Following this strategy for two or more months can reduce visceral fat by 20 to 50 percent, according to ongoing research from the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Not only does it reduce calorie intake but “every-other-day fasting also lowers cholesterol and insulin levels and staves off insulin resistance—all of which can reduce visceral fat,” says study author Krista A. Varady, Ph.D.
An associate professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois, Chicago. (Always get your doctor’s OK before fasting.)
No matter what your age or genetic makeup, here are six research-backed fixes to shrink both kinds of belly fat.
1. Eat Fat to Shed Fat.
Gram for gram, fat contains more calories than carbohydrates or protein.
But a diet rich in healthy fats is still significantly more likely to lead to lasting weight loss than is a low-fat regimen, according to a 2015 review of 53 studies conducted by the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston.
Monounsaturated fatty acids (or MUFAs)—found abundantly in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil—are especially beneficial for belly fat:
Women on a 1,600-calorie-a-day diet rich in MUFAs lost nearly 30 percent of their visceral and subcutaneous fat after just four weeks, according to a 2012 Yale University study.
The catalyst? The anti-inflammatory properties of MUFAs, which help keep insulin and visceral-fat levels low.