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How to curb belly fat

It’s time to lose that excess tummy weight; experts tell you how

health and fitness Updated: Apr 30, 2013 15:34 IST
Petrina D’Souza
Petrina D’Souza
Hindustan Times
Curb,belly fat,avoid

Almost all of us, at some point, have worried about our tummy that tends to bulge at the slightest provocation. Being Indians, our love for rice doesn’t help the issue either.

“Cultures with a predominance of carbohydrates in their daily meals tend to suffer from belly fat the most. Carbs are tough to burn and hence accumulate around the belly,” says Rekha Sharma, president, Indian Dietetic Association.

A recent study, for instance, suggests that including canola oil as part of your daily diet can lower the belly fat by 1.6 per cent. Sharma states the food items to opt for and avoid to curb belly fat.

Go beyond food
Besides dietary regulations, nutritionist Kavita Devgan and Rohit Dargad, consultant in internal medicine, Lilavati Hospital, provide other ways to take your tummy from flab to firm.

Bust stress fat
If your weight is fine, but the belly still bulges, the culprit may be stress fat. When stressed, cortisol (stress hormone), a powerful appetite trigger is released in the body. This leads to excess eating and thus fat deposits in the belly.

Skip alcohol
Besides adding calories, alcohol also reduces the amount of fat your body burns for energy. Alcohol gets converted into a substance called acetate in the body and a sharp rise in acetate puts the brakes on fat loss.

Keep bones strong
Osteoporosis can lead to fractured bones in your spine, causing a mid-portion slump. This may also shorten your abdominal cavity, forcing the belly to protrude. So make sure you have enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet to keep your bones healthy.

Almonds, olives, sesame seeds, peanuts and soy. Also, cook meals in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), rich oils like canola or rice bran. A diet consisting of four to five servings of fruits and vegetables in all colours is recommended as they are rich in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which help in increasing metabolism. Lean proteins such as egg whites, fish, chicken, beans and whole grains also help in preventing belly fat deposit.

Keep refined carbohydrates like white bread and other refined flour preparations like cookies and cakes low in daily consumption.
Red meat has a high content of saturated fat that has a tendency of getting deposited in the body.
Sugary products, along with sodas and colas, are a major cause of belly fat. These sources of sugar are not natural and hence are not very good for one’s body.
Canned meats and other processed food lose most of their nutrients during the processing and hence are not very healthy. Junk foods like chips, burgers and pizzas are high in
saturated fat and also lead to body fat.

This works too
Laugh: It’s the simplest, but easily a very effective thing to do. Having a good giggle works all the muscles in your stomach.
Go for a swim: A few vigorous lengths every now and then, and you’ll score tight abs.
Discover Pilates: This series of stretching-type exercises has proved very effective against the tummy bulge.
Try yoga: Not only will it help you relax, the positions (also known as aasans) will also help tighten and strengthen your abdomen muscles.

- Inputs by Kavita Devgan, nutritionist

First Published: Apr 30, 2013 14:37 IST