Cutting carbs is an effective way to lose weight. In this post, I share six low carb foods that take weight loss to the next level by targeting belly fat.
Low Carb Foods That Burn Belly Fat
- Eggs are a high-quality source of protein, which has been shown to regulate belly fat.
- Salmon is high in omega 3 fatty acids, which have been correlated with a reduction in waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.
- Avocados contain a good mix of soluble and insoluble fiber. Both of which help with fat loss.
- In identical diets that differed only in one snack, participants snacking on almonds showed a significant reduction in abdominal fat and leg fat compared to muffin eaters.
- Psyllium husk is high in soluble fiber, making it useful for reducing belly fat.
- MCTs, found in MCT oil and coconut oil, was found to be more successful for reducing body weight and waist circumference than olive oil.
Low Carb Foods That Burn Belly Fat [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- Various foods that will help you burn belly fat!
- A practical habit that will help you stay on track.
- Supplements that will also help you on your weight loss journey.
We’ll start with one of the most versatile low carb foods, which is the egg. Eggs are the complete package with a great mix of nutrients that help you lose belly fat. One of those nutrients is protein, and when it comes to protein and burning belly fat, quality matters.
A study published in Nutrition & Metabolism showed that consuming high-quality protein throughout the day results in less abdominal fat. And, by quality, they were not distinguishing between a hot dog and a grass-fed steak. Instead, they based quality on the amino acid content of the food.
Like many animal-based foods, eggs are complete proteins, which means that they contain all of the essential amino acids that your body needs (1).
They are easy to eat throughout the day, from a breakfast of scrambled eggs to a hard-boiled egg snack, to a slice of quiche at dinner.
Most of the protein in an egg is found in the egg white. The yolk, however, may give you an additional belly fat fighting advantage.
That is because egg yolks are one of the few good natural food sources of vitamin D. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when healthy overweight and obese men and women had their diets fortified with calcium and vitamin D, they did not lose more weight than the control group. They did, however, have a significantly greater reduction in visceral or belly fat (2).
Another high-protein/low-carb food choice to help you lose belly fat is salmon. Like an egg, salmon is a complete protein, so you are getting all essential amino acids. However, it is salmon’s exceptionally high omega 3 fatty acid content that gives it an edge in reducing belly fat.
A review study found that much like vitamin D, omega 3s may not reduce overall body weight, but they do reduce belly fat. The reason for this focused fat loss is not clear. But, after reviewing 21 previously performed studies, the research team found that waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio were significantly reduced in those with omega-3 rich fish oil supplementation (3).
Salmon, in my opinion, is a good entry-level fish. It is a hearty fish without a real “fishy” smell, so it is easy to cook at home. You’ll find my typical salmon recipe in a blog post here on Dr. Becky Fitness.
Eggs and salmon are animal-based foods, but some great low-carb plant foods help reduce belly fat. Chief among them is the avocado.
If eggs are the perfect food of the animal world, avocados are the plant world’s perfect food. After evaluating more than 17,000 people, a research team found that those who regularly ate avocados had an overall healthier diet and a smaller waist circumference than non-avocado eaters (4).
Now, saying that those health benefits were strictly due to eating more avocados is a bit of a stretch. However, avocados contain a good mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which is why it makes our list of belly fat fighting foods.
Both forms of fiber have been shown to help with weight loss, which may be because fiber fills us up and naturally reduces calorie intake (5).
When it comes to belly fat, foods that supply soluble fiber have additional benefits. A study that evaluated lifestyle changes in families over five years found that for each 10 gram increase in soluble fiber, the visceral or belly fat accumulation rate decreased by 3.7% (6).
Low Carb Foods and Reduced Belly Fat Making It Work!
I have three additional low carb foods to share with you, but let’s make things practical before I do that. Hard-boiled eggs, salmon, and avocados are all foods that go great as salad toppers.
If you get in the habit of having a salad as one of your daily meals, you will fill your stomach with volume from the greens and healthy fats. Not only will that keep hunger away, but it will also provide the nutrients your body needs to reduce belly fat.
A daily salad is one of the 4 daily habits that make up my 0,1,2,3 strategy. I like to say that when you follow those four habits, your body has no choice but to lose weight.
Let’s round out the list with a low carb snack food and a couple of supplemental foods that help you lose belly fat.
One of my favorite low carb snacks is raw almonds. As it turns out, having them as a snack may help you lose abdominal fat. A research team fed 48 individuals with high cholesterol identical diets except for one daily snack.
Half of the participants ate 1.5 ounces (42.5 g) of unsalted, whole, natural almonds while the other half ate a banana muffin with butter. At the end of the study, the almond eaters showed a significant reduction in abdominal fat and leg fat compared to the muffin eaters (7).
If you are often on the go, raw almonds are an ideal snack because they are easy to carry with you and quick to consume. You’ll also find that the healthy fats and fiber that they provide suppress hunger, making it easy to make it to my next meal.
Organic Psyllium Husk
A great way to supplement your diet for better belly fat burning is to use organic psyllium husk.
In one study that lasted for six weeks, 47 healthy teenage boys were given either 6 grams per day of psyllium or a placebo. Those who took the psyllium supplement had a reduction in belly fat (8).
One reason that psyllium husk might effectively target belly fat is its soluble fiber content. I mentioned how increasing soluble fiber decreased belly fat when I discussed avocados. If you’re not a fan of avocados or you are just looking for a way to supplement your low carb diet with fiber, psyllium husk is a good choice.
When you consume soluble fiber, it mixes with water and digestive juices to form a gel-like substance inside of you. That will give you added weight loss benefits because it slows digestion, keeps you feeling full longer, and feeds the good bacteria of your gut.
Psyllium husk does not have a strong taste and dissolves easily in water, so you can drink it down before it gels or hide it in a recipe. I like to buy organic psyllium husk to avoid the pesticides and additives found in other commercial brands.
Medium Chain Triglycerides
Sticking with supplemental foods that help you avoid or lose belly fat, we have medium-chain triglycerides or MCTs. Your body handles these fats differently than other fats.
Because of their chemical structure, MCTs gets absorbed out of the gut and go directly into the liver where they are burned for energy, rather than moving into storage.
A study that compared medium-chain triglycerides to long-chain triglycerides found in olive oil showed that after 16 weeks, those who supplemented their diet with MCTs lost more body weight and fat mass than those taking olive oil (9).
A more comprehensive review study that compared MCTs to long-chain triglycerides like olive oil confirmed that MCTs are more powerful for reducing body weight and waist circumference (10).
You can get MCTs from coconut oil or MCT oil. You can add either oil to coffee. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature and remains stable when subjected to heat, making it good for cooking. Since MCT oil is a liquid, you can use it to make homemade salad dressing.
It’s no secret that low carb diets are effective for weight loss. With just a bit of planning, you can fine tune your diet to target belly fat. Start your day with MCT oil stirred into your coffee.
Top a lunchtime salad with hard-boiled egg, salmon, and avocado slices. Enjoy a handful of raw almonds in the afternoon and drink a cup of water with psyllium husk before dinner, and you’ve covered your bases. There is an art to putting together a well-formulated low carb diet.
If you want a place to start, I encourage you to download and learn the four daily habits of my 0,1,2,3 strategy. It comes with a free video series that is not available on YouTube.
Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!
(1) Loenneke, Jeremy P., et al. “Quality protein intake is inversely related with abdominal fat.” Nutrition & metabolism 9.1 (2012): 1-3.
(2) Rosenblum, Jennifer L., et al. “Calcium and vitamin D supplementation is associated with decreased abdominal visceral adipose tissue in overweight and obese adults.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 95.1 (2012): 101-108.
(3) Du, Shichun, et al. “Does fish oil have an anti-obesity effect in overweight/obese adults? A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” PLoS One 10.11 (2015): e0142652.
(4) Fulgoni, Victor L., Mark Dreher, and Adrienne J. Davenport. “Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001–2008.” Nutrition Journal 12.1 (2013): 1.
(5) Howarth, Nancy C., Edward Saltzman, and Susan B. Roberts. “Dietary fiber and weight regulation.” Nutrition reviews 59.5 (2001): 129-139.
(6) Hairston, Kristen G., et al. “Lifestyle factors and 5‐year abdominal fat accumulation in a minority cohort: the IRAS family study.” Obesity 20.2 (2012): 421-427.
(7) Berryman, Claire E., et al. “Effects of daily almond consumption on cardiometabolic risk and abdominal adiposity in healthy adults with elevated LDL‐cholesterol: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of the American Heart Association 4.1 (2015): e000993.
(8) de Bock, Martin, et al. “Psyllium supplementation in adolescents improves fat distribution & lipid profile: a randomized, participant-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover trial.” PLoS One 7.7 (2012): e41735.
(9) St-Onge, Marie-Pierre, and Aubrey Bosarge. “Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 87.3 (2008): 621-626.
(10) Mumme, Karen, and Welma Stonehouse. “Effects of medium-chain triglycerides on weight loss and body composition: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 115.2 (2015): 249-263.
About the Author
Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.