Having a flat stomach will not only make you look better but it also is vital for your overall health. Many diets tout the benefits of raising your intake of protein and fiber to banish belly fat. There are pros and cons when it comes to increasing fiber and protein consumption. Before beginning any new diet, discuss your plans with your doctor.
Full of Fiber
Soluble fiber is the key to fighting visceral fat, the dangerous type of body fat that surrounds your internal organs. Eating 10 grams of soluble fiber a day reduced visceral stomach fat by 3.7 percent over a five-year period, according to a study by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center published in 2011 in the journal "Obesity." Soluble fiber helps you eat less by making you feel fuller. Excellent sources of soluble fiber include oranges, black beans and sweet potatoes.
Insoluble fiber helps you feel slimmer by encouraging efficient elimination. Insoluble fiber is abundant in lentils, raspberries and wheat bran. Include roughly equal amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet daily.
Consuming lean protein builds muscles, speeds up your metabolism and satiates your appetite. There are three types of proteins: complete (meat, fish, dairy and eggs) incomplete (nuts, seeds, grains) and complementary (two or more incomplete proteins, such as beans and rice, consumed together to make a complete protein).
Start with a breakfast high in protein, such as eggs or yogurt, to give your metabolism a boost that will continue all day long. Include a protein source with every meal, and enjoy protein-rich snacks such as nuts and seeds in moderation.
In order to reap the greatest benefits from fiber and protein in your diet, aim for a healthy balance. Most people should be consuming 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day (with at least 10 grams being soluble fiber), though recommended amounts vary with age and caloric intake. A cup of raspberries contains 3.3 grams of total fiber, while a cup of barley contains 6 grams.
Protein should make up about 15 percent of your daily calories or an average of 46 to 56 grams per day, depending upon your age and gender. A cup of beans contains 16 grams of protein, while a cup of milk contains 8 grams.
Don't Overdo It
As with most things in life, moderation is key. Too much fiber causes digestive upset. Too much protein stresses your body, causing it to create toxins called ketones, which can result in dehydration and kidney damage. Slowly increase your fiber and protein intake while maintaining healthy fats in your diet. To keep things fresh, alternate your fiber and protein intake by having eggs for breakfast one day and oatmeal the next. Mix it up for lunch and dinner, too, for more variety. This gives you the best chance at developing a flat and healthy stomach.