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What Are The Best Supplements To Reduce Stubborn Belly Fat?
BY AMANDA BERRY
June 10th 2019
The belly is one of the first places everybody wants to lose fat when they decide to lose weight.
But what are the best ways to do it? What are the best supplements and exercises for burning belly fat?
All your questions will be answered right here in this guide. We’ll look at the best supplements to get rid of belly fat, and some exercises specifically tailored to help you on the way.
Let’s get started!
How to get rid of stubborn belly fat
“What can I do to get rid of belly fat?”
If you find yourself asking this question, it can be hard to know where to start.
That’s why we’ve pulled together the top four things you need to be doing if you’re looking for less fat around your tummy.
- Supplements to give your weight loss a boost
- Regular exercise
- Healthy diet
- Plenty of protein
It’s a short list, but if you put it into practice you’ll be well on your way to getting and – here’s the best bit – maintaining a flat, toned tummy.
What supplements help reduce belly fat?
You can give your weight loss a boost by choosing the right supplements. These are ingredients that promote fat loss, prevent weight gain, and give you a nice bit of extra energy.
If you’re looking for the best supplements for losing belly fat, there are two main angles that will interest you.
- Weight loss
- Increased fat burning
Supplements that help with weight loss can make you to feel more full after eating, meaning you’ll eat less overall. Those that burn fat will help your metabolism to burn more calories at rest and during exercise.
Here are some of our favourite supplements in each category.
Supplements for weight loss
- First up, glucomannan.
This is a soluble fibre, taken from the root of the konjac plant.
But what does soluble fibre mean, you may be wondering.
When you ingest glucomannan, it expands slightly in your stomach. This expansion makes you feel a bit more full, and reduces the amount of food you need to eat afterwards.
Many studies have found glucomannan to aid with weight loss (8).
- Next on our list of belly fat burning supplements is Garcinia Cambogia.
This extract of a tropical fruit looking a little bit like a pumpkin is useful for weight loss.
It has been found to have an impact on appetite levels, meaning you feel less hungry after taking it. This contributes to the effect of glucomannan, and reduces the amount you feel like eating (9).
A study carried out on people taking Garcinia Cambogia extract found “significantly reduced” fat compared to the placebo group (10).
- Green coffee extract can help too.
By reducing the amount of fat your body absorbs from the food you eat, this ingredient can help to reduce the amount of weight gained.
The chemical of interest is called chlorogenic acid, and it is found in higher quantities before the coffee beans are roasted, hence the ‘green’ in the name.
Brown coffee beans – the ones that have been roasted – are better for making a rich cup of coffee, but as a fat burning supplement, they’re better unroasted.
Chlorogenic acid has been found to ‘downregulate’ the genes involved in forming fat cells (r.a). In layman’s terms this means your body will store fewer fats in food in its fat reserves.
- Glucomannan expands to help you feel more full, and to eat less as a result.
- Garcinia Cambogia can reduce your appetite, again meaning you need to eat less.
- The chlorogenic acid in green coffee extract can reduce the amount of fat absorbed from the food you eat.
Sounds good, hey?
Supplements for increased fat burning
The previous supplements help to reduce your fat intake. Here are some supplements that can help your body to burn the fat it already has.
- First up, caffeine.
This one is probably more familiar than some of the names we’ve seen so far. You’ll find caffeine in tea and coffee as well as supplements.
Caffeine has a thermogenic effect, which means it raises your temperature slightly. This can have a positive influence on your metabolism, and contribute to weight loss through thermogenesis (11).
You also get a small energy boost that can help to fuel your workouts.
Cayenne can help you to burn a few more calories after eating thanks to its contributions to fat oxidation. This is caused by capsaicin in cayenne – the chemical responsible for spice.
Capsaicin has a thermogenic effect which, as we’ve seen, helps your body to burn more fat than it would otherwise. When combined with other thermogenic ingredients, the cumulative effect can have a noticeable impact.
And this effect is boosted again by turmeric, specifically by a chemical called curcumin that it contains.
Curcumin is of special interest thanks to its role in the breakdown of brown adipose tissue (BAT) (r.b).
The body uses BAT for heat generation, meaning that higher rates of BAT usage leads to higher internal temperatures. As we’ve seen with caffeine and cayenne, this increase in heat leads to more calories being burned.
- Green tea
Green tea extract can help to reduce belly fat, too.
This extract contains things called catechins, which have antioxidant properties.
A trend toward weight loss was found between participants taking catechins and those not (12).
This study also found a reduction in abdominal fat and subcutaneous fat, which is great news if you’re looking to burn belly fat!
To recap here…
- Caffeine, cayenne, and turmeric have thermogenic effects, meaning your body will burn more calories after ingesting them.
- Green tea extract has an antioxidant effect, and will contribute to weight loss.
That’s supplements covered, but what about exercises to help burn fat and tone your belly?
Exercises to help reduce belly fat
Weight loss from exercise is important alongside weight loss from diet.
One study found “preferential” reduction in abdominal fat, and a longer term reduction of “fat free mass” (1) with regular exercise: meaning more weight lost, and less body fat maintained.
While it may be tempting to think that there are a few exercises you can do to zap the fat from your belly, sadly this isn’t the case.
There are exercises you can do to reduce fat everywhere, and other exercises you can do to tone your tummy.
Combined, these two things will cut through belly fat, and give you the toned muscles underneath to look lean.
(If you want to know why you can’t target belly fat specifically with exercise, head over to another one of our articles and read about ‘spot reduction’).
Burning fat with cardio
Cardio is any exercise that gets your heart beating fast. It involves oxygen, and is also known as ‘aerobic’ exercise.
There is a relationship between aerobic exercise and reductions in visceral fat (3), so it is an important part of belly fat loss.
Here are some cardio exercises you can do:
- Brisk walking
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on “most, and preferably all, days of the week” (4), but the exact levels will vary depending on your fitness levels.
Exercises to tone your belly muscles
Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does, meaning that having more muscle will put you in good stead to stay fitter.
And unlike burning fat, you can target specific muscles and muscle groups with exercise.
Sounds good, right?
Here are five exercises that will tone your tummy:
This will target your core muscles and lower back.
Prop yourself up on your elbows and toes, while maintaining a straight line from head to toe.
Keep your shoulders above your elbows.
Hold for a few seconds, and repeat the post 8-10 times.
2. Side plank
This will also target your core and lower back.
Prop yourself up on your side, on one elbow with your shoulder directly above your elbow.
Again, aim for a straight line from head to toe.
Repeat the same number of side planks as you did regular planks.
3. Stomach crunches
This will target your abdominals.
Lie flat on your back, bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor.
Put your hands behind your ears, then curl slowly upward to your knees.
Hold the position when your shoulders are about 8cm off the floor, then lower yourself down.
Do this 10-12 times.
4. Oblique crunches
This will target your obliques.
Get into the same starting position as a crunch, then lay your knees down to one side, flat on the floor.
Then curl upward in the same way as with crunches, but toward your shoulder rather than toward your knees.
Aim for the same height, the same holding time, and the same number of crunches.
5. Stomach crunches with raised legs
This will target your lower abdominals.
Lie flat on the floor again, with your hands across your chest this time.
Pull your knees toward your chest, until your legs are at a right angle with the floor. Your tailbone will come off the floor slightly.
Hold for a few seconds before gently lowering.
Again, aim for 10-12.
Keeping belly fat at bay with a healthy diet
A healthy diet involves lots of fruit and veg, both raw and cooked. Avoid too much sugar and sugary drinks, and try to avoid processed foods.
Drinking less alcohol will help too: This is just empty calories, and disruptive to your metabolism.
When working muscle and losing weight though, it’s important to get lots of protein…
Plenty of protein
Protein in your diet is “required to promote growth, [and to] repair damaged cells and tissue” (5), and there is “a significant body of evidence” demonstrating that people in training require more protein.
It’s not just good for that, though…
Protein actually helps you to feel more full, too. “Dietary protein enhances satiety and promotes weight loss” (6), thanks to a hormone called Peptide YY (PYY).
Higher PYY levels in your body are associated with weight loss.
This is backed up by another study (7), which found that high protein meals lead to higher satiety and “reduced subsequent energy intake” (i.e., no after-dinner snacking).
So it’s important to eat plenty of protein. Look for it in foods like:
- Lean meat
- Dairy products
- Nuts and seeds
- Tofu and other soy
There you have it…
Exercise and diet can be giving a helping hand with the right supplements. The best supplements for burning belly fat come in two categories:
- Glucomannan, Garcinia Cambogia, and green coffee extract to help with weight loss.
- Caffeine, cayenne, turmeric, and green tea extract to help with prevention of further weight gain.
With a combination of cardio and exercises that tone belly muscle, you can lose belly fat and keep it at bay.
A healthy diet with plenty of protein will help you to feel more full after eating, and to avoid foods that are associated with putting on weight.
Follow these tips and you have everything you need for losing that stubborn belly fat.
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- Medline Plus. Chromium in Diet. Link.
- Ducros V. Chromium Metabolism – A Literatiure Review. (1992). Link.
- Picolinic Acid. Link.
- DiSilvestro R et al. Comparison of Acute Absorption of Commercially Available Chromium Supplements. (2007). Link.
- EFSA Panel on Dietetic products nutrition and allergies. Scientific Opinion on the Substantiation of Health Claims Related to Chromium. (2010). Link.