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VERIFIED CONTENTAuthor: Dominika Wilk

A flat stomach is not only the result of a well-conducted reduction diet. It is also the effect of properly selected food and regulating the level of hormones or stabilizing insulin metabolism. Check how you can influence the shape of your belly with the help of diet.

Factors promoting increased abdominal volume

Not only overweight people complain of excessive belly fat or too large its circumference. Thin people also struggle with this. In the latter, the cause of abdominal enlargement may be bloating caused by the consumption of easily fermentable foods or eating too often (without maintaining the appropriate time intervals that allow the MMC complex to be activated to clean the intestines of food residues). Also, people who have an excessive growth of the bacterial flora in the small intestine, the so-called SIBO, intestinal diseases, or simple intestinal dysbiosis, may have problems with maintaining a sufficiently flat stomach.

There are also people who, despite a general weight loss, maintain excessive belly fat. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but the most common is insulin resistance, which causes fatty tissue to accumulate in unusual places: the nape of the neck, arms, and abdomen. These people can, therefore, exercise the popular "crunches" until their fall, but the fatty tissue will not disappear from their abdominal regions until they bring about an equilibrium of insulin metabolism and introduce an appropriate diet.

Excessively bloated abdomen can also be the result of hormonal changes - women experience it most often before menstruation; as well as excessive water retention, which is also related to changes in hormones and inadequate diet.

For example, eating too much s alt-containing products: smoked meats, canned fish, crisps, s alty sticks, may contribute to an increase in the volume of certain parts of the body, including the abdomen.

Diet for a flat stomach - SIBO, intestinal dysbiosis

A convex belly is the biggest problem for people struggling with SIBO. Products that do not harm a he althy person on a daily basis, e.g. apples, avocados, can cause unpleasant consequences, e.g. increase gas production, andthereby increasing the abdominal volume.

For this reason, in people diagnosed with SIBO, it is necessary to introduce an appropriate diet and eliminate products that ferment easily and may contribute to the overproduction of gases. The most popular and relieving diet in this case is the Low FODMAP Diet (limiting fermenting oligo-, di-, monosaccharides and polyols).

It eliminates, among others :

  • Oligosaccharides (most often fructans and galactans) present in onions, garlic, legumes or wheat.
  • Disaccharides such as lactose, present in dairy products.
  • Monosaccharides, e.g. fructose found in fruits, honey, juices.
  • Polysaccharides such as inulin.
  • Polyols, such as sorbitol, mannitol, very often present in chewing gums, supplements and medications.

The diet itself is not everything. Before it, in the case of SIBO, excess bacteria should be removed from the small intestine. For this purpose, special antibiotics are administered, e.g. xifaxan, or a herbal treatment based on e.g. oregano oil, pau darco, etc. is performed. Only after such eradication, you can start implementing the Low FODMAP Diet, which is divided into stages: the elimination and reintroduction stage.

In the case of common intestinal dysbiosis caused, for example, by overuse of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, PPIs, the matter is a bit simpler. The diet consists in limiting sugars and other pro-inflammatory products, e.g. trans fats and introducing appropriately selected probiotic therapy. It also requires sealing the intestinal barrier, e.g. by supplementing butyric acid.

Diet for a flat stomach - insulin resistance

Insulin resistance is a condition in which tissues become resistant to insulin and refuse to take in glucose from it. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the cells of the pancreas. It appears after a meal with carbohydrates and makes it easier to digest.

The human body needs glucose to function properly. It is necessary, among others for the work of the brain or the activity of red blood cells. From it we draw energy for everyday activities, for moving, thinking, etc. However, when there is too much glucose in the blood, it can even become a threat to he alth and life. In a he althy person, excess glucose is packed into muscles or liver and stored there in the form of glycogen.

When we lack energy, for example, because we run for a long time, glycogen is released from these places and transformed again into glucose. Also in times of hunger, the body will first draw energy from its stores.

Whenhowever, we have a sedentary job and no physical activity, we do not violate our stocks, and at the same time we eat all the time, there is a surplus of glucose in the body. The aforementioned insulin is responsible for its distribution around the body. However, if insulin bursts occur constantly, because we constantly eat a bar, fruit, crisps, then the muscle tissues become insensitive to insulin and do not want to take glucose from it.

Then she has to find another place where the glucose will be absorbed. Usually, the choice falls on adipose tissue, including, among others, on the nape or stomach. This is why people with insulin resistance often have an abdominal lining resistant to weight loss, which is difficult for them to shed even on a restrictive diet. The only way to get rid of it is through a diet that inhibits insulin release and normalizes glycemia, and introducing physical activity.

The insulin resistance diet is based on suppressing insulin bursts by consuming foods with a low glycemic index (GI). It is also based on such a composition of products in a dish in which products with a high GI will be balanced by ingredients rich in fat, protein or fiber that inhibit insulin release.

An example would be a cocktail with the addition of a banana. The banana itself would cause a quick insulin burst, but mixed with yogurt, with the addition of, for example, psyllium plantain and a bit of walnuts, it will be a meal that will prevent a sudden spike in glucose.

An insulin resistance diet is also a ketogenic diet. It is based on the reduction of carbohydrates to 40-50%, which makes the insulin metabolism more stable.

However, it is difficult to withstand such a diet for a long time, so you need to be careful about this type of diet and consider whether it can become our everyday eating style. It should be remembered that carbohydrates are not only bread, cookies or groats.

It is also fruit and vegetables, the amount of which is significantly reduced on such a diet. If someone is already opting for a protein-based, fat-based diet with little carbohydrate intake, see a dietitian. You can also try to create such a diet based on special phone applications that will calculate the amount of carbohydrates in a given product.

Diet for a flat stomach - hormonal disorders

The menstrual cycle has its own rules. Estrogen prevails in the follicular phase of the cycle, followed by progesterone after ovulation.

The latter affects the retention of water in the body as well as promotes constipation, which can increase the circumference of the abdomen. Some women may already have problems with abdominal enlargement in the processovulation.

Then they feel that their pants suddenly become tighter, and their skirts emphasize the protruding belly. Fortunately, this symptom passes after a few days and usually affects a small percentage of women.

Another percent of women will experience water retention in the second phase of the cycle when progesterone is dominant. The body will then be heavier and the clothes tighter. In addition, the hormonal tendency to retain water in the body will be fostered by an improper diet, which women tend to just before menstruation.

Then you want to eat something unhe althy, e.g. s alty sticks, chips or cookies. They contain a lot of sodium, which promotes water retention.

The solution to this type of "ailments" is a change in the diet in the second phase of the cycle, especially before menstruation, and reaching for nettle tea or birch leaves, which draws excess water from the body. Supplementation with borage oil, which has dehydrating properties, can also help.

Diet for a flat stomach - excessive water retention

Water retention in the body may take place throughout the body or in selected parts of it, so it will also be visible sometimes around the abdomen. One of the reasons for this is insufficient water consumption.

When the body does not receive the right amount of fluid, it tries to keep as much fluid as possible. Therefore, it increases the level of aldosterone - a hormone responsible for water retention, and this results in an increase in the body circumference.

Another cause of swelling is a poor diet with high amounts of s alt. And it is not about the s alt that we season the dishes. The sodium contained in s alt is hidden everywhere: in cold cuts, bread, canned goods, cookies. By eating all these products together, we provide ourselves with a lot of this element, which in turn leads to water retention in the body. If we notice that we swell after consuming these types of products, let them put them aside and look for substitutes with less sodium.

Water retention is also the result of excessive stress. It is not about a one-off, stressful situation, but about chronic stress that causes a constant release of cortisol (the stress hormone). It causes that the level of the said aldosterone increases, as a result of which our body stores water.

A diet for a flat stomach, in case of a tendency to retain water, should limit eating with large amounts of sodium, have a positive effect on the nervous system (diet rich in omega 3 and 6 acids, nuts, fish), as well as ensure an adequate daily supply of water - 1.5 to 2 liters per day (for people who train or for womenlactating women, these amounts can be much higher.)

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