It’s not whether you want to fit into smaller-sized clothing, it’s about the health concerns that extra fat in that specific area brings.

The fat that sits around your gut is called visceral fat, and it shares/takes over the same space that some of our vital organs (liver, stomach, kidney and intestines) also live in. And it’s not just stubbornly hanging out there, this type of fat pumps out inflammatory substances that can interfere with our hormones and is also associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Now for the good news (yes, there is some good news)–this type of fat is one of the easier ones to eliminate and here’s how you can start, in the kitchen.

Cut out sugar

More specifically fructose and glucose. The liver can only handle so much fructose at a time, so if you’re consuming a lot of added sugar, it can’t be metabolized and the extra is turned into fat that’s then stored in the belly and liver. This can lead to insulin resistance (diabetes) and other metabolic problems. If you drink a lot of sugary drinks, they should be your first thing to eliminate.

Eat more fibre and protein

Foods high in viscous fibres allow water to bind to them and create a “gel” that sits in the gut and slows the movement of food through your system. This creates a prolonged feeling of fullness and also allows your system to digest and absorb nutrients.

Eating a diet with plenty of lean protein has proven to be an excellent way to drop weight. Studies have shown it helps to reduce cravings, boost your metabolism and could be responsible for protecting you against insulin resistance as you age.

Cut out carbs

First and foremost, cut out any refined or processed carbs like white bread and pasta. These foods are generally higher in sugars as well and can be full of irritants that lead to bloating and other gastrointestinal issues.

Your personal carbohydrate intake needs may be higher, so it’s important that you pay close attention to how you’re feeling.

Overall you want to make sure you’re still eating regularly. Crash diets or restrictive eating can cause your body to go into starvation mode where it starts storing more fat. Consult your healthcare professional before starting any new diet, especially if you have health concerns like diabetes or heart disease.