How come you’re on a diet and you’re not seeing the spare tire shrink? There can be several possible reasons why. First and foremost, one explanation can be that you’re not eating enough protein. Read on and learn about how to choose and add certain foods to help lose belly fat.
More in the Middle
In general, when people gain weight, the fat gets distributed to all parts of the body. However, certain types of behaviors can cause fat to get disposed, plunk, right in the middle. Stressing out, losing lots of sleep, and eating too much sugar are a few of the culprits.
You may not be terribly overweight. Your legs and arms may be lean, but you can still have belly fat. Those who carry a majority of their weight in the middle are more prone to cardiovascular disease and other dangerous health risks. Hence, it’s time to get rid of the “beer gut.” (By the way, non beer-drinkers can still be prone to growing a larger middle, too.)
One Simple Explanation
Everyone understands that a higher metabolism makes you more efficient at burning calories. That’s why exercise is so important. Many people who workout exhibit a greater metabolic rate. Strength training and muscle-building are also essential to increasing metabolism.
Most noteworthy, protein helps build muscle. If you lose muscle mass, your fat-burning mechanism slows down. Therefore, if you don’t eat enough protein, you’re not going to burn calories as effectively.
There is a terrific list of foods to help lose belly fat. Of course, they include a gamut of proteins.
Protein Can Satisfy You
The hunger hormone actually increases when we eat carbs and certain fats. Conversely, protein boosts the “feeling satisfied” hormone. If you’re not feeling hungry (and don’t eat), you will take in fewer calories. More protein and fewer calories will keep your tummy and brain happy. And, you’ll begin to lose weight.
In fact, your body burns more calories processing protein than fats or carbs. And, there’s something else to keep in mind if you want to burn and use fat as energy. It needs help from protein and/or complex carbs. (Additionally, FYI, not all carbs are evil.)
Pro-Plant, Pro-Animal, Protein
There’s always the discussion of whether vegetarians are getting enough protein in their diets. Essentially, it will depend on the types of foods vegetarians eat and how often. There is plenty of protein to be found from plant-based sources.
Now remember, protein helps build muscle. Leucine is an element in protein, which assists with muscle-building. Leucine levels in plants are much lower than in animal protein. So, if you’re a bit older and finding it harder to build muscle, you may opt for the animal protein in this case.
Regardless, both plants and animals can provide the protein in the foods to help lose belly fat. Here is a list of many scrumptious items you can add to your diet:
Animal/Fish Protein Options
- Turkey, 4 ounces @ 28 gm protein. It also contains tryptophan, which increases serotonin levels. Good food, good mood.
- Pork, 4 ounces @ 24 gm. It’s a lean white meat.
- Chicken, 3 ounces, 24 gm. Free range is the best.
- Bison, 4 ounces, 23 gm. No easy to find, but worth the search.
- Grass-fed beef, 4 ounces, 26 gm. Eat moderately as it can be high in fat.
- Ostrich, 4 ounces, 26 gm. A lean, high-protein option. What’s a good recipe?
- Wild Salmon, 4 ounces, 28 gm. High in omega-3 good fats.
- Halibut, 4 ounces, 30 gm. Lean and simple to prepare.
- Tuna, 4 ounces, 30 gm. Fresh, wild, or flash frozen. Canned is OK too, just a little less protein. Also, beware of added salt or oil.
- Eggs, 1, 8 gm. Get cage-free. Most of the protein lies in the white, but don’t be afraid of the yellow. Contrary to past reports, the yolk, eaten in moderation, is healthy and a plentiful source of vitamin K2 and other nutrients.
Plant-Based Protein Options
- Spinach, 1 cup cooked, 5 gm protein. Excellent as a nutritious dark, leafy green.
- Artichoke, 1 medium-sized, 5 gm.
- Peas, 1 cup, 8 gm. Pea protein is also fantastic as a powdered supplement in smoothies.
- Beans, ½ cup, @8 gm. There are a variety of beans from which to choose—all high in protein and fiber.
- Lentils, 1 cup, 18 gm. Great for soup.
- Peanut butter, 2 tablespoons, 7 gm. All nut butters are a fine source of protein. Just make sure they do not have added sugar.
- Greek yogurt, 4 ounces, 10gm. Again, beware of added sugar.
- Sun dried tomatoes, 1 cup, 6 gm. Yummy in pasta dishes and salads.
- Chia seeds, 1 ounce, 5 gm. Many types of seeds are a decent source of protein and contain other nutritional elements. Eat in moderation.
- Almonds, cashews, 1 ounce, 6 gm. Nuts are great, some more beneficial than others. They’re a source of good fat—just don’t overdo it.
Clearly, this list of foods to help lose belly fat is just a selection of favorites. There are many other plant- and animal-based sources of protein discoverable at your local farm or market.
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