Still, it’s a worthy goal to lose belly fat because it’s “unfortunately the most dangerous location to store fat,” says Lawrence Cheskin, MD, chair of the department of nutrition and food studies at George Mason University and director of the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center. Because belly fat—also known as visceral fat, or the deep abdominal fat that surrounds your organs—is more temporary, it circulates throughout the bloodstream more regularly and is therefore likelier to raise the amount of fat in your blood, increasing your blood sugar levels and putting you at a greater risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Carbohydrates are converted into sugar when they enter your bloodstream. Since your body doesn’t usually need all the energy that the sugar produces, it converts most of the energy into fat. The plummet in blood sugar levels that always follows a spike causes you to feel hungry for more sugar. If this cycle is continually repeated, you won’t be able to lose weight fast; in fact, you might gain weight.
Start the day right with a berry parfait and an English muffin. Put four ounces of low-fat yogurt in a bowl with one tablespoon low-fat granola and ½ cup sliced strawberries. Add one more layer of yogurt and granola and finish it with ½ cup raspberries. You can eat this delicious berry parfait with half a toasted whole wheat English muffin topped with two teaspoons peanut butter.
Add a cup of low-fat milk, a part-skim mozzarella stick, or a half cup of low-sodium cottage cheese to breakfast, and you may have a belly-busting win. While lots of research links calcium with lower body weights, results from a 2014 study suggest that calcium-containing foods may reduce waist circumference in those genetically predisposed to carrying weight in their midsection.