7 secrets to instant abs

Equip yourself with latest research to uncover the cutting-edge science in the arenas of weight-loss


Umnia Shahid April 05, 2016
Photo: families.com

Developing abs “instantly” sounds a bit ridiculous, right? But fact is, most of us who are aiming for a flat washboard belly, are failing because we’re making slip-ups that can be solved, literally, in an instant. No joke! As compiled from eatthis.com, equip yourself with the latest research to uncover the cutting-edge science in the arenas of weight-loss, exercise and of course, abs.

Choose beef over chicken breast

That sounds nonsensical right? Trust me, it’s not! Chicken breasts have been the go-to protein source of dieters and gym rats alike for generations. But let’s face it — today’s murghi, regardless of whether you’re in Karachi or abroad, isn’t the same as the bird that got athletes ripped. The average chicken breast contains only 63 per cent as much protein — and 223 per cent as much fat — as the chicken our parents ate 40 years ago, thanks to the way chickens are raised. Beef, on the other hand, contains conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that’s been linked to fat loss and muscle gain.

5 unusual health tips that will help burn fat

Throw some cheese on it

Cheese enthusiasts, rejoice! If you’ve been working out and depriving yourself of the cheesier side of things, to no avail, worry not and add cheese to your diet ASAP! But, just make sure it’s real, full-fat cheese. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at nearly 27,000 people and found that the more high-fat dairy products they ate, the lower their risk of diabetes. Those who ate a lot of low-fat dairy products had the highest incidence. Danish scientists found that when men ate a whopping 10 daily 1-ounce servings of full-fat cheese for three weeks, their LDL (bad) cholesterol didn’t upsurge and they ended up losing belly fat.

Skip breakfast

Another tip that’s sure to get a lot of eyebrow raises! But if you’re serious about abs, the best thing you can do might be to skip breakfast and try breaking a sweat instead. The idea is that when you’re fasting, the body burns fat instead of spending time processing food. In the most popular version of the practice, participants fast between 8pm and noon the next day to get ripped midsections. Extending the night time fast until lunch keeps the fat-burning going. Research suggests that intermittent fasting increases weight loss from the belly and provides other benefits for the body. According to The FASEB Journal, scientists reviewed studies on overweight participants who practiced intermittent fasting at least one day a week. On average, they lost 2.6 per cent of their body weight after one month, 6.4 per cent after three months and 8.4 percent after six months.

Eat starch for lunch

Another shocker, but one that’s been proven by science! While starch may be super high in calories, it’s also a sure-fire, proven way to burn away your belly. A study in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism found that adding resistant starch — foods such as potatoes, brown rice, bananas and whole-grain pasta — to a meal promotes fat oxidation (that’s “fat burning” in English!). Another study found that people who ate a cup of beans a day weighed an average of 6.6 pounds less than those who didn’t, even though the bean eaters ate an average of 199 more calories each day.

Pop an omega-3

You may think of omega-3 pills as something for people worried about heart disease. But in fact, these squishy capsules may be the most important supplement you can take for your abs. A recent review in the journal Nutrients found that omega-3s can both enhance fat-burning and decrease hunger levels, while a report in Nutrition in Clinical Practice found that at sufficiently high intake, omega-3s improve our ability to metabolise fat by altering the way certain “fat genes” function. Now, you can’t ever blame your genes for your protruding tummy again!

Strap on your sneakers

Researchers at the University of South Australia placed 75 overweight people on one of four regimens: omega-3 supplements with or without exercise, and omega-6 supplements with or without exercise. Over 12 weeks, the group that combined omega-3s with exercise experienced dramatic weight loss; none of the other three groups did. So if you’re serious about scoring a six-pack, make sure to log in some gym time — but weight training alone won’t cut it. Make sure to include cardio if you want to see that enviable definition.

Replace your ‘healthy’ vegetable oil

Did you know that the main culprit in your diet is, what’s commonly referred to as “vegetable oil.” Sounds healthy, doesn’t it? Trust me, it’s anything but healthy. Turns out, vegetable oil doesn’t come from what we think of as vegetables, it comes from soybeans. What scientists have recently discovered is that omega-6 fatty acids seem to change the way our hunger hormones work, increasing ghrelin (the hormone that triggers hunger) and reducing leptin (the hormone that keeps you satiated). For a better, more ab-friendly option, make olive oil and coconut oil, your go-to fat sources while cooking.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th,  2016.

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