Are you interested in burning more belly fat? Who isn’t, right? Not only is extra belly fat unsightly and uncomfortable, it’s downright dangerous. Excess belly fat, also referred to as visceral fat, is associated with a constellation of health issues. This includes heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver, certain cancers, sleep apnea, and more.1,2
No need to beat a dead horse. You know belly fat is the worst kind of fat. The good news is that shedding it may not get any simpler than eating more soluble fiber.
In a recent study published in the journal Obesity, researchers attempted to figure out what lifestyle factors were associated with changes in belly fat. The researchers tracked physical activity levels and dietary intake with over 1,000 participants aged 18 – 81 years old over 5 years.3
Of all the factors they analyzed, they found soluble fiber intake and participation in vigorous activity were inversely associated with belly fat. In fact, for each 10-gram-per-day increase in soluble fiber, the amount of belly fat decreased by a whopping 3.7%.
For what it’s worth, moderately active participants had a 7.4% reduction in belly fat, showing just how protective regular exercise is. In this study, moderate activity was defined as exercising vigorously for 30 minutes 2 – 4 times per week. Sounds pretty doable, right?
“Our study is valuable because it provides specific information on how dietary fiber, especially soluble fiber, may affect weight accumulation through abdominal fat deposits,” said lead author Kristen Hairston, MD, assistant professor of internal medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
Not surprisingly, previous research from this group confirmed what you might expect: Belly fat steadily increases over time, particularly in younger participants. However, the researchers found that increased intake of soluble fiber led to a decreased rate of belly fat accumulation, suggesting increased soluble fiber intake may be instrumental in slowing this natural progression.4
Overall, it’s widely accepted that lower fiber intakes are associated with obesity while folks who consume a diet higher in fiber have lower body weights. And along these lines, high-fiber diets can help promote weight loss and prevent weight gain.5
“Although the fiber-obesity relationship has been extensively studied, the relationship between fiber and specific fat depots has not. Our study is valuable because it provides specific information on how dietary fiber, specifically soluble fiber, may affect weight accumulation, specifically through the abdominal fat depots,” said Hairston.
The Top 6 Soluble Fiber Foods
How can you add more soluble fiber to your diet? Simple. Eat more of the following foods, which are the best sources of soluble fiber, providing 1 – 2 grams per serving:
- Fruit, especially apples, apricots, grapefruit, mangos, oranges, pears, plums, and strawberries
- Veggies, especially artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, green beans, and turnips
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- Flax meal and chia seeds
- Oats, barley, and bran
- Psyllium husks