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EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
7/10/14 7:38 P

To answer the original question... I don't think there's any diet which can target where you lose fat. If you're trying to tone an area, that requires specific exercise targeted to that area.

I won't devolve into a quibble about dietary choices... I will just note that *for me*, carbs DO create fat. I can't handle them. And we don't "need" them. Our bodies do actually prefer to run on fats. But that's neither here nor there per the question. If LC works for you, stick with it. If nothing else has worked for you and you haven't given LC a shot, try it. If something else works better for you, stick with it! But please don't make blanket statements for all of us which may be (and in my case are) in direct opposition to others' experiences.

We're here to learn from each other, aren't we?

DRAGONCHILDE SparkPoints: (61,458)
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7/10/14 6:24 P

MZADAMS, "Waist training" and cardio will not burn belly fat. That's not how it works. As has been eplained exhaustively in this (very old) thread, spot reduction doesn't work, and fat loss is a total-body process. You can't target it to any area. You're losing belly fat because you're genetically predisposed to. I lose fat in my butt, boobs, and arms first.

MZADAMS SparkPoints: (43,348)
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7/10/14 11:56 A

Cardio is getting this belly fat off! I'm also waist training!!

AHAPPYLIFE SparkPoints: (107,411)
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4/5/14 3:29 P

I've just gotten to the point of not telling people about my diet profile. It's not worth the argument that ensues & I'm not out to change anyone's mind. I find a low carb diet with moderate protein & more healthy fats works for me. And, yes, I believe it helps me burn fat but all over my body not just in my belly.

EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
4/5/14 12:32 P


And there is no way to "target" fat loss with diet. You lose, or you don't. And yes, there *are* good studies which show the advantage(s) of a low-carb diet over others... including low-fat. I watched a webinar recently given by a vegetarian nutritionist who desperately *wanted* to disprove the lifestyle, but ended up supporting it. At least he was willing to accept the data over his preferences.

Low or restricted carb isn't high-protein. It's pretty much normal protein, with the variation occurring with carbs and fats. And there are NO SUCH THINGS as "essential carbs". No, we are *not* dependent upon eating carbs. We get good healthy carbs in veggies, and our bodies make some (glucose) from proteins. Exercise or not, carbs aren't requisite to health (meaning those excess ones ingested just "on accounta").

I agree with other posters - the information is out there, if you're willing to take it into thoughtful consideration. Even so, a low-carb lifestyle isn't going to be optimal for everyone. Some just are unwilling to give up their comfort foods. For others, carbs are much less problematic than for some. Overall, we're getting more and more support from various medical and nutritional groups that sugars and grains aren't very healthy things to be eating... but diet is an individual thing. You have to find what will work for you. Just don't be flogged down one particular path based upon any one (or any group's) recommendations.

JELYHA SparkPoints: (0)
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4/5/14 11:06 A

No, you can't target belly fat, BUT if you follow a low carb diet you will lose fat and not muscle, Low carb doesn't mean that you replace carbs with protein. When you eat low carb you must also control your protein intake. A person needs about 1-1.2 grams of protein for each kilo of ideal body weight. So do the math and figure out how much you need. Add plenty of fat to your portion of protein and those low carb veggies to make them tasty.

EXTENDEDTROT SparkPoints: (13,689)
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4/5/14 10:18 A

Here's how I see it. I have diabetes and use insulin. So, when my blood sugar goes up/or I eat, I have to inject insulin. The higher the blood sugar, the more insulin. Excessive amounts of insulin either causes weight gain or makes it harder to loose.

It's my opinion, then, that when a person eats carbs they require more insulin. And that will cause weight gain or slow weight loss. It doesn't matter whether the insulin is supplied by a healthy pancreas or syringe.

I have belly fat. When I lost 40 pounds it came off nearly equally from bust, waist and belly.

It's a totally individual thing. My husband eats NOTHING bus gooey, starchy carbs laced with HFCS with a few meats and veggies thrown in. He weighs 178 and has for years. Perfectly normal blood sugar and blood pressure on the low side of wonderful. There's no one-size-fits-all diet.

RICKTHEBIKER SparkPoints: (698)
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4/5/14 8:47 A

Wow, Russell, you rock!

Here is the thing...the thing that keeps fat cells holding onto fat is the insulin receptors on their cell surface. Insulin sends them a signal that says, "Store the fat!" Lack of insulin tells the fat cells, "Send the fat out to be used by other cells!" And here is the sad truth about insulin receptors. In most people, the ones that are most sensitive to that store the fat signal is typically in the belly in men and in the belly, hips and butt of women. Not everyone is the same and not everyone even has this issue, but for a lot of people it is. You lose a bunch of weight (I've been there!) and your face looks way leaner than your belly every does. This is not willpower or what exactly you are is biochemistry.

Now....what makes your insulin levels high or low? Glucose. Sugar, Carbohydrates. It is a sad truth that eating sugar raises your insulin...and your body has to do something with that sugar fast or it is harmful, so the more carbs you eat, the more your insulin is high. The more your insulin is high, the harder it is to lose fat from the most insulin-sensitive fat your belly. And as a super added bonus, that same insulin helps clear out all the glucose from your blood and then looks around and says to your brain...."there isn't much glucose around, you must be hungry, eat something starving person!"

GIPPER1961 Posts: 769
4/5/14 8:43 A

I personally follow low carb because it is the only way of eating that I have a prayer of not binging. While I believe in it because of the results I have obtained the best diet to me is one that you can follow, where you will eat real food and not sugar and processed foods.

4/5/14 8:34 A

I've just had hernia surgery at one of the best hospitals in the world. The Shouldice Hospital in Toronto Canada.

My doctor, the head surgeon with 35 years experience (he performs 5 hernia repairs 5 days a week), explained this to me the day I was admitted.

In order to have surgery here you have to have a healthy BMI or they will not touch you. Imagine sewing butter together and imagine sewing lean chicken breast together. The lean tissue holds the stitches the fatty tissue won't.

Patients who are overweight are prescribed diet #4. A diet that is low in carbohydrates. But diet #4 was not the first diet the hospital tried.

Diet #1 was reduced portions of the food pyramid. Which made people lose weight however the muscle tissue inside the body remained very marbled not good for holding stiches.

Diet #2 was a reduced fat diet and the muscle was again marbled and not good for holding stiches.

Diet #3 was a low protein diet and that caused muscle waisting which was also not good.

Then they tried diet #4 a low carbohydrate diet and it works when followed, every time. The patients lose fat and build strong lean muscle that the stitches can attach to. The hospital has been prescribing this diet for many years because it works.

(I just thought that was very interesting.)

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 4/5/2014 (08:37)
4/4/14 5:47 P

I beg to differ about what the "best" studies show. Virtually all comparative studies show either equal or better weightloss in the short and long term with low-carb . When you combine that with never being hungry, that is a double-advantage. When you combine it with the improvements in insulin resistance and blood lipid profiles, it is a triple crown. :-)

On this page, a couple clicks down, are 16 separate scientific studies, all of which show that low-carb is superior for weight-loss.

Do the actual research - it's out there. :-)

I agree that low-carb is not any different than any other diet for stomach fat - there is no difference between any diets (as I understand the research).

Edited by: ASEXYMIND at: 4/4/2014 (17:48)
RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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4/4/14 3:35 P

The best studies (such as they are) say NO on low-carb diets doing any better at losing substantial amounts of weight than any other kind of diet. (They might do better in the very short term.)

And that's just weight. If you're talking belly fat alone then the answer is even more no. Your body will give up that fat on its own schedule, but it will go eventually regardless. Doing strength training will help, not with the fat itself, but with posture and muscle tone that changes the appearance of the fat.

If you try low-carb, do it for other reasons, such as blood sugar control, a belief that certain foods are triggers for you, or ideally --your preference for how you want to eat for teh rest of yoru life.

4/4/14 3:20 P

I used low carb to lose about 35-40 lbs (208 lbs to - 180 lbs - 6'2") for about 10 years now -
never counting/watching calories - and am fit and trim with good blood #s.

I am currently using low-carb/high-fat nutritional ketosis to lose 15-20 more lbs (shooting for 8% bodyfat).

The KEY to success IMO is to focus on eating as much delicious food as you want - vs. focusing on what you are not eating. There is so much amazing food to eat - full of delicious fats - that I can't possibly eat all the food I want in a week. In the process, I am too full to eat junk carbs (candy, bread, pasta, ice cream).

THAT is what makes it work. It is NOT about sacrificing carbs, it is about indulging in delicious high fat foods and vegetables. Don't deprive yourself - indulge in great food - every day. :-)



DANAG22 Posts: 741
1/27/14 3:52 P

there's no way to determine where the fat loss will come from if it did everybody would be on the same diet. I have lost 110lbs doing low carb because my lifestyle prior consisted of lots of pasta, breads, sugars, so limiting the amount carbs to a drastic 50 carbs daily allowed me to lose the weight quickly. I rarely have pasta or the like these days not because I'm afraid to I don't have a desire for it. 6 days out of the week I stick to a low carb lifestyle I've gotten so use to it, and give myself 1 cheat meal of whatever I want a week. You have to find out through experimenting with what works best for you in the long run.

1/27/14 3:41 P

Low-carb diets work for some people but they can be hard to stick to for a long time. I tried it and it just made me crave carbs and lose energy. I suppose it's okay to limit carbs but if you go too drastic it can cause trouble. It's true you can't spot-reduce. I believe it comes down to calories in, calories out.

AHAPPYLIFE SparkPoints: (107,411)
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1/2/14 7:17 P

Yup, Russell gives some good advice & he's kind about it too!

PATTYN55 Posts: 35
1/2/14 4:53 P

Well said, Russell. I agree

Edited by: PATTYN55 at: 1/2/2014 (16:54)
MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,566
1/2/14 11:17 A

Totally agree with Russell

Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 1/2/2014 (11:18)
RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
1/2/14 9:53 A

I have lost 174 lbs. on low carb, and the last place I have fat is my Some of it is loose skin, which hangs down, but everywhere else I have veins showing, and am lean. The belly has always been a problem. Any diet will cause weight loss in exactly the same way.

Nothing wrong with low carb, and nothing exceptional as far as weight loss, other than if certain carbs cause you to binge. If carbs are causing you to eat more, then you may want to cut those carbs, and eat lower glycemic carbs.

It is basically personal choice. What do you like to eat? Do you feel hungry on a regular diet?
On a ketogenic diet, hunger disappears, which might be desirable if you think your willpower if not going to do it. Most people can't stick to it though. It is restrictive, so you may think it to be too hard.

So think about what you like to eat. If it is vegetables, beans etc. Then try a vegetarian diet. If you like pasta, cereal, bread, then try a 50/20/30 diet. If you like meat, fish, fowl, eggs, nuts, vegetables, fruit, butter, oil, and seeds, then try low carb.

The idea is to pick the right diet for YOU, not just the " right diet ". There are many that work, so pick one that you can stick to. Lose weight, and the fat will come off of wherever it is supposed to, and eventually from the belly.

Don't start low carb just because you heard it is better for belly fat loss though. It isn't. You may lose weight faster, but other than that, low carb isn't any different.

AAK127 Posts: 30
1/1/14 11:04 P

In my own experience, lower and low carb diets, specifically higher-to-high fat diets that are low carb, are more effective than other diets in reducing body fat % in general, but especially belly fat. In the past, I lost 40+ lbs that way with little to no exercise; while on this first weight loss journey, even when I was technically overweight by 4 lbs (5'7", 163 pounds), I had healthy body fat percentages...this was while eating an Atkins/Primal/Paleo style diet. YMMV, but based on the science I have read, and my own experience, low carb is a great way to transform your body composition, even without exercise.

Edited by: AAK127 at: 1/2/2014 (13:21)
EELPIE Posts: 2,700
1/1/14 9:25 P

I'm doing better on a lower carb (slow carb) diet. Everyone is different, though. For some people, carbs in any form have zero impact. For some people they do.

I don't think there is one "diet" that targets one area, though. You need to find a plan (eating lifestyle) that will help you in overall weight loss. I've found an old addage to be true, the first place you gain weight will be the last place you lose it.

Overall weight loss can be bolstered by exercise (cardio). You can firm up your tummy area by doing exercises that focus on your core.

MAMA_CD Posts: 1,507
1/1/14 9:09 P

Low carb and no carb are two different things, if you're talking about avoiding sugar and white flour, good choice. I find that having a little more protein and a little less carbs is helpful for me.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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1/1/14 8:37 P

Not necessary, the tummy goes away just fine on more typical food.

1/1/14 8:30 P

increase fat... avocado, egg, peanut butter, salmon

1/1/14 8:29 P

yes but not too low

NOBLEEQUESTRIAN SparkPoints: (5,640)
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1/1/14 2:57 P

Low carb diets are in no way worth the trouble. Carbs do not make you fat, calories make you fat.

If you want to lose weight you need to cut back on the calories forever. If you go on a temporary low-carb diet than the moment you stop the diet, you will gain all the weight back.

If you want to lose weight, keep it off, and remain healthy, you need to learn how to eat less. It's as simple as that.

There is no 'magic trick' to weight loss. Studies show that 98% of the time (my dietitian told me this) fad diets fail (meaning you either can't lose the weight or gain the weight back within a few years)

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,566
1/1/14 2:34 P

I have found that I don't do well on low carb. It is not something I can sustain for life. Low carb just made me ravenously hungry and made my blood sugar go so low that I couldn't see straight.

If you do choose this life style. Make sure it is something that you can do long term. You might do well just lowering your carbs and not cutting them down severely. Being mindful of where your carbs are coming from.

AHAPPYLIFE SparkPoints: (107,411)
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1/1/14 2:26 P

I feel so much much better being low carb. I cut out grains & sugars but not veggies. You can consume quite a few veggies without any problems on a low carb diet. My protein intake is not overly high but my healthy fat intake is up over the standard dietary guidelines. It's not for everyone but it works well for me. It is the only nutritional program that has been effective for me to lose belly fat. But I've also been told that I may be gluten intolerant which could explain why I feel so great on low carb.

JUST1SPARK Posts: 32
1/1/14 1:51 P

I didn't know carbs made you retain water! I am a total carb addict. I could eat non stop all day eating carbs. It's really bad. I retain water like there is no tomorrow. When I was getting water pills from my dr. I could lose 10 pounds at night. It all came back the next day though. I did Dr. Bernstein a few years ago and lost 30 pounds in 6 weeks not eating carbs. It was great. I was not retaining water and actually went down a shoe size.
I really notice it in my belly when I stop eating carbs. It's like it folds into itself and reduces quite fast. I am starting again now and will do it until we go on vacation in February then slowly introduce carbs back and see which ones are ok for me.

SOOBIES SparkPoints: (993)
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3/30/13 11:59 A

Going low carb high protein will help with appetite suppression and keeping insulin lower, less sugar spikes, less cravings, which allows most people to stay in a deficit with less difficulties. However, if you feel better, energy wise and find yourself sticking to your allotted calorie amounts, with starchy carbs and fibrous carbs in your diet to keep you full, you will still lose weight just as efficiently, calories in calories out.

Also, you can't spot reduce fat from your stomach by eating low carb, generally for most people unless they are genetically gifted, most will lose fat from everywhere else first, or from the entire body small amounts at a time, but reducing carbs often times fools people into thinking they've lost more fat in their abdomen, because carbs hold water in the body, while being digested, in the stomach area, you'll see more water retention specifically because of the digestive system at work, resulting in bloat, so if lowering carbs, or eating certain foods that don't cause you water retention or bloat while eating carbs works for you to keep water retention and bloat down, do so, which carbs do so to you, will be trial and error.

Edited by: SOOBIES at: 3/30/2013 (12:09)
3/30/13 11:56 A

I eat TONS of carbs. I usually go over my daily limit. The FIRST place I lost weight was my belly. Does that mean everyone should eats lots of carbs and they will lose belly fat?

No. It means that I am genetically designed to not keep a lot of fat around my waist.

Eating carbs is super important. Your brain needs carbs to run properly. Your whole body prefers using carbs as energy. There is absolutely nothing wrong with carbs. Nothing at all!

As someone said earlier, your body composition is influenced by genetics...not the food you eat. If you it makes you feel better, get rid of the refined, crappy carbs in your diet, if you haven't already. Otherwise, stick to SP's recommendations.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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3/30/13 11:41 A

Not for that reason. It's not necessary, and as others have said, it can be very difficult to stick to in the long term compared to just eating smaller portions of the same foods you're eating now (minus most of the real junky and low nutrient stuff, of course).

MPLANE37 SparkPoints: (79,230)
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3/30/13 10:11 A

First, consider if it is feasible for you to stick to the low carb (I suppose, really low carb) over the long run. If it is not, then even if you lose the belly, it will come back at some point. For a short period of time, it is possible to go low carb, but for many people I think it is very difficult over the long run.

There are other ways of shrinking the belly and even getting rid of it. Heavy strength training with accurate control of caloric intake will eventually get rid of the belly. But the same question still lingers: Can you live with heavy strength training with accurate control of your caloric intake for the rest of your life? If not, again the belly will come back at some point.

I think the second option, the heavy strength training coupled with accurate control of caloric intake is more feasible over the long run than going really low carb.

3/30/13 9:52 A

Overall fat loss is the only thing that will reduce the size of your belly. Unfortunately, you can't pick and choose where the fat will come off. I've lost 100 pounds and I eat grains and complex carbs all the time. Obviously sugary stuff is not a good idea, but fiber-rich carbohydrates give you energy and help you function at your best. Some people do great on low-carb diets, but it's not the only way to go, and most people can't stay on a low-carb diet for very long.

3/30/13 9:16 A

Okay I'm hoping not to get blasted here but I just finished reading Dr. Robert Lustig's book Fat Chance

In the book Dr Lustig an endocrinologist talks about how too much fructose in the absence of fibre can cause people to gain visceral (abdominal) fat. So eating a whole apple is okay because it contains fibre but apple juice is not because it is stripped of the fibre. A very interesting book that although I don't agree with everything he says I highly recommend reading because of its emphasis on whole foods.

Personally I try and eat an unprocessed diet that is very low in grains and sugars. I get my carbohydrates from vegetables and fruit (apples and berries). I am very active and do very well on 100-150 g of carbohydrates a day even though my range at spark is 198-343.

Edited because it's too not to :)

Edited by: JUSTEATREALFOOD at: 3/30/2013 (10:16)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
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3/30/13 9:01 A

My experience is that all it did was make me prone to binging (on healthy carbs) even though in the 8 months I've been with Spark I haven't really binged, ever, my legs have been tired and heavy for the last 2 weeks. I was miserable, and felt so "tied down" in my food options on the "diet". Trying to choose low saturated fat + high protein foods really limits your choices.

And I was getting all my carbs from fibrous veggies, beans, I cut back on my fruit intake and would just have berries. My potassium intake was good and I still got/have the tired heavy legs. It was a truly awful experience and my workouts suffered severely. I had only dropped to a 30% from 40-45%. IMO, if a healthy way of eating makes you physically ill, it can't be all that healthy. My body needs carbs because I workout a lot and strength train. I've had no issues losing weight on a moderate carb diet. When I did low carbs, I didn't notice any difference in weight loss.

I think it's much MORE important to choose the right carbs (whole grains, veggies, legumes, lentils, fruit, low fat plain dairy) and limit your intake of refined carbs and added sugars.

There are people who have carb/insulin sensitivities and for those people low carbs makes sense. It certainly wasn't for me. My body is at its best, strength/energy/mood on a moderate carb intake of 40-50%

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 3/30/2013 (09:06)
JCWIAKALA Posts: 347
3/30/13 8:17 A

Where you lose weight is determined by genetics and not how many carbs you eat.

MICHELLEXXXX SparkPoints: (12,329)
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3/30/13 7:21 A

I look, feel, perform, think, sleep, and work best without grains/starches/sugars. I get all the carbs my body needs from non-starchy vegetables.

3/30/13 7:04 A

Hi. I have a lot of belly fat (and so does DH). With all the claims over the years now I was wondering if going lo-carb would really work at reducing belly fat faster than the "average American diet". It seems so many have claimed to have lost weight faster with less starches & more proteins than the other way around.

What would your opinion or experience be on this subject?


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