Diet to Shrink a Stomach Pouch

Embarrassing belly fat can limit your time at the beach, your wardrobe options and affect your overall appearance. Belly fat operates in a different mode compared with fat elsewhere on your body. Excess fat around you middle increases your risk of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Losing fat anywhere on your body requires an adherence to basic dietary principles such as cutting calories and focusing on lean proteins, healthy carbohydrates and good fats. Research suggests including certain items in your diet might also help reduce abdominal fat.

Choose Whole Grains Over Refined

Choosing whole grains over refined grains offers numerous benefits, such as higher fiber content and a richer store of various vitamins and minerals. According to a study by Heather I Katcher et al, published in the January 2008 issue of "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," you can add reducing belly fat to that list. Researchers tested the effects of eating a diet rich in whole grains compared with a diet rich in refined grains on various risk factors for heart disease, including increased abdominal fat. All participants followed a low-calorie diet, with both groups experiencing a similar amount of weight loss. However, the whole grain group lost more belly fat.

Eat More Monounsaturated Fats

Some fats contribute to your health, rather than worsening it. Monounsaturated fats, found in olive and canola oil, avocados, nuts and seeds benefit heart health according to a study by J.A. Paniagua, M.D., Ph.D. et al, published in the July 2007 issue of "Diabetes Care." They help reduce belly fat as well. Eleven volunteers cycled through a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, saturated fats or carbohydrates for 28 days each. Researchers found the diet rich in monounsaturated fats resulted in less fat depositing itself around the abdomen.

Considerations for Alcohol Intake

Excess alcohol intake reduces your liver’s fat burning function so it can convert the alcohol into acetate. As a result, instead of burning fat for fuel, your body burns the acetate your liver deposits into your bloodstream. The University of Rochester reports that the excess unburned fat goes into fat storage, which often accumulates in the abdomen.

A study by J.R. Greenfield et al, published in the November 2003 issue of the "Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism," examined the effects of alcohol intake on females. Researchers found that compared with women who never drank, moderate drinkers had less total body fat and belly fat in particular. Discuss the potential benefits and risks of alcohol consumption in regards to weight management, with your doctor.

Eating Mediterranean Style

Participants in Paniagua’s study, whose diet resulted in less belly fat, followed a Mediterranean style of eating during the monounsaturated diet phase. In addition to focusing heavily on this type of fat, the Mediterranean diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains legumes, beans, nuts, seeds and spices with fish eaten at least twice a week and poultry, cheese and eggs limited to small portions daily or weekly. If you consider following this type of diet to lose belly fat, consume red meat and sweets sparingly and do not exceed your daily calorie limits. Consult your doctor before making any dietary changes.