I have some good news for you. Belly fat - at least the deep visceral fat that pushes our belly outward, creates a pronounced apple-shaped body, and affects nearly every part of our health, from blood pressure to blood sugar levels - is fairly easy to lose. I'm not just saying that in some "lose weight quick" gimmicky way! The truth is your body doesn't benefit by hanging on to visceral belly fat and is more than happy to move it off your body when you eat the right foods.
Which Foods Are The Best For Apple-Shaped Bodies?
Food is so much more than calories or units of energy. Food influences our energy levels, how we sleep, how we think, what our skin looks like, and where we store fat.
The reason you have belly fat is likely a combination of reasons. It's true there could be a genetic component, but the types of foods you're eating influence belly fat so much more than most people realize.
The primary target foods influence is hormones - the chemical messengers that help us gain weight, lose weight, get stronger, lose muscle, etc. You get the point. I talk more about the hormones affecting your body down below.
The most important thing a person with an apple-shaped body and too much belly fat should do is:
1 - Do an honest evaluation of your diet
- Are you eating foods most days of the week that are too high in sugar (more than 12 grams per serving)?
- Have you followed an extreme diet (such as keto for weight loss), or have you chronically dieted in the past?
- Do you eat ever eat too much before bedtime (2 hours or less before bed)?
- Do you eat fast food two times or more a week?
- Do you drink juices, sodas (including diet) once or more times a day?
- Do you frequently overeat?
If you answered YES to any of these, great news! You definitely have room for improvement. Follow the guidelines in this download and start eating more of the foods listed.
2 - Start paying attention to the amount and types of protein, carbohydrates, and fats you eat
- An apple-shaped meal should typically consist of 35 - 40% carbohydrates, 30 - 35% protein, and 20 - 25% fat.
- The key is eating foods,
- It's equally important to avoid the foods that work against you. I'll explain more on that.
3 - Eat The Best Carbohydrates for Belly Fat
- APPLES, ESPECIALLY GREEN
- BERRIES (FRESH/FROZEN)
- SWEET POTATOES
- BRUSSELS SPROUTS
- SQUASH (ALL TYPES)
- ALL LEAFY GREENS
- OLD FASHIONED OATS
- All BEANS (EXCEPT FOR BAKED BEANS)
- ALL LENTILS
- LONG GRAIN RICE
- SPROUTED GRAIN BREAD
- AIR-POPPED POPCORN
4 - Eat The Best Protein for Belly Fat
- ALL RAW OR LIGHTLY SALTED SEEDS
- ALL RAW OR UNSALTED NUTS
- TAHINI (SESAME PASTE)
- LEAN RED MEATS
- WHITE FISH
- WILD CAUGHT FATTY FISH
- COTTAGE CHEESE
- UNSWEETENED YOGURT
5 - Eat The Best Fat for Belly Fat
- AVOCADO OIL
- OLIVE OIL
- FLAXSEED OIL
- COCONUT OIL
- GROUND FLAXSEEDS
- CANNED COCONUT MILK
- NUT BUTTERS (UNSWEETENED)
- DARK CHOCOLATE (70% +)
Hormones & Belly Fat
To understand which foods are the best for an apple body shape, you have to understand the hormones responsible for packing the belly fat on in the first place. A person usually gains belly fat gradually over time by eating the wrong foods, drinking their calories, not moving much, and mismanaging stress. For now, let's focus on the foods that make your hormones scream "store fat here!"
Insulin + Blood Sugar Levels
Hungry much? If you're constantly struggling with hunger, wake up with a rumbly belly in the morning or feel like taking a nap after you eat lunch, chances are what you're eating could be throwing your insulin off, and therefore messing with your blood sugar levels.
Think of insulin as an anchor. Every time we eat or drink, our blood sugar levels begin to rise. This is where insulin comes in to pull this hormone back down. If we eat foods with a lot of sugar, or if we eat a lot of food in one sitting, blood sugar levels shoot up like a balloon ready to leave the atmosphere. Insulin has a good handle on how high blood sugar levels could go and sends in the reinforcements to anchor those levels back down. The more sugar that floods our blood the more insulin gets released. Make sense?
The problem is, as we eat more and more foods that trigger a greater-than-normal amount of insulin, our body perceives a threat. It's just the way we're wired. It's called a fight or flight response. This, combined with too much insulin release, tells our body to store fat.
The reason fat gets stored through our belly area is that that's where our precious vital organs are (heart, lungs, pancreas, kidneys, etc). Our body thinks it's doing us a favor by layering our body with some extra fat to protect us. This is how insulin earns it's reputation as a fat-storage hormone.
If you think your blood sugar levels and insulin levels are off, it's worth modifying your diet. Insulin can get tired or fatigued after it's been called to action too frequently. That's the nice way of saying you'll develop diabetes is you don't take action.
Have you ever heard that emotional stress can be hard on your body? It's very true. Chronic stress takes a toll on our bodies in many ways, oftentimes triggered by elevated stress-induced cortisol levels.
Even without eating crappy foods, prolonged elevated cortisol sends our bodies into fight or flight - the same type we experience if we shoot our blood sugar levels up too high too often. If we experience high amounts of stress occasionally, our bodies can handle it. But if we experience high amounts of stress on a regular basis (otherwise known as chronic stress), then cortisol starts sending signals to our bodies to store fat throughout the belly area.
Losing unhealthy belly fat won't happen overnight, but as I mentioned earlier, it does happen relatively quickly.
Stay consistent with your diet. Eat healthy foods. Don't diet or count calories. Rather focus on the foods that are going to turn your body's metabolism on and balance your hormones.