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Excess abdominal fat has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have recently found that reducing such fatty tissue may be a simple matter of reducing carbohydrates in a diet.
Dieters need not go to carb-free extremes, however, since the study revealed that just a modest decrease in bread, rice and simple sugars may help to significantly reduce belly fat.
Researchers measured the belly fat of participants on two different diets: one in which individuals derived 43 percent of their calories from carbs and 39 percent from fat, and another in which individuals ate 55 percent of their calories in carbohydrate form and 27 percent from fat. Both diets contained 18 percent protein.
At the end of the study, the participants who ate the lower-carb diet had 11 percent less abdominal fat than those who consumed the control diet.
"For individuals willing to go on a weight-loss diet, a modest reduction in carbohydrate-containing foods may help them preferentially lose fat, rather than lean tissue," said lead author Barbara Gower, Ph.D. "The moderately reduced carbohydrate diet allows a variety of foods to meet personal preferences."