cortisol, a hormone that triggers your fight or flight response and increases blood sugar and metabolism to support those functions. Cortisol is also responsible for storing excess calories as fat, with the abdomen being the first place your body looks.

When you’re stressed, your brain doesn’t always register satiety, so you’re more likely to eat high-fat and sweet foods that promote adipose tissue growth. Self-identified stress eaters have higher visceral fat stores than non-stress eaters.

You can reduce your stress by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. You can also try relaxation techniques like meditation and deep breathing. Vigorous exercise trims all types of fat, including belly fat, but it’s not the only way to lose visceral fat. Even thin people can have too much visceral fat if they don’t exercise and don’t burn off those extra calories.