Low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, Swiss cheese
A review of more than 90 studies in the journal Nutrition Reviews revealed a strong link between high calcium intake and improved body composition. When your calcium is low, your body secretes hormones that let you make better use of the calcium you have. Problem is, at the same time, your body signals fat cells to hold onto fat, including the fat in your belly. Dairy, including milk (even whole milk, just watch your calories), cheese (especially Swiss), and yogurt, are the preferred sources of calcium. Eat three servings of dairy a day, and keep the rest of your diet in check, and you will steadily lose weight.
Enjoy a delicious barley side dish instead of white rice with dinner and you could be on your way to shedding dangerous belly fat, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. People on a reduced-calorie diet were told to avoid whole-grain foods or to get all their grain servings from whole grains (such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, barley, and brown rice). Although both groups lost equal amounts of weight, the whole-grain group lost more abdominal fat. Good rule of thumb: Get at least three servings of whole-grain foods a day. A serving is a slice of bread, an ounce of cold cereal, or a half-cup of cooked cereal, rice, pasta, or other grain. Oatmeal and barley are particularly good choices because they’re rich in soluble fiber and don’t typically raise blood sugar as much as white or brown rice.
You’ll not only be fighting cancer and heart disease by sipping green tea, but you’ll shrink your belly, especially if you’re walking, too, according to a study in the Journal of Nutrition. Study participants drank a beverage containing catechins-powerful antioxidant compounds in green tea-or a beverage with no catechins. They also did about 180 minutes of moderately intense exercise, mainly walking, each week. After 12 weeks, green tea drinkers had lost 7.4% more abdominal fat than non-green-tea drinkers. Catechins increase metabolism and the rate at which the liver burns fat. To reap those rewards, drink four to six cups of caffeinated green tea a day and log at least 180 minutes of exercise each week.
Cutting calories is still the best way to lose weight-as long as you don’t cut too much protein. In a study in the Journal of Nutrition, people followed either a moderately high-protein diet (40% carbs/30% protein) or a moderately high-carbohydrate diet (55% carbs/15% protein). After a year, the protein group lost 38% more body fat than the carb group. How does protein work? First, your body uses more calories to break down protein food than it does to break down other foods. Protein also helps you keep muscle mass as you’re losing weight, and muscle burns more calories than fat. Finally, protein dampens hunger better than carbs, which also helped the protein group lose weight.
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