Does Intermittent Fasting Remove Belly Fat
The Western Diet today promotes the intake of foods that cause excess and constant secretion of this insulin. Prolonged secretion can lead to insulin resistance, meaning that our blood sugar isnt getting into the cells and we are stuck with high levels of glucose in the blood.;
This can be problematic as it can promote the development of health-related issues such as metabolic syndrome. It also tends to accumulate fat in the abdominal waist area more than any other part of the body. Theres more to that stubborn belly fat!
When we fast, we keep our insulin levels quite low because were taking a break from the constant consumption of carbohydrates. Low insulin levels stimulate lipolysis, or the breakdown of fatty acids into the bloodstream for energy use.
Another realm of research looks to explore if fasting in the morning or skipping breakfast leads to overeating in the long run. Surprisingly, much of the research contradicted the old-school theory that skipping breakfast leads to overall increased intake.;
In fact, a systematic review exploring the importance of breakfast in the daily routine noted that skipping breakfast is not necessarily correlated with negative weight regulation or overcompensation of calories later in the day. The article highlighted the lack of research and uncertainty and lack of clarity regarding the topic.;
The Wrong Gut Bacteria
Hundreds of types of bacteria live in your gut, mainly in your colon. Some of these bacteria benefit health, while others can cause problems.
Gut bacteria are collectively known as your gut flora or microbiome. Gut health is important for maintaining a healthy immune system and decreasing disease risk.
While the connection between the gut microbiome and health continues to be investigated, current research suggests imbalances in gut bacteria may increase your risk of developing a number of diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and gut disorders (
One randomized, double-blind 12-week study in postmenopausal women with obesity showed that taking a probiotic containing five strains of good bacteria led to significant reductions in body fat percentage and visceral fat. However, the small group size and uncontrolled diet posed limitations .
Further, a 2018 review of studies involving 957 people showed probiotic supplementation was significantly associated with lower BMI, body fat percentage, and visceral fat. The effect sizes were small, meaning the results may not be clinically meaningful .
While there appears to be a relationship between gut microbiome diversity and visceral fat, more research is needed to best understand its relationship and which interventions and probiotic strains may be most effective.
Changes in bacteria diversity in the gut may be associated with higher weight and visceral fat.
Optimal Intermittent Fasting Windows
This so-called time-restricted eating is a form of intermittent fasting. Instead of fasting on alternate days or several 24-hour periods per week, time-restricted eating encourages dieters to limit their meals to certain windows of time.
Eating and drinking during a 10-hour window allows your body to rest and restore for 14 hours while drinking water, coffee or tea. According to study co-author Satchin Panda, PhD, Your body can also anticipate when you will eat, so it can prepare the body to optimize metabolism.
Other studies on time-restricted eating have found similar results. Researchers from the University of Alabama split obese men with prediabetes into two groups: One group ate all of its meals within an 8-hour window between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. and the other spread its meals out over 12 hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The study showed both groups maintained their weight but those who restricted their eating to an 8-hour window had lower insulin levels, reduced insulin sensitivity and lower blood pressure; their appetites decreased, too.
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Optimize Your Sleep/stress/workout Schedule
If losing belly fat is your main goal, improving your sleep and cortisol balance is CRUCIAL to getting there. It turns out that higher levels of cortisol are linked to weight gain specifically around the belly. Some of the biggest offenders to excessively high cortisol are poor quality sleep, high amounts of emotional stress AND an improperly developed workout schedule. You can check out my video above for how to balance each of these factors and help your body naturally tap into fat burning mechanisms.
How Do You Start Intermittent Fasting For Beginners
During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all. These are the most popular methods: The 16/8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 19 p.m. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
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Putting It Into Practice
When following a macro cycling approach, most people use this starting ratio for the first 2 weeks:
- 40% protein
- 30% carbs
- 30% fat
From there, youll recalculate your macros using either the lower fat or lower carb ratios for the next 2 weeks, and finally using the remaining ratio for the last 2 weeks in that cycle.
In continuing cycles, youll alternate the lower carb and lower fat ratios every 2 weeks until you meet your weight loss goal.
You may need to lower your overall calories throughout the process to keep losing weight.
Youll start out by determining your overall calories, followed by your individual macros using specific ratios, and finally implement your macros in 2-week cycles.
Macro cycling followers report several benefits, though theres little research on the effectiveness of macro cycling.
What To Do When Water Fasting To Burn Fat Cells
In the last section, we introduced water fasting, a type of intermittent fast thats come up frequently on this blog. When you drink water, it travels to your bodys cells to keep them hydrated. To speed up water absorption, sip on an empty stomach, such as being on a water fast.
Besides losing weight through calorie restriction on a water fast, you also rejuvenate and detoxify your system, sort of like hitting a giant reset button. Your liver begins breaking down toxins and your digestive system works better due to the oxygen content in water.
As we said before, water fasts can last 24 to 72 hours for the most disciplined fasters. Others water fast off and on so they can maximize their fasting time. Such was the case of a man who fasted for 382 days straight. Weve talked about this on the blog, but its a fascinating story that deserves another mention.
The man, who was 27 at the time of his fast, weighed 456 pounds when he started. For over a year, he consumed supplements and water. He weighted 180 pounds by the time he was done.
If you are eating between water fasting periods, youre probably doing so nutritiously. While you may supply some glucose to your system, the water fasting periods should burn through this.
Water fasting can change that, too. Our insulin sensitivity increases, meaning our body keeps better track of the insulin it produces and does not make more than necessary.
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Who Is A Good Candidate For Intermittent Fasting
On the other hand, IF might be an appropriate option to try if you’ve been pursuing weight loss with proper food choices and exercise regimens for a while without seeing change.;
If you have a known history of blood sugar imbalance, pre-diabetes or diabetes, or PCOS, intermittent fasting can be a great next step to tackle insulin resistance, weight loss, and getting rid of stubborn belly fat.
IF is a flexible tool that you can test out to see if it works for your lifestyle and goals. Give it a few days or weeks to evaluate if its a good fit.;There can be an adjustment period. Its a journey to listen to your body and learn what it needs to thrive.
Calorie Restriction & Cyclical Under
Since the 1930s, animal studies have been telling us that restricting calories improves health and longevity. Until recently, we believed that it was necessary to starve yourself to reap the benefits.
But you can actually trim your waistline, improve your biomarkers of health, and increase your longevity without the pain, suffering, and hunger that comes along with restriction. Fasting works, too, but since its difficult for Big Food to profit from people going without their food, most of the benefits of skipping meals dont make it into common wisdom.
Theres a monumental difference between common and normal, however. Today, more than 67% of us in the United States are overweight or obese. Being overweight is common. But its not normal.
Fasting, on the other hand, is historically quite normal but isnt common in a world abundant with drive-thrus, meal-replacement shakes, and eating 6+ times a day is healthy dogmatism.
For millions of people across the world, regular fasting is commonplace and has been part of spiritual practice for thousands of years.
But before that, fasting was simply a way of life. With no storable grains, and few other foods that stayed fresh for very long, most of our ancestors experienced both feast and famine on a regular basis. When game was scarce, seasons changed, or the pickings were slim, hunter-gatherers did without.
To reap the full rewards of the Wild lifestyle, you might consider going without occasionally, too.
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If You Are Looking To Lose Visceral Fat You Could Consider Giving Intermittent Fasting A Try If You Do Make Sure You Use It Correctly And In A Healthy Way To Get Rid Of Your Stubborn Belly Fat
It all comes down to what works for you, not for everyone else. The Healthy Weight Loss team works with you 1:1 to determine whats the best strategy for your body, lifestyle, and overall calls.;
If youre ready to dive deeper on your weight loss journey, schedule an assessment call with the team today!
Belly Fat And Insulin
To lose belly fat, you have to understand belly fat. And to understand belly fat, you need to understand the basics of how insulin works.
Your body makes insulin after a meal in order to keep blood sugar stable.
On your cell walls, insulin opens up glucose ports to allow sugar through for burning in muscle, and for storage in fat. In your fat, insulin also curbs the release of fatty acids into your system.
All well and good as long as your insulin is working. However, as we age , cell-wall insulin receptors become less sensitive.
As a result, even after a meal, our blood is replete with glucose and fatty acids. This is a toxic brew, driving an array of bad outcomes, including rapidly-expanding belly fat.
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How To Measure Abdominal Or Visceral Fat
A magnetic resonance imaging study or CT scan are currently considered the gold standards for measuring visceral and abdominal fat.5 A DEXA scan, which uses a low dose x-ray beam produces similar results and may be more accessible. Other tests like bioimpedance scales are less accurate and provide less information about visceral fat, but are widely available.6
For those who dont have access to imaging tools, a simple technique is to measure your waist circumference. General recommendations are for men to keep their waist measurement below 40 inches and women to keep their measurement below 35 inches . However, some ethnic groups, such as South Asians, have lower cutoffs of 35 inches for men and 31 inches for women.7
However, we suggest aiming for an even smaller waist circumference, such as 35 inches for all men and 31 inches for all women.8 Keeping your waist-to-height ratio below 0.5 may be an even better measurement for predicting a lower risk of health complications.9
If youre losing weight but not reducing your waist measurement or belly fat you may want to change your weight loss methods.
You can also measure your hips and calculate your waist-to-hip ratio . The target for men is 0.9 and for women its 0.8.10
Do you want to learn more about how to accurately measure your waist circumference or hip to waist ratio?
As we saw in 2020, more visceral fat is associated with a higher risk of severe Covid-19 complications.18
What Exercise Reduces Visceral Fat
Intense exercise will work the best to burn off the deep visceral stomach fat that surrounds your organs.
The immediate spike in catecholamines from intense exercise will help to better target the visceral fat in your body.
Aerobic exercise and slow-go cardio workouts will not be as effective. Even though they can burn some fat they will also wear down your body and can cause more inflammation.
High-intensity interval training workouts are superior because theyll help to burn more fat off your body .
Just make sure youre not doing simple ab exercises like crunches and sit ups to lose your visceral abdominal fat.
This study found resistance training was helpful in losing visceral fat .
If youre not lifting weights because you think theyll make you bulky then youll be missing out.
Metabolic Resistance Training is the best method of strength training thatll burn off the maximal amount of fat from your body.
This because Metabolic Resistance Training will create an afterburn effect.
This will have your body burning fat well after youre finished working out. Its known as EPOC and youll lose weight like a machine with it.
The great thing about HIIT workouts and MRT is you can do twice the work in half the time. So if youre crunched for time or if you have to work out at home then theyre great options for you.
For complete HIIT and MRT, workout system check out The Flat Belly Formula.
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Using If To Lose Visceral Fat
A lot of the marketing behind intermittent fasting comes from the claim that IF encourages fat burning in the body and enhances insulin sensitivity. People SWEAR on this, but is this true?;
There are several research articles noting the positive impacts of intermittent fasting on metabolic syndrome through its ability to promote lipolysis and insulin sensitivity. Sounds like gibberish to you?;
Let’s talk about this in more general terms. When we consume food, were largely consuming three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Our bodys preference is to use carbohydrates in its simplest form: glucose.;
In times of regular influx of food , our body has continuous access to these glucose molecules that come from food every few hours when we eat. When we fast, our body searches for its favorite food but cant find it because were not consuming anything. So, our body turns to our glycogen stores , but this too eventually becomes depleted.;
What can our body use for food instead of glucose? It turns to another macronutrient: fat. To use fat as energy, our body has to mobilize it or break it down from its stored form in the body. This is called lipolysis .;
The proposed mechanism of intermittent fasting hones in on the thought that by forcing our body to use our fat stores, we are chipping away at the fat in our body. Sounds ideal, right? Not so quick!;
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Our data show both visceral and subcutaneous fat undergo dramatic changes during intermittent fasting.
Usually during fasting periods, fat tissue steps into to provide energy to the body by releasing fatty acid molecules.
But when Larance and his colleagues looked at what happens to visceral fat and subcutaneous fat, they found that it went into preservation mode and became resistant to realising the fatty acids.
They also noted that the stomach fat in mice adapted over time, becoming better at storing fat as energy and essentially becoming more resistant to weight loss.
“This suggests the visceral fat can adapt to repeated fasting bouts and protect its energy store,” said Larance.;
“This type of adaptation may be the reason why visceral fat can be resistant to weight loss after long periods of dieting.”;
Larance also said it was possible that a history of repeated fasting periods triggers a preservation signalling pathway in visceral fat.;
Although, its unclear if diets like the 5:2 diet or other calorie restriction diets would have the same effect on visceral and subcutaneous fat.
Previous research has shown that intermittent fasting in humans might reduce belly fat.
For example, a 2014 literature review found that intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of 3-8% over 3-24 weeks;and the study participants also lost 4-7% of their waist circumference but whether that was a loss of visceral fat is unclear.
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Things That Make You Gain Belly Fat
Getting rid of excess belly fat, or abdominal fat, is a common goal for many.
While maintaining a moderate body weight and body fat percentage is important for good health, the type of belly fat you store can influence your health differently.
The two main types are:
Visceral refers to fat surrounding the liver and other abdominal organs. Having high levels of visceral fat is associated with an increased risk for chronic disease such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer .
On the other hand, subcutaneous is the layer of fat that sits directly under the skin. This type is less harmful to health and serves as a layer of protection for your organs as well as insulation to regulate body temperature .
That said, having a high amount of subcutaneous fat is linked with a higher amount of visceral fat, therefore increasing your risk of health problems. Focusing on a health-promoting lifestyle, which helps prevent excessive amounts of both types of fat, is important (
Here are 11 factors that can contribute to the development of excess belly fat.