Among dieters all over the world, the most popular goal is to lose belly fat. Aside from the face, the abdominal area is one of the most obvious signs of weight gain and is often the biggest aesthetic concern. When it comes to fitting clothes, the belly area is also one of the biggest issues. This is why “how to lose belly fat” is one of the most popular queries at fitness centers and one of the top searches on Google.

While there is no single way to trim belly fat (and get rid of it for good), there are several scientific ways that show it can be done and the weight loss sustained. Here are 15 evidence-backed ways to get rid of belly fat.

1. Increase your fiber consumption

Seattle-based dietician and nutritionist Ginger Hultin, MS, CSO said that the goal is to consume at least 25 grams of fiber each day, as this can help relieve belly bloat and promote regular bowel movement. Soluble fibers are preferred because they easily dissolve in water and stomach fluids. These include veggies, citrus fruits, bran, beans, lentils and barley. 

2. Go for protein

The body’s protein needs depend on your level of activity and weight, though getting the required daily amount of protein will help you feel full for longer, which means you will eat less. Registered dietician and ACSM-certified trainer Jim White said that the standard is to consume about 0.8 grams of protein per kilo of your body weight. Protein shakes that contain chia seeds, flaxmeal, avocado or beans are great options. 

3. Avoid foods that have trans fats

Trans fats are the result of hydrogen mixing with unsaturated fats and consumption has been proven to result in abdominal fat gain, insulin resistance, and heart ailments. Watch out for these and so-called partially hydrogenated fats in the ingredients. 

4. Lay low on the alcohol

Cutting back on your alcohol intake can help make your waist smaller. Consume it moderately or abstain from it completely.

5. Reduce stress

High levels of cortisol, the hormone the body releases when you are stressed, has been liked to increased storage of glucose as fat in the belly area. If you’re prone to stress eating, weight gain and tummy bloating will follow.

6. Boost your cardio workouts

Aerobic exercises are a great way to burn calories and improve overall health. More than intensity, experts say the duration and frequency of cardio workouts are more important in helping lose belly fat.

7. Combat the sugar cravings

Fructose in sugar is what is linked to several chronic diseases, including obesity and type 2 diabetes.

8. Cut back on refined carbohydrates

Studies show that diets with less than 50 grams of carbs per day contributes to fat loss in the belly area. Health experts suggest whole grains over white breads. 

9. Lift more weights

Resistance or strength training is key to gaining muscle mass and keeping it. Research has shown that a combination of such exercises and cardio activities can lead to a drop in visceral fat, which is in abundance at the abdominal area. Be sure to seek advice from a fitness expert before you start lifting.

10. Consume probiotic-rich foods or probiotic supplements

Probiotics have plenty of health benefits, including boosting immune function and gut health. Different types of bacteria play a role in metabolism and weight management and probiotics from the Lactobacillus family have shown to be the most helpful to those who are working towards belly fat loss.