While there is some evidence that vitamin D may be helpful when trying to lose weight, you may not want to count on it as the key to melting away your belly fat. As for herbal remedies, the risks may outweigh any weight-loss benefits, according to the Cleveland Clinic. When it comes to weight loss, no one food or supplement is going to do it. Luckily, when you lose weight, belly fat is usually the first to go, according to Harvard Health Publications. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or adding any supplements, both vitamin and herbal.
Vitamin D and Belly Fat
Vitamin D may play a small role in weight loss. A 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition investigated the effects of supplementing a group of overweight and obese women with calcium and vitamin D on weight and lipid profiles. The study found the group supplementing with both calcium and vitamin D lost more weight and fat than the control group. The difference in weight and fat loss between the two groups was not significant, however, and more research may be necessary before claims can be made.
Herbs and Belly Fat
While some herbs may help you lose weight, it's usually not permanent, and you may be risking your health when using them, says the Cleveland Clinic. Some herbs, like dandelion, may help you lose water weight, not belly fat, by increasing urination, while others, like cascara, may increase bowel movements. Ma huang, which is the herbal source of ephedrine, is found in many herbal weight-loss products and may help decrease your appetite. However, there's no evidence to support its effectiveness at helping you lose weight, according to the Cleveland Clinic, and it can cause serious side effects such as an increase in heart rate or blood pressure, or even death.
Diet to Lose the Fat
If you're trying to lose belly fat, making changes to your diet may be the better way to go. Harvard Health Publications says the key to losing belly fat is to fill your diet with more complex carbs such as beans and whole grains, along with fruits, vegetables and lean protein, and limit your intake of sugar and saturated fat. It's also important that you pay attention to portion size, which may help you reduce caloric intake for weight loss.
Herbs for Flavor
While herbal remedies may not help you lose the belly fat, herbs add flavor and fiber to your diet without calories, and this may benefit your efforts to lose weight. For example, when making a homemade pizza, use fresh basil leaves in place of some of the cheese to make a healthier margherita-style pizza. Or place a few sprigs of rosemary under the skin of your chicken before roasting it in the oven to add flavor without calories.
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Staying Away From Fad Diets
- Harvard Health Publications: Abdominal Fat and What to Do About It
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Get to Know Your Spice Rack
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Supplementation With Calcium + Vitamin D Enhances the Beneficial Effect of Weight Loss on Plasma Lipid and Lipoprotein Concentrations
- Cleveland Clinic: Over-the-Counter and Herbal Remedies for Weight Loss
- Vanderbilt University: Ephedrine and Its Effects on Weight Loss