Belly fat has many names, but whatever you call it, those extra inches around your middle are a serious matter, and not just because it makes it harder for you to squeeze into your favorite jeans. Belly fat is unique in that it can have a far more negative impact on your health than other types of fat.
There are three types of fat: triglycerides (the fat that circulates in your blood), subcutaneous fat (the layer directly below the skin’s surface) and visceral fat (belly fat). Visceral fat is located beneath the muscles in your stomach and poses risks to your health when there is too much of it. It produces excess hormones and chemicals, which negatively impacts almost every organ in your body, and increases your risk for health issues such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer.
You can tell if you have too much belly fat by grabbing a measuring tape and measuring your middle. A waist measuring more than 40 inches puts men at risk for diabetes and heart disease; for women, it’s anything over 35 inches.
The evidence is clear: hands down, the best way to burn body fat (including belly fat) is to switch to a fat-burning metabolism by controlling your carb intake. Which is where Atkins comes in. With Atkins, here’s what you do and how it impacts your waistline:
Cut the sugar—Your body is built to handle the equivalent of only one to two teaspoons at a time, and anything more than that has the potential to be converted into body fat. Fortunately, Atkins is naturally low in carbs that covert to sugar. And when carbs are low enough you your body is burning fat for fuel, which is what you want to burn when you have fat storage (especially around the belly).
Pump up the protein—With Atkins, you are eating optimal amounts of protein (not too much, not too little). When you include some protein in every meal and snack, you are able to control your hunger and cravings, which is the secret to battling the bulge.
Cut the carbs—When you cut out refined carbs like white bread, rice, bagels, pasta and cookies, candy and chips and focus on nutrient- and fiber-rich carbs such as vegetables, and low glycemic fruits you start to lose belly fat, because, once again, your body is burning fat for fuel.
Healthy Fats are your friend ~ When you lower carbs and sugar, and the body is burning fat for fuel, you can enjoy healthy fats like olive oil, butter, avocados, nuts, and certain sauces and dressings.
Once you’ve taken your waist measurements, you can decide which Atkins plan works best for you to start burning any excess belly fat you might have:
Atkins 20 is the classic Atkins plan that has been so successful for millions of people over the past four decades. If you have more than 40 pounds to lose, have a waist circumference of over 35 (women) or 40 (men) are pre-diabetic or diabetic, this is the plan for you.
If you’ve got less than 40 pounds to lose, or you want a wider variety of food choices right, or are breastfeeding, you can start with Atkins 40.
Finally, while it’s not necessary to exercise while doing Atkins, exercise does offer many health benefits, and it might help you blast a bit more belly fat. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise (broken down into 30 minutes a day, five days a week) or 75 minutes a week (at least 25 minutes, three days a week) of vigorous exercise (or a combination of both), plus two days or muscle-strengthening activity such as weight training for additional health benefits. What do you have to lose? Except for a few inches around your middle?