The Truth About Belly Fat

What's the best way to trim your tummy?

By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD/LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

Having a flat belly or so-called "six-pack abs" is a dream of most adults. If you're middle-aged, have ever been pregnant, or sometimes indulge in too much food or one too many beers, you probably have a spare tire you'd like to get rid of. So what's the best strategy for banishing belly fat? Is it as simple as adding certain foods to your diet, or doing particular exercises?

WebMD turned to the experts for answers on belly fat -- and the best ways to lose it.

The Answer to Flatter Abs

Don't despair; you can lose that spare tire, experts say. But there's no secret formula.

"There is no magic bullet, diet plan, specific food, or type of exercise that specifically targets belly fat. But the good news is belly fat is the first kind of fat you tend to lose when you lose weight," says Michael Jensen, MD, a Mayo Clinic endocrinology specialist and obesity researcher.

Whether you're an "apple" shape with excess belly fat, or a "pear" with wide hips and thighs, when you lose weight, you'll most likely lose proportionately more from the abdominal region than elsewhere.

"Ninety-nine percent of people who lose weight will lose it in the abdominal region before anywhere else -- and will lose proportionately more weight from the upper body," says Jensen, also a professor of medicine.

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