Keep The Belly Fat Away By Not Skipping Meals

If you think skipping lunch will get your body beach ready for summertime, think again. A new study out of Ohio State University reveals that opting out of meals can actually contribute to weight gain, particularly in that troublesome belly area.

The study, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, used mice to test two forms of eating. One group of mice were given all their food at once and then fasted the rest of the day. The other mice were free to graze throughout the day. While they initially lost more weight than the unrestricted group, the mice on the restricted diet developed insulin resistance in their livers, which leads to excess glucose production that is stored as fat, researchers wrote.

When researchers reintroduced calories back into the mice diets, the animals gained all the weight back and retained the fat around their middles. Ultimately, the mice that fasted had more belly fat than the mice that could eat freely throughout the study. This does support the notion that small meals throughout the day can be helpful for weight loss, though that may not be practical for many people, said senior study author and OSU health nutrition professor Martha Belury in a release. But you definitely don’t want to skip meals to save calories because it sets your body up for larger fluctuations in insulin and glucose and could be setting you up for more fat gain instead of fat loss.

Belly fat is dangerous for multiple reasons, one being that excessive amounts can put you at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, colon and breast cancer and dementia. Its the most harmful fat you can have on your body, Dr. Peter LePort, director of the Memorial Care Center for Obesity, told Yahoo Health. So whats the best way to go when you want to trim your midsection? Exercise, diet, sleep and stress management, says Dr. Kristen Hairston, assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Wake Forest School of Medicine. It’s important to incorporate 30 minutes of moderate activity into each day, she told WebMD.

When it comes to diet, adding fiber and protein to your palate could reduce that pesky pouch. Research has shown those who got at least six to seven hours of shuteye a night gained less belly fat over five years than those who didn’t. And finally, find a productive way to blow off steam. Relaxing your mind and body can lead to lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which is linked to belly fat, according to Prevention.

Snacking Between Meals That Help You Gain or Lose Weight

Its a nice little break in your day. Its something to help pass the time while you watch TV. Each of these answers is part of the snacking habits of average Americans for better or for worse.

Research has identified two major types of snackers: Individuals who snack several times a day in response to true hunger. This type of snacking, which likely happens at regular times, allows adjustment of food intake from day to day, depending on the body needs. These snackers tend to be younger, healthy and lean. Individuals who choose snacks high in salt, sugar or fat and tend to snack at irregular times in response to environmental stimuli not because of hunger.

Snacking while watching TV is common. This type of snacking is not in response to the bodys needs, so it tends to lead to weight gain and poor nutrition. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), in the early 1970s, the average man got 502 of his daily calories from snacks, the average woman got 296. Jump forward 40 years, and those numbers increase to 634 calories for men and 438 for women.

Today, fewer Americans eat three meals a day, but most of us snack. In fact, 2 of 3 Americans eat two or more snacks each day. We get about 23 percent of our calories from snacks twice the average calories eaten at breakfast and about the same as the average lunch calories.

When are we doing this snacking? If you tend to eat both lunch and dinner, theres a 2 in 3 chance that you eat a snack in between, and a similar chance that you eat a snack between dinner and bedtime.