There are a number of diets professing to provide the healthy secret to melting belly fat in men and women and turning a formerly large tummy into a flat belly. The purported healthy secret is MUFAs (monounsaturated fats). But, do they really help reduce belly fat accumulation or is there another dietary aspect that helps in the process?
Why Does Belly Fat Accumulate?
There are two reasons for this and it largely depends on sex and health. The first factor is that it has been known for years that when men gain weight, they usually start their accumulation in the belly. A previously flat belly will often get pudgy with age through no apparent change in a man’s diet. Women, on the other hand, usually accumulate weight around the lower abdomen, hips, thighs, and buttocks.
However, in both men and women, when insulin resistance or diabetes is a factor, there has been a documented prevalence of belly fat accumulation. A disproportionate accumulation in women can be a visual indication that diabetes is already a health concern or it may become one. Because a flat belly is so often seen as ideal, visually, for both men and women, many turn to purported "flat belly diets" to decrease belly fat accumulation.
Will MUFAs Create a Flat Belly?
The answer to this question is somewhat tricky. There is very little research on MUFAs (monounsaturated fats) and belly fat specifically. However, there is research available on MUFAs and diabetes. A study done in 1998 concluded that MUFAs may help those who are obese, diabetic, or both in maintaining and losing weight. However, there was nothing said about them helping reduce the amount of belly fat, specifically.
Another study, published in 2009, reported that MUFAs didn't seem to affect weight loss or weight gain at all. It seems that the key to a flat belly doesn't have a whole lot to do with the type of dietary fat a person eats.
What Melts Belly Fat if it's Not MUFAs?
It looks like the key to a flat belly, whether eating MUFAs (monounsaturated fats) or not, is a healthy diet paired with exercise that is designed to flatten the belly. If these steps are followed and that flabby belly doesn't turn into a flat belly, then it may be a good idea to make an appointment to be tested for diabetes or insulin resistance.
Because it has been determined that both of these conditions can cause weight to distribute disproportionately to the belly area and because MUFAs have been shown to have a healthy effect in people who have either of them, it could be that MUFAs melt belly fat in people that have either condition or are starting to develop them.
Following a healthy eating plan that is high in protein, has moderate fat contents, and has moderate carbohydrate contents are the key factors in most belly fat loss diets. Simple carbohydrates are notorious for adding body fat all over, and when a person has a medical factor in play such as diabetes or insulin resistance, it can appear to be impossible to lose any weight at all, let alone belly fat.
The bottom line is that a diet that is moderate to high in MUFA content that also has fewer simple carbohydrates and incorporates a good amount of protein combined with the right type of stomach toning exercises will create a flat belly just as well as a diet with moderate to high saturated fats or polyunsaturated fats in most healthy people.Last Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012