By, Dr Mark Hyman: Many hormones contribute to belly fat, but the most powerful is insulin: Elevated insulin levels signal your body to store belly fat. Eventually your cells become insulin resistant, and your body starts to hold on to that spare tire for dear life.
So in order to trim belly fat, you need to produce less insulin. And the number one way to do that? Reduce your sugar intake.
By dramatically reducing sugar intake and applying these five strategies, you can normalize insulin, eliminate stubborn belly fat and promote optimal health:
1. Eat real food.
Nutrient-rich foods—the kind nature produces, not a big factory—keep you satisfied. And as a result, you’ll eat less.
Aim for lots of green vegetables, and include protein in every meal since it keeps us fuller longer.
Getting adequate vitamins and minerals will also help your body burn calories more efficiently, regulate appetite, lower inflammation, boost detoxification, aid digestion, regulate stress hormones, and make your cells more insulin sensitive.
2. Manage stress.
Chronic stress causes your brain to shrink—and your belly to grow.
In fact, chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol can lead to increased blood sugar, cholesterol, depression and dementia. And high cortisol levels also contribute to the stubborn belly fat in people with insulin resistance or Type 2 diabetes who crave sugar and carbs.
3. Get eight hours of deep sleep.
Lack of sleep actually drives sugar and carb cravings by affecting your appetite hormones. In other words, when you haven’t had sufficient sleep, those cookies your coworker brought in become impossible to ignore.
Author: Mark Hyman, MD, believes that we all deserve a life of vitality—and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why he is dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease by harnessing the power of Functional Medicine to transform healthcare. He is a practicing family physician, a nine-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and advocate in his field. He is the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. He is also the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, a medical editor of The Huffington Post, and has been a regular medical contributor on many television shows including CBS This Morning, the Today Show, CNN, The View, the Katie Couric show and The Dr. Oz Show.
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