One of the best weapons against obesity is eating a healthy, balanced diet, yet when you are trying to improve your diet, it is easy to drown in a deluge of information. While there are general dietary rules that can help you to navigate this area, evidence shows that consuming specific items brings fat-burning benefits too. When taken in conjunction with other healthy dietary decisions, research suggests that dietary supplements can help to aid weight loss.
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One natural supplement touted for its ability to aid weight loss is garcinia cambogia supplements, extracts from the peel of garcinia cambogia.
Garcinia cambogia is a small, pumpkin-shaped, yellow or greenish exotic fruit.
The peel of the fruit contains high amounts of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), an active substance that has been shown to have some weight loss properties.
Numerous high-quality human studies have tested the weight loss effects of garcinia cambogia.
Most of the studies indicate that the supplement can cause a small amount of weight loss.
On average, garcinia cambogia has been shown to cause weight loss of about two pounds (0.88 kg) more than a placebo, over a period of two to 12 weeks.
Crucially, however, taking the supplement has also displayed some promise in reducing belly fat.
One study found it to be especially effective at reducing the accumulation of belly fat in people who are overweight.
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Why is this significant? Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, poses grave health risks because it is located near vital organs, such as the liver and intestines.
How does it aid weight loss?
Studies in rats show that those given garcinia cambogia supplements tend to eat less.
Similarly, some human studies have found that garcinia cambogia suppresses appetite and makes you feel full.
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Its mechanism isn’t fully known, but rat studies suggest that the active ingredient in garcinia cambogia can increase serotonin in the brain.
Since serotonin is a known appetite suppressant, higher blood levels of serotonin could reduce your appetite, notes research.
Other dietary tips to aid weight loss
Supplements are not miracle workers, of course, and to maximise weight loss, it is also important to shun certain food groups.
According to the NHS, the best way to achieve this is to swap unhealthy and high-energy food choices – such as fast food, processed food and sugary drinks (including alcohol) – for healthier choices.
A healthy diet should consist of:
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Plenty of potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy foods (ideally you should choose wholegrain varieties)
- Some milk and dairy foods
- Some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
- Just small amounts of food and drinks that are high in fat and sugar
As the NHS explains, try to avoid foods containing high levels of salt because they can raise your blood pressure, which can be dangerous for people who are already obese.
“You’ll also need to check calorie information for each type of food and drink you consume to make sure you don’t go over your daily limit,” notes the health body.
It adds: “Be careful when eating out because some foods can quickly take you over the limit, such as burgers, fried chicken, and some curries or Chinese dishes.”
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