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The Truth About Belly Fat
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Surprise: Everyone has some belly fat, even people who have flat abs.
That's normal. But too much belly fat can affect your health in a way that other fat doesn't.
Some of your fat is right under your skin. Other fat is deeper inside, around your heart, lungs, liver, and other organs.
It's that deeper fat -- called "visceral" fat -- that may be the bigger problem, even for thin people.
Deep Belly Fat
You need some visceral fat. It provides cushioning around your organs.
But if you have too much of it, you may be more likely to get high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, and certain cancers, including breast cancer and colon cancer.
The fat doesn't just sit there. It's an active part of your body, making "lots of nasty substances," says Kristen Hairston, MD, assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
If you gain too much weight, your body starts to store your fat in unusual places.
With increasing obesity, you have people whose regular areas to store fat are so full that the fat is deposited into the organs and around the heart, says Carol Shively, PhD, professor of pathology-comparative medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine.
How Much Belly Fat Do You Have?
The most precise way to determine how much visceral fat you have is to get a CT scan or MRI. But there's a much simpler, low-cost way to check.
Get a measuring tape, wrap it around your waist at your belly button, and check your girth. Do it while you're standing up, and make sure the tape measure is level.
For your health's sake, you want your waist size to be less than 35 inches if you're a woman and less than 40 inches if you're a man.
Having a "pear shape" -- bigger hips and thighs -- is considered safer than an "apple shape," which describes a wider waistline.
“What we’re really pointing to with the apple versus pear,” Hairston says, "is that, if you have more abdominal fat, it’s probably an indicator that you have more visceral fat."
Thin People Have It, Too
Even if you're thin, you can still have too much visceral fat.
How much you have is partly about your genes, and partly about your lifestyle, especially how active you are.
Visceral fat likes inactivity. In one study, thin people who watched their diets but didn't exercise were more likely to have too much visceral fat.
The key is to be active, no matter what size you are.
4 Steps for Beating Belly Fat
There are four keys to controlling belly fat: exercise, diet, sleep, and stress management.
1. Exercise: Vigorous exercise trims all your fat, including visceral fat.
Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days a week. Walking counts, as long as it's brisk enough that you work up a sweat and breathe harder, with your heart rate faster than usual.
To get the same results in half the time, step up your pace and get vigorous exercise -- like jogging or walking. You'd need to do that for 20 minutes a day, 4 days a week.
Jog, if you're already fit, or walk briskly at an incline on a treadmill if you're not ready for jogging. Vigorous workouts on stationary bikes and elliptical or rowing machines are also effective, says Duke researcher Cris Slentz, PhD.
Moderate activity -- raising your heart rate for 30 minutes at least three times per week -- also helps.
Sigh of relief:– High levels of Garcinia ingredients in the blood stream tend to stabilize blood sugar level thus protecting you from abdominal fat gain.
It slows down how much visceral fat you gain. But to torch visceral fat, your workouts may need to be stepped up.
“Rake leaves, walk, garden, go to Zumba, play soccer with your kids. It doesn’t have to be in the gym,” Hairston says.
If you are not active now, it's a good idea to check with your health care provider before starting a new fitness program.
2. Diet: There is no magic diet for belly fat. But when you lose weight on any diet, belly fat usually goes first.
Getting enough fiber can help. Hairston’s research shows that people who eat 10 grams of soluble fiber per day -- without any other diet changes -- build up less visceral fat over time than others. That’s as simple as eating two small apples, a cup of green peas, or a half-cup of pinto beans.
“Even if you kept everything else the same but switched to a higher-fiber bread, you might be able to better maintain your weight over time,” Hairston says.
3. Sleep: Getting the right amount of shut-eye helps. In one study, people who got 6 to 7 hours of sleep per night gained less visceral fat over 5 years compared to those who slept 5 or fewer hours per night or 8 or more hours per night. Sleep may not have been the only thing that mattered -- but it was part of the picture.
4. Stress: Everyone has stress. How you handle it matters. The best things you can do include relaxing with friends and family, meditating, exercising to blow off steam, and getting counseling. That leaves you healthier and better prepared to make good choices for yourself.
“If you could only afford the time to do one of these things," Shively says, "exercise probably has the most immediate benefits, because it gets at both obesity and stress.”
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Assessing your weight and health risk.”
Mayo Clinic Women’s Health Source, June 2011.
Dedert, E. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 2004.
Hairston, K. Obesity, published online June 16, 2011.
Hairston, K. Sleep, March 2010.
Heinrichs, M. Biological Psychiatry, Dec. 15, 2003.
Kilpeläinen, T. Nature Genetics, published online June 26, 2011.
Lewis, T. American Journal of Epidemiology, June 1, 2011.
Noble, R. Western Journal of Medicine, April 2001.
Slentz, C. American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism, published online Aug. 16, 2011.
Carol Shively, PhD, professor of pathology-comparative medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.
Kristen Hairston, MD, MPH, assistant professor of endocrinology and metabolism, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.
Tuomas Kilpeläinen, PhD, assistant professor, The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Copenhagen University; former epidemiologist, Institute of Metabolic Science, Medical Research Council, Cambridge, U.K.
Cris Slentz, PhD, assistant professor of medicine, Duke University, Durham, NC.
How Garcinia Cambogia Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat
Garcinia cambogia is a popular weight loss supplement.
It is derived from a fruit of the same name, also called Garcinia gummi-gutta or Malabar tamarind.
The peel of the fruit contains high amounts of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is the active ingredient believed to be responsible for most of the weight loss benefits ( 1).
This article is a detailed review of garcinia cambogia and whether it is something you should take in order to lose weight.
Garcinia gummi-gutta is a small, pumpkin-shaped, yellow or greenish fruit.
The fruit is so sour that it is generally not eaten fresh, but rather used for its sour flavor in cooking ( 2).
Garcinia cambogia supplements are made from extracts of the fruit's peel.
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 ( 3, 4, 5).
The supplements generally contain 20–60% HCA.
Most (not all) of these trial offers will have a terms and condition page that look something like this: Even worse, most of these companies that are involved in this shady marketing tactic on Garcinia Cambogia free trials offers often make it next to impossible to cancel.
Healers would often use Garcinia Cambogia to aid digestion and create various remedies to assist in digestion tract issues.
Nevertheless, studies show that those with 50–60% HCA may provide the most benefit ( 2).
Bottom Line: Garcinia cambogia supplements are made from extracts of the peel of the Garcinia gummi-gutta fruit. They contain high amounts of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which has been linked with weight loss benefits.
Many high-quality human studies have tested the weight loss effects of garcinia cambogia.
What's more, most of them show that the supplement can cause a small amount of weight loss ( 3, 6).
This graph summarizes the weight loss results from nine studies on garcinia cambogia ( 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14):
The blue bars show the results from the supplement groups, while the orange bars show the results of placebo groups.
On average, garcinia cambogia has been shown to cause weight loss of about 2 pounds (0.88 kg) more than a placebo, over a period of 2–12 weeks ( 3, 15).
That said, several studies have not found any weight loss advantage ( 9, 11, 16).
For example, the largest individual study, which tested 135 participants over 12 weeks, did not find any difference in weight loss between the group that took garcinia cambogia and the group that took the placebo ( 9).
As you can see, the evidence is mixed. Garcinia cambogia supplements can produce modest weight loss in some people, but their effectiveness cannot be guaranteed.
Bottom Line: Some studies have found that garcinia cambogia causes modest weight loss, while other studies report no noticeable effects.
There are two main ways garcinia cambogia is thought to help with weight loss.
1. It May Reduce Your Appetite
Studies in rats have shown that those given garcinia cambogia supplements tend to eat less ( 17, 18).
Similarly, some human studies have shown that garcinia cambogia is able to suppress appetite and make you feel full ( 5, 13, 14, 19, 20).
How it reduces appetite isn't fully known, but rat studies have suggested that the active ingredient in garcinia cambogia can increase serotonin in the brain ( 5, 21).
Theoretically speaking, since serotonin is a known appetite suppressant, higher blood levels of serotonin could reduce your appetite ( 22).
However, these results need to be taken with a grain of salt. Other studies have found no difference in appetite between groups taking this supplement and those taking a placebo ( 10, 11, 12, 23).
It may be that these effects depend on the individual.
Bottom Line: Some studies suggest that garcinia cambogia can suppress appetite by inhibiting serotonin uptake in the brain, while other studies have found no effects on appetite or hunger.
2. It May Block Fat Production and Reduce Belly Fat
The most important activity of garcinia cambogia is probably its effects on blood fats and the production of new fatty acids.
Studies in humans and animals have shown it may lower high levels of fat in the blood and reduce oxidative stress in the body ( 24, 25, 26, 27, 28).
One study also suggests it may be especially effective at reducing the accumulation of belly fat in overweight people ( 8).
Another study gave moderately obese individuals 2,800 mg of garcinia cambogia daily for eight weeks ( 14).
By the end of the study, the group had drastically reduced several risk factors for disease:
The main reason for these effects is thought to be that garcinia cambogia inhibits an enzyme called citrate lyase, which plays an important role in the production of fat ( 2, 29, 30, 31, 32).
By inhibiting citrate lyase, garcinia cambogia is thought to slow down or block fat production in the body.
Others work better and provide multiple effects but may be priced a little higher than regular weight loss pills.
This may reduce blood fats and lower the risk of weight gain, two major disease risk factors ( 33).
Bottom Line: Garcinia cambogia blocks the production of new fats in the body, and has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and blood triglycerides in overweight people.
Animal and test-tube studies suggest that garcinia cambogia may also have some anti-diabetic effects, including ( 2, 14, 34):
- Decreasing insulin levels
- Decreasing leptin levels
- Reducing inflammation
- Improving blood sugar control
- Increasing insulin sensitivity
Garcinia cambogia may also have benefits for the digestive system. Animal studies have suggested it helps protect against stomach ulcers and reduce damage to the inner lining of the digestive tract ( 35, 36).
However, these effects need to be studied further before firm conclusions can be drawn.
Bottom Line: Garcinia cambogia may have some anti-diabetic effects and may also help protect against stomach ulcers and damage to the digestive tract.
Most studies have concluded that garcinia cambogia is safe for healthy people in the recommended dosages, or up to 2,800 mg of HCA per day ( 37, 38, 39, 40).
That said, supplements are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
That means there's no guarantee that the actual content of HCA in your supplements will match the HCA content on the label.
Therefore, make sure to buy from a reputable manufacturer.
People have also reported some side effects of using garcinia cambogia. The most common ones are ( 3, 9):
However, some studies have indicated more serious side effects.
Animal studies have shown that a very high intake of garcinia cambogia can cause testicular atrophy — shrinking of the testicles. Studies in rats have shown it may also affect sperm production ( 38, 41, 42).
Additionally, there is one report of a woman who developed serotonin toxicity as a result of taking garcinia cambogia with her anti-depressant medications ( 43).
If you have a medical condition or are taking any medications, consult your doctor before you start taking the supplement.
Bottom Line: Some people experience digestive symptoms, headaches and skin rashes when taking garcinia cambogia. Animal studies suggest that a very high intake may cause toxicity.
Many health food stores and pharmacies offer several varieties of garcinia cambogia.
Choose one from a reputable manufacturer that contains 50–60% hydroxycitric acid (HCA).
Recommended dosages can vary between brands. Generally, it is recommended to take 500 mg, three times per day, 30–60 minutes before meals.
It is always best to follow the dosage instructions on the label.
Studies have only tested these supplements for up to 12 weeks at a time. Therefore, it may be a good idea to take a few weeks off every three months or so.
Bottom Line: Look for a supplement that contains 50–60% HCA and is made by a reputable manufacturer. Follow the dosage instructions on the label.
Existing studies don't agree on the effectiveness of garcinia cambogia for weight loss.
Some studies show it may cause slightly more weight loss than not taking any supplement.
To maintain your goal weight when you reach their, you would multiply you body weight by a factor of 13-15.
This effect is not confirmed, but it is promising.
The positive effects of garcinia cambogia on blood fats may be where this supplement really shines.
An evidence-based nutrition article from our experts at Authority Nutrition.
How To Lose Belly Fat With Garcinia Cambogia – 5 Scientifically Proven Ways It Works
One of the most common questions on online forums and social media platforms today is how to lose belly fat with Garcinia Cambogia Extract. Large bust lines are indicators of three things – disease, disease, disease.
We start to pile fats around the waist line as our cortisol levels rise.
Stress and poor eating habits are some of the primary culprits for high production of cortisol. Cortisol breaks down lean muscle and creates suitable conditions for fat storage in the abs region.
So how can Garcinia Cambogia help you to lose belly fat?
Take note of the following tips and you’ll soon be on your way to a flatter belly!
5 Proven Ways On How To Lose Belly Fat With Garcinia Cambogia
#1 – It Optimizes Your Metabolic Rate
Garcinia revs up your metabolic rate helping you to burn more fat throughout the day.
By simply following the approved dosage – which recommends that you take a capsule 30-45 minutes before breakfast, you can go through the day knowing that your body is a fat burning machine.
Because natural weight loss is dependent on creating a calorie deficit, boosting your BMR makes losing belly fat and keeping it off a lot easier.
WARNING : It is very important that you have an understanding of the #1 RULE of fat loss. You MUST create a calorie deficit so that your body can resort to stored fat for energy.
By boosting your metabolism, garcinia allows you to use up more energy throughout the day and thus create a larger deficit than if you were to diet and exercise alone.
Note that metabolism may decline due to: lifestyle behaviors (beer drinking and sedentary lifestyle) or aging.
Aside from taking your daily Garcinia Cambogia, drinking plenty of water, eating fruits and enough vegetables is recommended to keep your metabolism fired up.
You don’t want to be eating too much unhealthy foods if you have a weight loss goal in mind. Always go for nutritious foods that will keep you fuller for longer periods of time.
#2 – It Decreases Your Appetite
Recent research shows that our body systems are not working as efficiently as they should – all thanks to the cues we send it with the wrong diet. The good news however is that a daily dose of Garcinia is enough to terminate what experts call the “fat cycle” and give you more control over your appetite.
This supplement works with your body’s natural hunger rhythms to curb cravings and send your energy levels soaring.
As mentioned in point #1, a calorie deficit is important for you to see any results with Garcinia or any other fat loss supplement for that matter. However, with the appetite suppressing properties of the Garcinia extract, you’ll feel less hungry throughout the day.
This results in you eating less than you were accustom to so that creating that needed calorie deficit becomes second nature.
#3 – It Reduces Your Fat Synthesis Rate
If your liver does not regulate fat metabolism efficiently, unanticipated weight gain tends to occur around the waist line and a pot belly will develop.
Another sign of an inefficient liver is a roll of fat in the upper section of the abdomen – usually a sign of a fatty liver.
Conclusion: Garcinia cambogia blocks the production of new fats in the body, and has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and blood triglycerides in overweight people.
The HCA from Garcinia blocks inhibits further production of belly fat by inhibiting a key enzyme – called citrase lyase – that your body needs to produce fat from carbohydrates. When citrase lyase is blocked the production of LDL cholesterol decreases.
Garcinia will work even better for persons that tend to eat a high carbohydrate diet. Too much carbs is one of the leading cause of belly fat. So just a small reduction in carbs can yield big belly fat loss results.
#4 – It’s A Stress Reliever
Stress causes imbalances in the body. In particular it causes imbalance of a hormone called cortisol. Unfortunately causes of stress are increasing by the day. Talk of economic challenges, social crisis and the recent government shut down.
The good news is that HCA can help improve your level of happiness by improving the degrees of neuro-chemical serotonin in your body.
High level of serotonin helps inhibit creation of cortisol and thus keeps you safe from gaining extra belly fat.
#5 – It Stabilizes Blood Sugar Level
The relationship between insulin resistance and abdominal fat gain is so strong that the size of the bust line is often seen as an indicator of insulin resistance. Unstable blood sugar levels lead to insulin resistance. This results in greater fat storage around the belly.
Sigh of relief:– High levels of Garcinia ingredients in the blood stream tend to stabilize blood sugar level thus protecting you from abdominal fat gain.
Having that extra layer of fat around your midsection is not something that you should take lightly.. Not only is this bad for your physical appearance but being overweight can lead to other health problems that can wreck havoc on your life.
Taking garcinia cambogia to reduce your belly fat is a great start. Just remember, that in order to get the best results and the body of your dreams, proper dieting and exercise will be your best friend.