The 10 Best Ways to Get a Flat Stomach

The 10 Best Ways to Get a Flat Stomach
The 10 Best Ways to Get a Flat Stomach

Losing the fat around your midsection can be a battle.

In addition to being a risk factor for several diseases, excess abdominal fat may make you feel bloated and discouraged.

Luckily, several strategies have been shown to be especially effective at reducing your waist size.

If you dream about having a flat stomach, this article may be just what you need.

Here are 30 science-backed methods to help you reach your goal of a flat stomach.


1. Cut Calories, but Not Too Much

Belly Fat vs. Tones Stomach

It is a well-known fact that you need to cut calories to produce weight loss.

One popular approach is to reduce your daily intake by 500–1,000 calories to expect to lose approximately 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) per week (1).

That being said, restricting your calorie intake too much can be counterproductive.

Eating too few calories can cause a major decrease in your metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn on a daily basis (2, 3, 4, 5).

In one study, a group of people who ate 1,100 calories per day slowed their metabolic rate more than twice as much as those who consumed about 1,500 calories per day for four consecutive days (5).

What’s more, this decrease in metabolic rate may persist even after you start behaving like you normally do. That means you may have a lower metabolic rate than you had before you severely restricted your calorie intake (4, 6).

Therefore, it is important that you don’t limit your calorie intake too much or for too long.

Bottom Line: Eating too few calories may slow your metabolic rate, even in the long term. Therefore, it is important not to restrict calories too much or for too long.


2. Drink Water

Small Glass of Water

There are at least three ways in which water may help you achieve a flat stomach.

First, it may help with weight loss by temporarily increasing your metabolic rate.

In fact, drinking water may increase your total energy expenditure by up to 100 calories per day (72, 73).

Second, drinking water before meals can make you feel fuller, so you’ll ultimately eat fewer calories (74, 75, 76).

Third, it may help relieve constipation and reduce belly bloating (77, 78, 79).

Try drinking a large glass of water before each meal. It may help you achieve your goal.

Bottom Line: Drinking water may increase your metabolic rate, make you feel fuller and help relieve constipation, all of which may help you achieve your goal of a flatter stomach.


3. Eat More Fiber, Especially Soluble Fiber

Pile of Brussel Sprouts

Soluble fibers absorb large quantities of water and slow down the passing of food through the digestive tract.

This has been shown to delay stomach emptying, causing the stomach to expand and make you feel full (7, 8).

Furthermore, soluble fiber may decrease the number of calories your body is able to absorb from food (9).

By eating soluble fiber, you are also less likely to accumulate fat around your organs, which reduces your waist circumference and the risk of several diseases (10).

One observational study showed that each 10-gram increase in daily soluble fiber intake decreased fat gain around the midsection by 3.7% over five years (11).

Good sources of soluble fibers include oats, flaxseeds, avocados, legumes, Brussels sprouts and blackberries.

Bottom Line: Eating soluble fiber has been linked to a reduced risk of developing fat around your midsection.


4. Take Probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that are suggested to play a significant role in weight loss and weight maintenance (12, 13).

Overweight and obese people have been shown to have different compositions of gut bacteria than normal-weight people, which may influence weight gain and fat distribution (14, 15, 16).

A regular intake of probiotics may shift the balance towards beneficial gut flora, reducing the risk of weight gain and fat accumulation in your abdominal cavity.

Some strains of probiotics have been shown to be particularly effective at reducing belly fat. These include (17, 18, 19, 20, 21):

  • Lactobacillus fermentum
  • Lactobacillus amylovorus
  • Lactobacillus gasseri

Probiotic foods include some types of yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kimchi and pickles.

There are also a wide variety of probiotic supplements available. However, these supplements usually contain several strains of bacteria, so make sure to pick one that contains at least one of the strains mentioned above.

Bottom Line: Probiotics may help build up beneficial gut flora. Some Lactobacillus strains have been shown to be particularly effective at reducing waist size.


5. Do Some Cardio

Aqua Blue Running Shoes

Doing cardio, or aerobic exercise is an excellent way to burn calories and improve overall health.

Additionally, studies have shown that it is very effective at strengthening your midsection and reducing your waistline (22, 23, 24, 25).

Studies usually recommend doing 150–300 minutes of moderate-to-high-intensity aerobic exercise weekly, which translates to roughly 20–40 minutes per day (26, 27).

Examples of cardio include running, brisk walking, biking, and rowing.

Bottom Line: Doing moderate-to-high-intensity cardio for 20–40 minutes per day has been shown to be effective at reducing belly fat.


6. Drink Protein Shakes

Protein shakes are an easy way to add extra protein to your diet.

Getting enough protein in your diet can boost your metabolism, reduce your appetite and assist with fat loss, especially from your midsection (28, 29, 30, 31).

Furthermore, studies have suggested that adding protein shakes to your weight loss diet may be especially effective at reducing your waist circumference (32, 33, 34).

Bottom Line: Protein shakes are an easy way to add extra protein to your diet. Including them as part of a weight loss diet has been shown to be effective at reducing your waist size.


7. Eat Foods Rich in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

Mixed Nuts

Monounsaturated fatty acids are liquid at room temperature and usually categorized among the “healthy fats.”

Studies show that diets high in monounsaturated fatty acids may prevent the accumulation of tummy fat, the most dangerous type of fat (35, 36).

The Mediterranean diet is an example of a diet that is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, and it has been linked to many health benefits, including a reduced risk of central obesity (37, 38).

Foods high in monounsaturated fatty acids include olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Bottom Line: Diets high in monounsaturated fatty acids may reduce the risk of central obesity.


8. Do Resistance Training

Five People Using Kettle Bells for Resistance Training

Losing muscle mass is a common side effect of dieting.

This can be detrimental to your metabolic rate, as losing muscle decreases the number of calories you burn on a daily basis (48).

Doing resistance exercises regularly may prevent this loss of muscle mass and, in turn, help you maintain or improve your metabolic rate (49, 50).

Moreover, resistance training may be especially effective at tightening your midsection and reducing your waist size (51, 52).

In fact, combining resistance training with aerobic exercise seems to be the most efficient for slimming your waistline (53).

Bottom Line: Resistance training may prevent the loss of muscle mass often seen with dieting, which may help maintain your metabolic rate and reduce your waist circumference.


10.Get Enough Sleep

Woman Sleeping Peacefully

Getting a sufficient amount of good sleep is critical for weight loss.

Studies have repeatedly shown sleeping less than five hours a night for adults and less than 10 hours for children is linked to an increased risk of weight gain (114, 115).

In women, short sleep duration is consistently linked to increased waist size, compared to those who get a good night’s sleep (116, 117).

Similarly, sleep-deprived people are up to 55% more likely to become obese (114, 118).

Luckily, shifting sleep duration from shorter lengths to healthier periods has been shown to help eradicate these effects (119).

Bottom Line: Those who sleep too little are much more likely to gain weight and have increased waist circumference, compared to normal sleepers.


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