Potbelly, beer belly, spare tyre, middle-aged spread, or the paunch – regardless of what it may be called, belly fat is not just a problem because it looks bad. In fact, having lots of fat in the abdominal area is strongly linked to diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. There is a diet which has been proven to help shed your belly fat. What is it?
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Belly fat is usually estimated by measuring the circumference around a person’s waist.
If a person has a lot of excess fat around their waistline then the correct steps to get rid of it, even if they are not very heavy overall, need to be taken.
Regardless of one’s overall weight, having a large amount of belly fat puts a person at risk of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and even premature death from any cause.
Intermittent fasting describes an eating pattern that involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting.
In contrast to regular dietary plans, intermittent fasting does not restrict any foods – it simply focuses on when you should eat them.
The logic behind an intermittent approach to eating is that it will generally make you eat fewer meals and, in turn, fewer calories.
Research investigating the link between intermittent fasting and visceral fat suggest it may help to reduce the harmful belly fat.
In fact, a large review of studies found that following an intermittent fasting style of eating helped reduce visceral fat by four to seven percent over a period of six to 24 weeks.
The main purpose of intermittent fasting is when you eat, not what you eat (which is typical of any kind of diet).
There are three popular methods of intermittent fasting: the 16/8 method, Eat-Stop-Eat and the 5:2 diet.
The 16/8 method
Also known as the Leangains protocol, the 16/18 method involved skipping breakfast and restricting the eating period to eight hours, such as 11-7pm.
This then means from the evening onwards, till the next brunch time, you’ll spend 16 hours of fasting.
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With intermittent fasting, eating fewer meals can lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake.
Additionally, intermittent fasting changes the hormone levels which facilitates weight loss.
Because of these changes in hormones, short-term fasting could help increase a person’s metabolic rate by as much as 3.6 to 14 percent.
By helping a person eat less and burn more calories, intermittent fasting causes weight loss by changing both sides of the calorie equation and could help a person lose their visceral fat.
Dr Michael Mosley said: “One of the most compelling benefits of fasting is ‘autophagy’ which means ‘self-eat’. Autophagy is a natural process where dead, diseased or worn-out cells are broken down and gobbled up.
“In short, we need time off from constant eating so that our bodies can begin the process of repair.
“Autophagy is triggered by fasting and becomes more intense as time goes by. Short-term fasting can lead to several changes in the body that make fat burning easier.
“This includes reduced insulin, increased growth hormone, enhanced epinephrine signalling and a small boost in metabolism.”
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