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No subject in health and fitness attracts more hustlers and hucksters than belly fat. The often-cited Kevin Trudeau, for example, did not have a cure for belly fat. In the 1950's, a British researchers had proposed that maybe giving people injections of human Chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) would help them lose weight. They tried it--and when people also limited themselves to 500 calories a day, they indeed lost weight. The diet was abandoned as impractical. 

In 2004, Kevin Trudeau came along and presented the diet in his book  The Weight-Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You to Know About .

Trudeau told his readers that the plan was easy to follow. Indeed, it is, if you can afford $10,000 a month for the hormone injections and somehow you can manage to eat the equivalent of a sandwich and a cup of salad once a day and absolutely nothing else. Trudeau was fined over $37 million dollars for fraud and put in jail, but the diet did not disappear. It was taken over by a Chicago lawyer who promoted it primarily to anti-vaxxers. The doctor died in 2014, weighing 450 pounds (a little under 200 kilos).

The truth is, you can lose belly fat. You just can't lose belly fat unless you lose fat all over your body. There is no diet that will just remove belly fat, or that will focus all of your efforts on belly fat. 

To lose fat in general, you need to:

  • Rely on diet, not exercise. Exercise is beneficial for health, but people who exercise but don't reduce calorie consumption tend to gain weight, not lose it.
  • Slow cardio and heavy weight lifting are the best exercises for losing fat.
  • Eat foods that are high in protein, or even in high fat, but not carbohydrates. There is a complicated reason that carbs keep the fat pounds in place. Fat cells store fatty acids by linking them into chains. Neither the fat cells themselves nor fat-burning cells elsewhere in the body can burn them unless they break down. Insulin interferes with the action of an enzyme called hormone sensitive lipase, which fat cells use to liquify the fats so they can send them to muscles that are burned. The more carbohydrates you eat, the more insulin your body releases into your bloodstream, and the more fat stays put no matter how much you diet or how much you exercise.
  • You still need to exercise to burn the fat that changes in your diet allow your fat cells to release. However, if you eat lots of carbs, so your fat cells can't release their fatty acids, your muscles will simply burn glucose and glycogen, and leave your belly fat, thunder thighs, and buttocks fat intact.
  • You can't do exercises to get rid of belly fat. You can do core exercises that may give you six-pack abs, but no one will see them as long as they are hidden under your "keg."

There are some products that help your body burn fat. (I formulated one of the products sold in the United States.) Green tea, for instance, combined with the right amount of caffeine, helps your muscles burn fat when you diet and exercise. It won't help your muscles burn fat if you don't diet or don't exercise. Moreover, it won't work if you consume too much caffeine. Drinking a lot of coffee can cancel out the effects of these popular, inexpensive, and mildly effective diet pills.

Just how helpful is a product like Garcinia cambogia or green tea extract with caffeine? They typically help users lose an extra pound (half a kilo) a month. This extra pound comes from fat all over the body, not just belly fat. 

It takes a lot of effort over a period of months or even years to achieve six-pack abs. Belly fat is not necessarily permanent, but getting rid of it is a long-term project.

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