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If you’re looking to get rid of pesky rolls in your midsection, you’re not alone. While loading up on foods to lose your gut can help, there’s even more you can do to support healthy, lasting weight loss. You are what you eat—but you are what you drink, too.
Ahead, six tweaks, changes, and updates you can make to the beverages you consume to supercharge your belly-blasting weight loss efforts. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss Eating Habits to Lose Abdominal Fat As You Age, Say Dietitians.
Pass the matcha or cuppa green tea, please. “Tea’s antioxidants are credited for doing everything from helping to protect against heart disease and cancer to revving metabolism,” says Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, The Nutrition Twins, founders of The 21-Day Body Reboot.
“Green tea has been shown to increase fat loss by reducing food intake, increasing fat burning, and suppressing the formation of fat cells. To shrink belly fat, sip it throughout the day, aiming to drink 4-6 teacups daily (teacups are smaller than regular cups and hold 4-5 ounces),” they continue, adding that green tea contains caffeine, which may help with body fat reduction as well.
Check out our guide to green tea brands here.
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If you’re serious about weight loss, you may even want to consider ditching booze completely. “The phrase beer belly didn’t come out of nowhere! Alcohol is high in empty calories, and drinking too much of it can increase belly fat even if you’re at a healthy body weight. You don’t necessarily have to give up alcohol altogether, but sticking to one light beer or glass of wine per night can help with fat loss if you usually drink more than that,” says registered dietitian Kim Yawitz, RD. The St. Louis-based nutritionist recommends single-serving drinks (like canned beer or mini bottles of wine) to her clients who are prone to topping off their glasses with just “one more splash.”
READ MORE: Dangerous Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Wine, Says Science
We know, we know, you’ve heard it before. But it’s time to embrace the H2O-guzzling life, especially if you want to lose weight. “Drinking more water increases fat burn, and there’s also some evidence it could suppress the appetite. Anything above and beyond what you already drink can help with fat loss,” says Yawitz.
“However, I often tell my weight loss clients to add a big glass of water before each meal. In one study, overweight women who drank 500 milliliters of water (a little over two cups) before meals lost significant amounts of weight and body fat after eight weeks.”
As Yawitz also points out, from a behavioral standpoint, coordinating an extra glass of water with an established habit (like eating) is one way to make sure you don’t forget to do it.
The Nutrition Twins note that whey protein powder, pea protein powder, and Greek yogurt all can be solid choices to add to your A.M. smoothie. “Many people don’t get enough protein at breakfast or in their smoothies which can backfire when trying to shrink your waistline. Getting enough protein throughout the day, including at breakfast, is key because increasing the percentage of protein in your diet can curb appetite and increase satiety throughout the day, which helps to prevent overeating and makes losing weight easier,” they say. “Getting adequate protein is also critical for having a speedy metabolism and burning more fat, including belly fat, since protein is essential for building metabolism-revving lean muscle tissue.”
Talk about a super spice. “Cinnamon is naturally sweet, yet calorie-free so it can save hundreds of calories and spare your waistline when used instead of sugars and syrups. It’s also been shown to reduce body weight and belly fat, helping to prevent against obesity,” offer The Nutrition Twins. “Cinnamon is packed with powerful antioxidants that prevent oxidative damage from leading to the chronic inflammation that is linked to obesity.”
Your cup of Joe can be a lesser-known source of major calorie bombs, which translates to packing on the belly fat. “An estimated 68 percent of American coffee drinkers jazz up their java with creamers, syrups, sugar, and other add-ins. A little cream and sugar may not seem like a big deal, but it adds up if you drink a lot of coffee” says Yawitz. “Your best bet is to switch to black coffee if you really want to lose some belly fat, but cutting back on those mix-ins can also help.”
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