Friday Fact or Fiction: Supplements Can Target Belly Fat


VERDICT: FICTION - Supplements are great for many things but targeting visceral fat and getting rid of your belly bulge is simply not one of them.

As seductive as the idea that a magic pill that can cure belly fat sounds, this one really falls in the "too good to be true" category. Short of spot-fat reduction as in liposuction in the OR, it is impossible to get rid of fat in just one area of the body with supplements.

can supplements get rid of belly fat
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Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is notorious because it is the hardest to get rid of. There are several different types of fat in the human body that surround our organs, muscles and tissues: for example, visceral fat is different from subcutaneous fat which lies beneath the skin. Visceral fat surrounds important organs, such as the liver, stomach, and intestines, in the abdominal cavity and an excess of it is particularly dangerous to your health. According to a 2004 issue of Journal of Clinical Investigation, excess belly fat may lead to insulin resistance and heart disease.

So how can we get rid of belly fat? The answer is simple but you're not going to like it, especially if you're of the mindset that supplements can magically slim down your middle. Getting rid of visceral fat requires a healthy diet and regular exercise. There is no a short cut that we know of that effectively busts belly bulge and certainly supplements will not do it for you.

Fat is adipose tissue that is stored in fat cells called adipocytes all over your body. While these cells may be emptied, effectively shrinking them, they cannot be destroyed - meaning they stick around once formed and can always be filled up with fat again. The only way to empty fat cells is to break the energy bonds within the fat and this requires energy from exercise.

Dietary supplements give off food products, even if they have no caloric value. They put out but they cannot take in. In order to target any fat at all, the pill would need to break the energy bonds within the fat. The only way to break those bonds is activity from energy. Therefore, this rules out the possibility of pills being able to burn fat. Additionally, any pill that you swallow is broken down and released into the bloodstream so it cannot specifically target any tissue at all, let alone belly fat.

Stimulants may elevate your metabolism. Supplements like CLA and L-Carnitine may help your body use fat for energy. But no supplement can target fat, especially not visceral fat. In this case, take supplements for dietary deficiencies but stay away from supplements that claim to target belly fat. Not only can that corner not be cut, you have the power to whittle down your waistline through hard work and a healthy lifestyle!