Dr. Mehmet Oz busted common myths about belly fat and revealed tips for reducing belly fat on the June 30 episode of the Dr. Oz Show.
Dr. Oz said contrary to popular belief, you can trim your waist at any age with a healthy diet, exercise, stress reduction and better sleep.
A common myth is that you can't lose belly fat after age 40, but Dr. Oz said this isn't true. As proof, he had several female guests on his show who lost 50 to 80 pounds and dramatically reduced their belly bloat during their forties and fifties.
Healthy Fats Burn Belly Fat
Another myth is that high-fat foods cause fat storage in the stomach region. This is also completely false, said Dr. Oz. If anything, healthy monounsaturated fats (like those in olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocados), are actually really effective at beating belly bloat.
Dr. Oz recommended avoiding low-fat foods because food manufacturers replace the fat with sugar, and sugar accelerates fat storage. He added that women should increase their calcium intake to beat belly bloat and rev up their metabolism.
Processed Foods Promote Belly Fat Storage
While most people hate the way belly fat looks, Dr. Oz pointed out that in addition to being unattractive, visceral fat is dangerous because it surrounds organs, and can spur heart disease and type 2 diabetes. He said one way to reduce belly fat is to dramatically cut back on the consumption of processed foods.
Processed foods lead to belly-fat storage, particularly artery-clogging partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats found in margarine, packaged cookies, crackers and pasta.
Hormones are another major belly-fat culprit. During perimenopause and menopause, estrogen levels drop precipitously. This changes how fat is stored in women's bodies and causes them to store more fat in the midsection. Dr. Oz said getting enough sleep and exercising will stem hormone-related fat accumulation.
He also suggested the following belly fat-blasting diet tips:
- Put hot pepper jelly or Sriracha sauce on your food because it ignites your metabolism.
- Consume catechins (like those found in green tea) and take 3,400mg of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) a day.
- Take L-Arginine, which helps burn fat and build muscle.
- Sprinkle acacia powder on your food. "This is like a diet pill without chemicals," said Dr. Oz. "It's something you can put on everything you eat. Acacia powder has a ton of fiber. It has no taste. It fills you up so you're not hungry."
- Snack on sauerkraut, kimchi, or low-sodium pickles. Feed your body the right bacteria and they'll detox you.
- Reduce cortisol. When you feel stress, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. It makes you store calories in your body, especially your belly. Red wine can help reduce cortisol.
- Eat wet foods, which are foods with a high water volume (70% or more) and have lots of fiber (at least five grams per serving).
- Avoid diet sodas (or any carbonated beverages). The carbonation and artificial sweeteners ruin your metabolism, boost your appetite and make you fat.
Liz Vaccariello, editor-in-chief of Reader's Digest, shared other easy tips for melting belly fat in her book, 21-Day Tummy.