The original low-carb living experts Atkins Nutritionals have shared four simple steps to banish belly fat – once and for all.
"Plenty of people watching their waistline and sweating it out at the gym are often confounded by the fact they just can't seem to shift stubborn belly fat – no matter what they do," explained Ms Colette Heimowitz, VP Nutrition Communication & Education at Atkins Nutritionals. "Many of them also fail to realise the negative health impacts of belly fat, also known as visceral fat, which produces excess hormones and chemicals which can have a negative impact on almost every organ in the body – heightening the risk for long-term health issues such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer".
All that's required to identify whether your waist measurement puts you at risk is a tape measure, with 40 inches the not-so-magic number for men, and 35 inches the equivalent for women.
And if your numbers aren't good, what then?
"The evidence is clear that the best way to burn body fat – including belly fat – is to switch to a fat-burning metabolism by controlling your carbohydrate intake, and that's where the Atkins approach comes in," Ms Heimowitz explained.
So….what to do?
1. Cut the sugar
Our bodies are built to handle no more than two teaspoons of sugar at once - any more is potentially converted into body fat. By choosing low-carb options you're limiting the amount of carbohydrates that can be converted to sugar, and when carbs are restricted, your body burns fat for fuel instead – often from around your belly.
2. Pump up the protein
By picking your protein levels wisely – not too little, not too much – it's easy to keep hunger and cravings in check, which is a major factor in the ongoing battle against the belly bulge.
3. Cut carbs
One of the fastest ways to shed belly fat is to teach your body to burn fat for fuel by cutting out refined carbs such as white bread, rice, bagels, pasta, cookies, chips and lollies and swapping them for nutrient- and fibre-rich carbs such as vegetables and low-glycemic fruits.
4. Make friends with healthy fats
By lowering your intake of carbohydrates and sugar and training your body to burn fat for fuel, you'll be in a position to enjoy healthy fats such as olive oil, butter, nuts, avocadoes and certain sauces and dressings – without compromising your measurements around the middle.
"Don't let the onset of cooler weather be an excuse to cave in to comfort food cravings and sneaking winter kilos," advised Ms Heimowitz. "A much more sensible, and sustainable, approach is to overhaul your eating habits for the long term, banishing belly fat for good, boosting your overall health and helping you get off the sugar and carb roller-coaster once and for all".