Weight Loss & Diets

How to Lose Lower Belly Fat with Keto

How to Lose Lower Belly Fat with Keto

Lower belly fat is notoriously difficult to get rid of. It's also the worse type of fat to have, not only for aesthetic reasons but for health reasons also. Studies show that lower belly fat is strongly linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and heart attacks [1]. There's also evidence fat in the belly area increases your risk of brain diseases, allergies, and cancer [2].
 
Fortunately, simple diet and lifestyle changes are enough to melt that stubborn belly fat away. The keto diet, for example, combined with lifestyle changes is a sure way to lose weight, especially in the abdominal area. That’s because the keto diet forces your body to burn fat instead of storing it as usual. This diet also involves changing your lifestyle habits for better overall success.
 
In case you were wondering what it means to have lower belly fat: a waist circumference above 35 inches for men and 30 inches for women constitutes abdominal obesity [3]. If you fall under this category, here are 5 foolproof steps you need to take. We explain why each step works in burning lower belly fat.

1. Cut Down on Carbs

And especially cut down on processed sugar. Processed sugar is high in fructose, a simple sugar that studies show promotes the development of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes [4]. Studies also show that, compared to other sugars, fructose is the most likely to cause the formation of visceral fat – fat inside your abdomen lining your organs [5] and the cause of pot belly.

But sugar isn't the only problem. You also need to get rid of complex carbs since all carbs lead to weight gain [6]. Unless you drastically cut back on your carb intake, you'll have problems losing belly fat.

The keto diet reduces carb intake to below 50 grams per day. The result of this is your body switching to a metabolic state called nutritional ketosis. When you're in this state, your body is forced to burn its own fat stores to make fuel because it can't rely on carbs for that.

To keep carb intake low on a ketogenic diet, you need to eat lots of fat (65-80%), moderate amounts of protein, and only low-carb foods. Low-carb foods allowed on a keto diet include leafy greens, berries, cruciferous veggies, and squash. Grains, legumes, sugar, and honey you need to get rid of completely.

2. Eat More Fat

Eating more fat to lose belly fat? As counterintuitive as it sounds, it does work. A 2015 study on obese subjects found that those who ate a low-carb, high-fat diet lost more weight than those on a low-fat diet [7]. What's more, subjects on the high-fat diet shed lower belly fat, especially visceral fat. Researchers also noted they lost 4.4% of total fat mass after 8 weeks of high-fat eating.
 
On a keto diet, fat is essential to keep you full and also for ketone production. However, the type of fat matters a great deal. Not all fats have the same satiating effect. Research shows medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are the most satiating type of fat, which is why they're such a big part of the keto diet [8]. You can get these either from coconut oil or MCT oil.
 
Monounsaturated fatty acids from olive oil are also highly satiating as are unsaturated fatty acids in general. There's also evidence that eating fats along with fiber-rich foods increase satiety. But satiety isn't the only reason fat burns lower belly fat. It provides energy which your body needs in order to burn calories. In fact, fats are the most powerful source of energy, providing 9 calories per gram.
 

3. Try Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting (IF) refers to a dietary strategy where you cycle between periods of eating and periods of fasting. Your fasting period can last anywhere between a couple of hours to a whole day. But more commonly, keto dieters fast for 8-12 hours and eat within a limited time frame (aka feeding window). You can learn more about intermittent fasting and how it's done here.
 
Studies show that IF enhances fat tissue burning [9]. More specifically, it increases blood flow to fat tissue and activates white blood cells in this tissue which is essential for fat burning. Studies also show that IF does not lead to a loss of muscle mass [10].
 
Intermittent fasting for belly fat burning is also a great addition to the keto diet. Many keto-ers fast intermittently because it increases ketone production. When weight-loss is your goal, IF helps because you're less likely to overeating within your limited feeding windows. During your fasting windows, it's important to stay well hydrated to avoid fatigue and health problems.
 
Besides lower belly fat burning, IF comes with a range of additional health benefits. These include enhanced metabolic rate, improved brain health, increased longevity, cancer prevention, and greater well-being. The reason why your body loves IF so much is that it mimics starvation which is something our ancestors had to deal with periodically. In other words, we're built for occasional fasting not constant overeating.

4. Exercise Daily

Every weight-loss strategy needs to include exercise as part of the plan. Without enough physical activity, your chances of burning excess calories are pretty low. And this is especially true when your goal is losing lower belly fat.
 
The reason exercising helps you melt fat in your abdominal area is because it increases the resting metabolic rate (RMR) [11]. RMR is the rate at which your body burns calories at rest. The greater your RMR, the more fat you'll burn without lifting a finger. But to get there, you need to make exercise a daily habit.
 
So far, the best type of exercising for burning fat is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Research compared this type of training to other popular exercising methods like aerobics and strength training. Evidence shows HIIT beats all when it comes to visceral and lower belly fat [12].
 
HIIT involves short periods (up to 2 min) of sprinting followed by a longer period (15 min) of lower-intensity activity. Sprint cycling is an example of HIIT. However, HIIT is difficult for most beginners. And this is especially true on a keto diet which lacks the carbs needed for intense workouts. We suggest starting with light aerobic activity and moving to HIIT when you're ready. Also, carb cycling is a good idea when doing HIIT.

5. Eat Enough Protein

The ketogenic diet recommends moderate protein intake. This is around 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight [13]. So, if you weigh 70 kg, then your daily protein allowance is around 50 grams per day.
 
Protein is essential when you want to lose lower belly fat because it keeps you full and helps build muscle. Protein is the most satiating of all keto macros, which is why you'll often hear that you need to eat more protein to control appetite. Your body also burns calories when metabolizing protein because protein molecules are the hardest to break down, requiring lots of energy.
 
Your muscles and other tissue are all made of protein. Building muscle is the next most important thing to burning lower belly fat. That's because muscle mass increases RMR and spends more energy in general. Muscles will also give you that lean, toned look you're after.
 
However, don't go crazy with the protein. The keto diet emphasizes moderation with protein for a reason. You see, your body is able to metabolize any extra protein into glucose via a metabolic process called gluconeogenesis. This is sure to kick you out of ketosis, and you don't want that when burning belly fat on keto.

What Not to Do

When burning belly fat on a keto diet, there are also things you shouldn't be doing. These things will set you up for failure and may even lead to greater weight gain later on. Here's what to watch out for:
  • Don't Obsess over Calories

The ketogenic diet works differently than your average weight-loss diet. Its aim is transforming your body from a sugar burner into a fat burner. In order for that to happen, you need to eat enough calories to burn fat. Also, chances are you'll start eating fewer calories on keto because this diet is a natural appetite suppressant.

  • Don't Rely on Localized Exercise

A commonly-held myth is that localized exercise helps you burn fat in the targeted area. In other words, doing ab workout will burn fat in that area. This is simply not true. In order to burn fat in one area, you need to burn it all over. Localized workouts will only increase muscle mass in that area. Besides, ab workouts don't burn visceral fat which is the fat you need to target when aiming for a smaller waistline.

  • Don't Force Yourself

Sure, you need to employ some amount of discipline to work out on a regular schedule. But don't exert yourself to the point where all you're feeling is sore and miserable. The goal of the keto diet is to help you ease into fat-burning mode. This takes time, patience, and dedication. And besides, when you enjoy a dietary strategy, your chances of sticking to it for the long haul are greater.

Conclusion

Losing lower belly fat with keto is easy once you know how to do it. The ketogenic diet, being a fat-burning diet is perfect for this exact purpose. It forces your body to burn stubborn belly fat, both the visible and invisible (visceral) kind.
 
By following our 5 simple steps, you'll see that belly fat disappear in a couple of months' time. And the best thing of all is that you'll have fun along the way. The ketogenic diet does not make you feel tired and constantly hungry. Instead, it boosts your energy levels and well-being while your body is in full fat-burning mode.
 
If you are new to keto, take a look at our Keto Quick Guide. There, you'll find all your burning questions about the ketogenic diet answered. Alternatively, take our 3-hour Ketocademy course. It's free, it's easy to follow, and will teach you everything about going keto.

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