Belly Fat Diet For Dummies
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Consuming an adequate amount of dairy products, such as milk and yogurt, is important to your success with your Belly Fat Diet plan. Dairy products are packed with whey, a protein that helps promote the formation of lean body mass (which in turn helps you burn more calories). Because dairy contains a high level of protein, it helps keep you feeling full and satisfied.

Some research has found that a diet rich in dairy may also directly promote weight loss. A study published in Obesity Research showed that obese individuals who ate a diet rich in dairy lost significantly more body fat and weight than other individuals eating the same number of calories but following a low-dairy diet.

In fact, the dairy-rich group lost almost double the amount of fat and weight. The best part was that a majority of the fat lost came from the midsection. So increasing your intake of dairy may help you flatten your belly faster than just cutting calories alone.

These findings may be in part due to calcium’s crucial role in regulating how fat is stored and broken down by the body. Researchers think that the more calcium a fat cell has, the more fat it will burn. Dairy products are also rich in the amino acid arginine, which has been shown to help promote fat loss and increase muscle mass.

Other studies have shown that an increased intake of dietary calcium may also increase fat excretion in stool. So a diet high in calcium may slightly decrease calorie absorption from dietary fat intake, which may help promote weight loss as well.

For the Belly Fat Diet, the dairy group consists of milk and yogurt. Cheese falls into the protein food group. Here’s why: Milk and yogurt contain high levels of both protein and carbohydrates as well as fat depending on the variety you choose, and cheese contains just protein and fat.

CLA and belly fat

Dairy products may help to promote weight loss because of a fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This acid is found mainly in dairy and beef products and has recently been gaining attention for its potential to aid in weight loss.

In fact, if you look in any supplement store, you can find many products containing CLA promoted for weight and fat loss. One reason CLA may help promote weight loss is that it’s thought to help trigger fat cells to shrink and die off.

Some promising research shows that these claims may be true. Animal studies show that mice consuming a diet high in CLA had significant reductions in body fat. However, more research is needed in the human population. The few studies that have been done show that the results of an increased intake of CLA weren’t as significant in humans as they were in mice.

CLA has also shown some potential to improve insulin resistance, decrease blood sugar levels, and fight off some cancers. Human studies seem to indicate that 3.2 grams of CLA daily may help reduce body fat and promote health benefits. Foods don’t list the CLA content on nutrition labels, but consuming the correct portions of dairy and protein on your Belly Fat Diet plan can help you to take in adequate CLA.

Due to the findings in some studies that high supplemental levels of CLA can potentially increase the risk of fatty liver disease, increase your intake of CLA through food. If you wish to consume CLA as a supplement, make sure to speak to your physician first to make sure doing so is appropriate for you.

Choose the right milk and yogurt

Dairy can play a huge role in helping to reduce belly fat, but it’s important to make sure you’re choosing the right forms of dairy. A stroll down the milk aisle in your grocery store shows that the options are vast. Should you buy low-fat, full-fat, organic, nondairy? The decision can feel overwhelming.

You want to choose low-fat milk. Full-fat and 2 percent milk is rich in saturated fat, which can clog arteries and trigger an increase in inflammation. Aim to choose either 0 percent fat (skim) or 1 percent fat milk as your milk of choice.

Also, select dairy that comes from grass-fed cows whenever possible. Cows that feed on grass and grains have a much more favorable milk composition, such as a higher CLA content. In fact, it’s believed that milk from grass-fed cows contains almost five times more CLA than grain-fed cows.

Cows fed a diet composed of mostly grains, blood meal, or bone meal contain higher levels of unhealthy fats and little to no CLA. Some organic milk contains milk from grass-fed cows, but not all. So check the labels to be sure.

Some individuals can’t tolerate dairy or prefer to remove it from their diets. No problem. Suitable substitutes include soy, almond, and coconut milk. Rice milk isn’t recommended (unless you have allergies to the other milk substitutes) because it contains a higher percentage of carbohydrates and a lower percentage of protein than other milk alternatives.

When choosing nondairy milk substitutes, unsweetened varieties are the best choice. If you do select a sweetened variety, pick a brand with 10 grams of sugar or less per cup, and try to avoid brands that contain high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients.

Do you find the sea of never-ending yogurt options in the grocery store a bit overwhelming? You’re not alone! Between light yogurt, plain, flavored, Greek, and everything in between, it can feel like an impossible decision to choose the best yogurt for your belly and health. No need to feel defeated. Just use these simple guidelines:

  • Choose low-fat or fat-free yogurt (0 percent or 1 percent) over the higher fat varieties. You can go for plain or Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is strained, providing it with a thicker consistency and a higher protein content, which can fill you up.

  • Watch out for flavored yogurts. These varieties often contain large amounts of added sugars. All yogurt contains some naturally occurring sugar, so no need to choose a sugar-free yogurt, but do look at the labels. Aim for a yogurt with no more than 15 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, is a nationally recognized nutrition and fitness expert who has contributed to national media outlets such as the CBS Early Show, ABC News, CBS News, Fox News, Fitness Magazine, and Prevention Magazine, among others.

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