The popular "flat belly diets"embrace much of the wisdom found in eating a Mediterranean diet, which helps everything from brain health to hearth health. The basic premise for both diets is eat foods rich in monosaturated fatty acids (MUFA) that may help reduce your belly fat storage. MUFA-rich foods include olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocodos, and fish. Eating yogurt regularly has also been found to be helpful in reducing belly fat.
Unfortunately, despite the expertise of these highly regarded scientists, they systematically mis-calculated the energy needs of the study subjects. As a result, instead of everyone getting an accurately-dosed energy balancing diet, they were under-fed by about 300 Calories per day. Because all of the subjects got the high carb diet for the first month and the ketogenic diet for the second month, the natural effect of restricting energy intake by 10% would have been a small but significant reduction in resting energy expenditure that would have occurred progressively over the 2-month study duration. In other words, by significantly underfeeding the study subjects and always administering the ketogenic diet in the second month, the deck was stacked against the ketogenic diet. Taking this into account, the 2-4% rise in daily energy expenditure in the second month would probably have been double this amount had the study been properly designed. Whatever the true effect, these numbers are fairly small as noted above; but this is a study in which the odds were tipped in favor of the status quo through clever experimental design, and in which the conclusions were not justified by the data.
Grains get a bad rap when it comes to weight loss, but that's because refined grains (read: processed foods!) are linked to wider waists. 100% whole grains are bloat-busting superstars, however, as they're packed with minerals and de-puff by counter-balancing salt. Stick to brown rice, quinoa, wheat, barley, millet, farro, sorghum, and amaranth for the biggest benefits.
You know that recording what you consume is a good way to keep your weight in check, but Brittany Hicks, who dropped 110 pounds in college, didn't only write down what she ate—she also wrote down why she was eating it. "I realized I'd been using food to cope with stress," she says. "Just noticing that helped me do it less." Make sure you're not making these food journal mistakes so you can reap the rewards of eating and jotting, too.
The notion that abdominal obesity is the most dangerous kind isn't new. Back in the 1940s, the French physician Jean Vague observed that some obese patients had normal blood chemistry, while some moderately overweight patients showed serious abnormalities that predisposed them to heart disease or diabetes. Almost always, the latter patients carried their fat around their middles. And, almost always, they were men.
While toning your muscles is best achieved through exercise, ditching the fat that’s obscuring them starts in the kitchen. Luckily, one easy way to get the ball rolling on fat loss outside the gym is a habit you probably already have: drinking coffee. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that obese study subjects whose diet was supplemented with caffeinated coffee significantly increased their metabolic rate, and subjects of an average weight shed more pounds, too.