3 Foods That Fight Belly Fat

By Meghan Rabbitt

Can’t seem to shed that spare tire around your middle, despite your best diet attempts? New research suggests that your belly fat itself could be to blame. In a study on rats, scientists found that fat cells within the abdomen produce a hormone called neuropeptide Y (NPY), an appetite stimulant previously thought to originate only in the brain. Rats that were heavier around the middle produced substantially more NPY in their belly-fat cells than lean rats—causing a vicious cycle in which excess belly fat leads to more belly fat. To give yourself the best shot at that six-pack stomach, stock your fridge with:

1. Whole-Grain Bread.
Research shows that people who follow a weight-loss program incorporating whole-grain breads, cereals, and other foods lose more body fat from the abdominal area than those who eat only refined-grain foods, like white bread and rice.

2. Low-Fat Milk and Yogurt.
Scientists have found that the more calcium in fat cells, the more fat those cells will burn. In one study, two groups of overweight mice were put on a restricted-calorie diet, but one also got calcium supplements. The no-calcium mice lost 8 percent of their body fat, compared to 42 percent among the mice that did get calcium.

3. Lean Protein.
Good sources of protein, such as lean meats, eggs, and beans, help keep your blood sugar stable. The result? You’ll feel full longer and get a boost in energy—and that will help you burn more belly fat.