What causes it? Your genes, for one thing. "Some families just carry most of their weight in their bellies, no matter how thin they are," says Caroline Cederquist, M.D., author of The MD Factor Diet. But visceral fat gets worse for all of us as we get older, especially if we're under a lot of stress or not sleeping well, says nutritionist Sara Vance, author of The Perfect Metabolism Plan. That's thanks to hormones that make us hungrier even as our bodies are practically hoarding fat.
MUFAs, or monounsaturated fatty acids, are the cornerstone of the Flat Belly Plan. These are plant-based fats, so the easiest way to remember them is to look for healthy fats that aren’t from animal sources, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, oils and olives. A study done through the American Diabetic Association found that a diet rich in MUFAs worked to reduce belly fat.
Flat Belly begins with a restrictive four-day anti-bloat regimen comprised of four 300-calorie meals a day. Lots of baby carrots, cucumbers, skim milk, chicken breast and tilapia will be on the menu. Then you'll progress to a monthlong eating plan that calls for three 400-calorie meals and one 400-calorie snack a day. Each meal includes a precise amount of one monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), such as 1 cup of soybeans, 1/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips or 2 tablespoons of olive tapenade. Meals also emphasize lean protein, whole grains, veggies and fruit.
That depends. It doesn’t matter how hard you train your abs if you have fat lying on top. Cardio gets rid of that fat, but if you’re already thin with a low body fat percentage and/or have a fast metabolism it’s unlikely that you will need it. If you do have fat and want to do cardio, first decide what kind of cardio you’d like to do (steady state vs. HIIT). For steady state I’d recommend something like 5 times a week, but for HIIT I’d recommend no more than 4 times a week (every other day). If your HIIT workouts are under 12 minutes then feel free to do them more times a week.
It’s not just about weight loss. Having great gut health is linked to good health throughout your body. Scientists in this rapidly growing field are finding connections between gut microbes and the immune system, weight loss, gastrointestinal health, , allergies, asthma, and even cancer. With every study that’s published, scientists become more convinced that having a healthy gut leads to having a healthy body.