Belly flab, spare tire, middle-aged spread. It goes by many names, but the fat that lies under your belly and surrounds your intestines is also referred to as omental or visceral fat by health professionals. While nobody enjoys carrying around excess fat, this type of fat is especially harmful because it may increase your risk of heart disease, dementia, asthma and certain types of cancer, including breast and colon. No one diet can help you lose omental fat specifically, but a healthy, reduced-calorie diet that promotes overall weight loss can certainly help decrease abdominal fat.
To lose weight, and help lose some of your omental fat, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn. In general, most women can lose weight by limiting intake to 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day, and men, as well as women who weigh more than 165 pounds, can lose weight by limiting intake to 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. If you're losing weight too quickly -- such as more than 2 pounds a week -- increase your daily calorie intake by 100 calories. Losing weight too quickly can lead to a slower metabolism and cause your body to store fat more efficiently later on down the line, according to the Harvard Medical School.
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Meal Basics for Weight Loss
When trying to lose weight, eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods from all the food groups -- including fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy -- is the way to go. Your meal plan to help you lose omental fat should include three meals of about the same size, plus one snack each day. Eating regularly helps keep energy levels up and hunger away. Try to include as many food groups as possible at each meal to up your nutrient intake.
What to Eat and Not to Eat
Including certain types of foods and nutrients on your diet to reduce omental fat may make it easier for you to lose the unwanted fat. Replacing refined carbs -- white bread and soda -- with complex carbs -- whole grains, fruits and vegetables -- can make it easier for you to lose weight. Eating more polyunsaturated fats -- salmon, tuna, nuts, seeds and soy oil -- instead of saturated and trans fats may also help prevent your belly from growing larger. Upping your intake of calcium-rich foods -- milk, yogurt and tofu -- may also help whittle your waist.
Putting It All Together
For breakfast on your diet to reduce omental fat, you might enjoy oatmeal topped with fresh berries and walnuts with a cup of nonfat milk. A healthy lunch might include a bowl of lentil soup, mixed greens tossed with diced chicken, balsamic vinegar and soy oil, a fresh orange and a container of nonfat yogurt. A satisfying dinner meal might include broiled salmon with a baked sweet potato and steamed broccoli. For snack, a bowl of unsweetened whole-grain cereal with nonfat milk makes a good choice.
- Harvard Medical School: Taking Aim at Belly Fat
- Harvard Medical School: Abdominal Fat and What to do About It
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: Healthy Eating Plan
- Harvard School of Public Health: Carbohydrates
- Obesity Surgery: Higher Content of Trans Fatty Acids in Abdominal Visceral Fat of Morbidly Obese Individuals Undergoing Bariatric Surgery Compared to Non-Obese Subjects
- Diabetes: Overfeeding Polyunsaturated and Saturated Fat Causes Distinct Effects on Liver and Visceral Fat Accumulation in Humans
- American Heart Association: Polyunsaturated Fats
- Obesity: Dietary Calcium Intake Is Associated With Less Gain in Intra-Abdominal Adipose Tissue Over 1 Year.
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Calcium
- FamilyDoctor.org: What It Takes to Lose Weight