If you thought losing weight would mean giving up all your indulgences, look no further than dark chocolate. Louisiana State University researchers found that gut microbes in our stomach ferment chocolate and boost our body's production of gut-healthy polyphenolic compounds, including butyrate, a fatty acid that encourages the body to burn fat as fuel and turns off genes linked to inflammation. (Add fruit to the chocolate to boost fermentation and the release of the compounds.) Make sure you go with chocolate that has a cacao content of 70 percent or above—these have the highest concentrations of antioxidant polyphenols.
To avoid feeling hungry after a workout, eat a snack with at least 12 grams of protein before exercising, says Dr. Cheskin. And if you’re still hungry afterward? First, check in with yourself and make sure it’s actual hunger and not dehydration, says Dr. Cheskin. Then, eat a protein-rich snack that also includes some carbs, like a protein bar with whole grains.
You've heard of fat burners, those pills that can make fat melt off your body like ice cream on a hot summer day, right? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but even the best fat burners aren't magic. They're just supplements. That means that even though they're designed with ingredients that can really give you an extra boost to help burn fat, they can't replace a solid diet and exercise plan.
Top your salad with this lean protein and soon enough all your friends will be asking you to tuna-round so they can compliment your new slimmed down look. As a primo source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), canned light tuna is one of the best and most affordable sources of lean protein for fat loss, especially from your belly! One study in PLOS One showed that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation from fish oil was connected to a lower waist-hip ratio as well as lower levels of abdominal fat.
Caffeine: Studies show possible modest effects on body weight or decreased weight gain over time when consuming caffeine. Caffeine is usually OK in small to moderate amounts for most people but can also cause side effects like heart palpitations and restlessness. There’s no sound evidence that caffeine alone will help you lose weight, and the cons of taking too much caffeine definitely seem to outweigh the pros.
Although their efficacy and safety are constantly scrutinized by the FDA and other organizations, manufacturers of thermogenic “diet pills” often claim that taking these supplements can help improve weight loss almost effortlessly by boosting your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories). Some may also be at least somewhat helpful for decreasing your appetite, curbing cravings for junk foods and giving you more energy, which can be used for physical activity.
The fat-burning equation is simple: Protein builds muscle. More muscle = more fat burning. And fish is one of the healthiest sources of lean protein—especially wild salmon, says dietitian Lauren Minchen, MPH, RD, CDN. It's also a rich source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which fuel fat burning, block fat storage and aid weight loss, she explains. But that's not all: "Getting enough protein and healthy fat also helps to reduce cravings and has been shown to help keep weight off for longer," adds Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CDN, CSCS.
Kickstart your morning—and your metabolism—with this warming spice. Cinnamon contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols that are proven to alter body composition and improve insulin sensitivity (which means it keeps blood sugar stable, preventing hunger-inducing spikes and crashes). Japanese researchers found that mice who ate a daily helping of cinnamaldehyde (the ingredient that gives cinnamon its flavor) lost belly fat, while those who skipped the spice did not. Add it to your overnight oats or sprinkle some in your coffee to reap the benefits.
Hourglass contains a great ingredient portfolio, enough to easily compete with many of the market leading fat burners. For instance, you’ll find glucomannan, a root extract that sits undigested in your stomach for a while to stop you from getting annoying hunger cravings between meals (and of course to stop you snacking). It contains green tea extract and black pepper extract (bioperine) which are found in many fat burners. It also contains a range of vitamins including Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D3.
Many teas have been shown to boost metabolism, block the creation of new fat cells, speed the release of fat from cells, and actually turn off fat genes due to their catechin levels, but green tea has a leg up on the competition. This magical elixir is particularly high in the antioxidant ECGC, the compound that burns fat and stops it from forming. Pair your tea with a workout for a fat-burning bonus. Exercisers who drank four to five cups of green tea daily and worked out for 25 minutes lost more belly fat than their non-tea-drinking counterparts, a study published in The Journal of Nutrition found.
After your diet, and once you cycle off of your fat burner, it's important to bump your calories back up to or above what is known as "maintenance," where your calories and calorie burn are roughly equal. One popular way to do this is what is known as a "reverse diet," where you gradually and systematically raise calories. Registered dietician Katie Coles explains how in her article "The Ultimate Guide to Reverse Dieting."
The most important thing you need to do is to program yourself mentally. Don't use a scale to measure your progress. If you work out with weights, you may gain a few pounds while losing inches around the waist. Instead, use that pair of jeans that you want to fit into again, or a pair that fits you now. You'll see a slight change every few weeks, and that should give you confidence.
Ansari says alcohol can prevent weight loss in several ways, including the fact that heavy alcohol intake can stimulate food intake. "Binge drinking can overload the liver. The liver then prioritizes processing alcohol over other nutrients and then stores the protein, carbs, and fat as fat in the body," Ansari explains. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines binge drinking as having five or more drinks for men, and four or more drinks for women in two hours. "Also, alcoholic beverages are often mixed with sugar-rich beverages. Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can cause calories to add up quickly," she says.
Another risk regarding the use of dietary supplements intended to promote weight loss is that these products are usually self-prescribed without clearance or input from a health care professional. This can result in harmful interactions between different products and/or medications. Currently in the U.S., there is no controlled system for reporting bad reactions and side effects associated with popular weight loss pills. While some people taking these products, or their doctors, may sometimes report problems to the FDA, they’re not required by law to do so.
Hourglass contains a great ingredient portfolio, enough to easily compete with many of the market leading fat burners. For instance, you’ll find glucomannan, a root extract that sits undigested in your stomach for a while to stop you from getting annoying hunger cravings between meals (and of course to stop you snacking). It contains green tea extract and black pepper extract (bioperine) which are found in many fat burners. It also contains a range of vitamins including Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D3.

Those trans fats on your menu are hiding out in plain sight and sabotaging your lean belly plans every time you eat them. If a food product says it contains partially hydrogenated oils, you're eating trans fat, which can increase your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity with every bite. In fact, research conducted at Wake Forest University reveals that monkeys whose diets contained eight percent trans fat upped their body fat by 7.2 percent over a six-year study, while those who ate monounsaturated fat gained just a fraction of that amount. Instead of letting harmful trans fat take up space on your menu, fill up with these healthy fats.


It’s important to do full-body strength training if you want to lose belly fat—especially if you’re trying to keep it off for the long haul. “Strength training should be a part of just about everybody’s exercise plan,” says Dr. Cheskin. That’s because strength training helps you build muscle, which will replace body fat. And because muscle is metabolically active, you'll continue to burn calories after working out, thereby, reducing overall body fat. Bonus: When your metabolic rate becomes faster due to muscle growth, you’ll have a little more wiggle room in your diet if that’s something you struggle with, says Dr. Cheskin.

Caffeine is often included in fat-burning supplements the form of yerba mate or guarana — however, manufacturers may include these substances in amounts they’re rarely used otherwise. Caffeine is a common weight loss ingredient because it often has the effect of dulling someone’s appetite and help increase energy for activity. However, too much caffeine can cause side effects like jitteriness, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, diarrhea and more.
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One 2009 report published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that CLA has positive effects on energy metabolism, adipogenesis, inflammation, lipid metabolism and apoptosis. (6) A 2007 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition similarly found that supplementation of a CLA mixture in overweight and obese people (three to four grams a day for 24 weeks) decreased body fat mass and increased lean body mass. (7) And regarding CLA’s safety, there seems to be very little risk for adverse effects on overall blood lipids, inflammation levels and insulin response in healthy, overweight or obese adults.
For women, high levels of body fat can lead to pregnancy problems. The babies of overweight mothers are more likely to be stillborn, born early, and even have brain defects. These women are also at a higher risk of developing diabetes during their pregnancy or having preeclampsia (high blood pressure), which can negatively affect both the baby and mother. Their children are also at a higher risk of being overweight or obese themselves.
This ancient grain will make that flat tire around your waist history! Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it contains the complete chain of amino acids that are necessary for muscle building and fat loss. In a 2015 study in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation, researchers discovered that patients who ingested higher amounts of vegetable protein were far less susceptible to metabolic syndrome (a combination of high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and obesity). Before you thought it couldn't get any better, there's more: quinoa has the highest level of betaine, according to a Food Chemistry study. Why is that important? Well, a Nutrients study linked betaine supplementation to a revved metabolism and inhibition of fat production.
Resolve to do more prying. Oysters are one of the best food sources of zinc, a mineral that works with the hormone leptin to regulate appetite. Research shows that overweight people tend to have higher levels of leptin and lower levels of zinc than slimmer folk. A study published in the journal Life Sciences found that taking zinc supplements could increase leptin production in obese men by 142 percent! A half-dozen oysters only have 43 calories but provides 21 percent of your RDA of iron—deficiencies of which have been linked to a significant increase in fat gene expression.
According to the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at University of Birmingham, “The term ‘fat burner’ is used to describe nutrition supplements that are claimed to acutely increase fat metabolism or energy expenditure, impair fat absorption, increase weight loss, increase fat oxidation during exercise, or somehow cause long-term adaptations that promote fat metabolism.” (3)
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